Will a no deal Brexit mean the end of UK state pension uprates for expats?

Published:  30 Jul at 6 PM
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UK expat concerns are rising fast over the effect of a no-deal Brexit on their state pensions.

The ‘triple lock’ annual increase in the British state pension paid to those living and retiring in the EU, the EEA and certain other countries is essential for long-stay expats, as it mitigates the worst effects of inflation. Up until the shock victory of Boris Johnson as the UK’s new prime minister, retirees living in countries which have an agreement with the UK were fairly confident the annual triple lock increase and the pension itself would continue to be paid.

Now that a no-deal Brexit seems to be Johnson’s preferred method of exit from the EU, British expats are afraid the Department of Work and Pension’s promise that all would be as it was before Brexit may be impossible to honour, even although its guide states ‘a no deal Brexit isn’t expected to affect either entitlement to receive the state pension or our commitment to uprate the amount in 2019 to 2020’. Uprating, it adds, should continue, but might depend on reciprocal agreements with the EU being put in place.

Put bluntly, British state pensioners in EU member states can expect pension payments and an uprate to continue in the event of a no-deal Brexit for at least this calendar year, but after that it’s up to more negotiations with the EU as to whether uprates will be made. Issues with transfers between UK and EU bank accounts may also be a problem in the case of a no-deal Brexit. As there’s no information as yet about the effect of a no-deal Brexit on British state pensions being paid to expats living in the European Economic Area, (EEA), it’s unlikely this may be able to be used as a backstop ensuring those entitled to the state pension continue to receive it, with or without the annual uprate.
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