Returning to the UK - where do we stand regarding pensions, benefits and allowances.

(17 Posts)

I requested the forecast first, then after that letter came I filled out a form
This one.
Then I got a 3 page letter with amounts you can pay in a chart on the back. I had my oldest son in UK send in a cheque for me and he got a reciept. Then I got another letter letting me know how much it was to pay 2012/13 but we are heading back so I'll pay that sometime this year.

twilight3 Wed 08-May-13 13:13:27

is there a state pension scheme where you are? Have you been paying into it? I would start from there, you might be able to transfer those years of paying to your final pension. Most countries do that, you might move countries every five years for your whole life, you can still take your pension contributions with you. There might be exceptions. Look into it and then decide how many years you actually need to pay to bridge your pension.

SunshineandShandy Wed 08-May-13 10:45:50

This is interesting as I have been thinking about paying back my payments and starting voluntary contributions as also don't want to lose the years that I paid NI. SquinkiesRule, is it a set amount per year? Do you remember what it is please? I will contact the office I think and get the ball rolling or will end up leaving it another year or six.

yearoftherat Wed 08-May-13 07:33:25

So long as it's not an "all or nothing pension" that's OK. I don't mind ending up with 1/2 or 3/4, I just do not want to end up with nothing, but still have paid quite a fair whack of NI.

I just paid 6 years back payments of class 3 National insurance. You can only back pay 6 years, but once you get home you can pay annually if your job doesn't pay enough each year. I only had 8 years too, I wrote and got my pensions forecast, then filled out the form to pay back payments.
By the time I am old enough to retire, I'll have 30 years paid, but it's supposed to be going up to 35, so I will be 5 years short to get a full pension, but it's better than nothing.

marchmad Tue 07-May-13 16:35:49

I wouldn't pay an accountant to tell you something you can find out for free.

People on benefits for decades, well a bit of an irony here, they get IS top ups that they get almost as much as a state pension, as long as they have no savings and qualify for benefits of course. So the moral is spend anything you have, don't save anything at all, if you're going to be relying solely on a state pension. Those on state pensions and not much else will have paid masses in NI contributions, for what more?

specialsubject Tue 07-May-13 16:19:17

as someone noted, get in touch with pensions and benefits and find out where you stand. You can buy additional years of contributions and backdate it.

the qualifying level for a full state pension was 39 years, then reduced to 30, and is now going back up to 35. If you pay too much you won't get extra pension.

the state pension is very exposed to government tinkering. Contribute by all means (as NI also buys you access to other benefits should you need them/be eligible) but I think you'd be better working on your personal pension and other forms of income.

Shanghaidiva Tue 07-May-13 12:46:24

You can ask the NI office in Newcastle for a state pension forecast and details of any back payments you can make. I can only give details of what I have done and this is not unde the new rules:
- back years can be paid at the same rate for a certain number of years then at a higher rate for a few more years
- you can pay voluntary contributions
- not sure about the new rules but prior to changes you needed a minimum of 11 years of payments to qualify for 25% of the state pension. Anything less than 11 you got nothing at all.

AuntieStella Tue 07-May-13 12:11:05

If you think he's got 8, and you have 25 years in front of you, and the option of buying missed years continues to exist, then yes he coukd still qualify. As could you.

It doesn't matter how much NI you pay, what matters is that you do pay it over the right number of years. Or have it credited to you because you receive a qualifying benefit (and yes, JSA does qualify). You could continue as a SAHM for the transition and get NI via CB until your youngest is 11, then via earnings if/when you strt work part time.

At present you can buy 'additional' tears to cover gaps. The rules for this change from time to time, and you'd be best off getting proper financial advice on whether this is advisable for either of you. If you have a good occupational pension, you may decide that forfeiting all/part of the state mention isn't crucial to you.

I'm not sure what will happen under the new arrangements to people whose NI record is under 35 years.

yearoftherat Tue 07-May-13 11:03:26

Sorry, definitely

yearoftherat Tue 07-May-13 10:42:10

Thanks for the very useful advice.
I think that, yes, the NI is the main area of concern for both me and my DH. Although 30 years is a bit of a worry. For example he may have only paid 8 years so far, missed 16 and not make it to 35 years. However, I would imagine that the amount of NI he is to pay every month will be quite high on his salary. How does that work then? Also just to highlight my ignorance further, what about people who are on benefits for decades. Do they get a state pension?

Thanks also for letting me know about CB. Of course I do not think I am entitled to it, but I would have just left it at that. I didn't know about the NI contributions. That's why I started this thread. I am totally green and do not want to shoot myself in the foot.

I think we are defiantly going to have to talk to an accountant. What I want to avoid is paying NI money into a system were we will never get anything back.

AuntieStella Tue 07-May-13 08:40:06

It's changing to 35 years of contributions per person. You do need a prediction based on your NI record to date to show what gap you need to bridge.

If you have DC under 11, and claim CB, you will get an NI credit. So make a claim for that, even if you forfeit the cash element or decide to have it clawed back through DH's tax.

Mutley77 Tue 07-May-13 08:35:23

I would contact someone direct to ask about your NI but I don't think you can repay the contributions for a period of 16 years (I think they will allow you for a short time but off the top of my head I have no idea how long).

If you are going to be a SAHM I think you can pay your NI contributions while you are living in the UK which would increase your overall contributing years which may help towards the final outcome. You would need to apply for child benefit to do this I think.

You would be fully entitled to any benefits but if your husband earns over 60K p.a. (sounds likely) there aren't any anymore as child benefit is now means tested. However I think you can still claim it as a way of getting your NI contributions made and then you pay it back through your husband's tax return.

You definitely need an accountant to clarify everything for you - or to make the phone calls to the various agencies yourself (it sounds like NI is your main question mark so perhaps start there).

marchmad Tue 07-May-13 08:23:09

I assume you worked in the UK previously before moving abroad? You can ask for a summary of your NI contributions. I think it's 30 years of NI to qualify for a state pension, you might be half way there. There are certain categories who get "credit" for NI too, such as those claiming UK child benefit and living abroad and the children being a certain age. I don't know the finer points of this credit.

NotTreadingGrapes Tue 07-May-13 08:19:29

I am abroad and pay voluntary NI when my temp job in the UK (2 mths only) doesn't cover a whole year.

The basic rate isn't much, so you could look into paying that, although I think there is a time limit on how much back contributions you can pay.

The tax I don't think is as relevant because you are clearly non-domiciled and so have been paying tax elsewhere.

But I'm no expert.

yearoftherat Tue 07-May-13 08:16:23

I thought I would also post here. I have posted this in the money section.

DH and I have lived abroad for the past 16 years, non EU. We have not paid any tax or NI during this time. We both worked abroad, but I am now a SAHM. We are returning to the UK next year. He has a very good job, earning quite a high income. After getting us all settled I would like to go back to work p/t if I can find it. We do not have any assets in the UK.

On returning I am unsure about where we stand with regards to any benefits, tax exemptions, future state pensions etc. Before we left we both paid quite a high level of tax on our incomes and NI, but as mentioned, have not for 16 years.

Let me just state, that I do not think we are ENTITLED to anything, I just want to know what my legal rights are and are not as a British citizen, returning. For example, does the 16 years abroad totally screw us over and would it be a waste of time catching up on NI contributions if we won't get a state pension anyway. We would be better off directing any spare money elsewhere. Plus, what about me. If I carry on being a SAHM will I be eligible for any pension at all? This is really to get a snapshot so we can start and plan, factoring in whether or not we get anything, or not at all.

We are both early 40's, so do have another 25 years + working life.

Anyone care to share or been in a similar situation?

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