‘Why aren’t we getting the same?’ State pension dismay as 500,000 miss out on boost

Veteran Vic Williams calls for end frozen state pensions in 2013

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The State Pension increases each year under a mechanism known as the Triple Lock. This sees the sum rise by a minimum of either 2.5 percent, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth – whichever is the largest. However, this is only an opportunity afforded to Britons if they live in specific places, meaning some could miss out. 

It is estimated nearly 500,000 people miss out on the increases, the campaign group End Frozen Pensions said.

The state pension will only increase each year if a person lives in the following countries:

  • The European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Switzerland
  • Gibraltar
  • Countries which have a social security agreement with the UK (but not in Canada or New Zealand)

Some have argued this is an unjust rule, and have called upon the Government to reassess this matter.

This is true for the End Frozen Pensions Campaign, and Express.co.uk spoke to the group’s spokesperson, Paul Gaffney, who offered further insight.

Mr Gaffney explained how many of those living abroad can be impacted by a frozen state pension, saying: “Depending on nation to nation, some countries provide some support, but other pensioners are struggling.

“For some individuals who aren’t living in countries with a support mechanism in place it can be a real and genuine struggle.

“They miss out on things they expect they have in retirement, as we’re all told and taught a pension is to protect yourself in retirement.

“But these people aren’t getting the support they thought they would get and be entitled to in retirement.

“However, it’s not just what they thought they would get, it’s also what they fundamentally deserve.”

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Mr Gaffney went on to cite the example of one 82-year-old man who now lives in Canada.

The pensioner, he said, was, until the start of the pandemic, driving a school bus in order to make ends meet, as his pension sum was not enough. 

It is instances such as these, Mr Gaffney added, which can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.

However, aside from the notion of financial stability, some pensioners simply lament what they believe to be an injustice.

Many simply want to receive an equal amount to the sum they would have if they were resident in the UK.

Mr Gaffney continued: “For a lot of pensioners, whether they have the financial resources to support themselves is essentially irrelevant.

“At the end of the day, they aren’t getting anywhere near the kind of pension they paid into. If they lived in the UK, they would actually be costing the Exchequer more in things like the Winter Fuel Allowance, the pension benefits, the NHS services.

“And in the last 10 years of your life, by the very definition of later life, you tend to cost the NHS a fair bit.

“This is what is found deeply unfair. They aren’t costing the UK anything other than a pension, and they aren’t even getting the full sum.”

Those who live abroad and are concerned about their state pension can contact the International Pension Centre for further help and advice.

However, for those who continue to be impacted by these rules, the frustration with the matter appears to be growing.

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Mr Gaffney concluded: “The main question is ‘why aren’t we getting the same?’. 

“By and large, the general view is whatever the state pension is in the UK, is whatever the state pension should be overseas.”

Ultimately, the End Frozen Pensions Campaign hopes to be able to reverse the policy of state pensions being frozen when a person moves overseas.

However, in the short term, the campaign communicated it wishes to place pressure the Government to act to help expats. 

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “The Government’s policy on the uprating of the UK state pension for recipients living overseas is a longstanding one of more than 70 years and we continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so.

“We understand that people move abroad for many reasons and that this can impact on their finances.

“There is information on gov.uk about what the effect of going abroad will be on entitlement to the UK State Pension.”

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