Thérèse Coffey questioned on reciprocal social security agreement
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While the UK state pension is payable overseas, not every person who can get the payment is able to get the annually uprated amount, and this is due to whether they live in a particular country or not. The matter, which is sometimes referred to as frozen state pensions, was addressed in the House of Commons today.
During Live Work and Pension Questions, Conservative MP for Calder Valley Craig Whittaker, spoke about the experience of a World War 2 veteran who is currently affected by the issue.
He explained Peter Duffy, 94, has lived in Canada for more than 40 years, but gets a substantially smaller amount compared to his friends living just metres away across the border in the United States.
The MP said: “I recently had the pleasure of meeting Peter Duffy, a British 94-year-old who has lived in Canada since 1980, who also served this country as a World War Two pilot.
“Peter’s British pals, who live just 500 metres away over the border in the US, get full state pension.
“However, Peter only gets £46.90 a week living in Canada.”
The full basic state pension is £134.25 per week at the moment.
Meanwhile, the full new state pension is currently £175.20 per week.
Addressing the Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Thérèse Coffey, he added: “Can my Right Honourable friend – on this day, Commonwealth Day – tell Peter, and me because I will want to hear the answer, when Her Majesty’s Government intend to respond to the Canadian Government’s request for a reciprocal social security agreement?”
Responding, Dr Coffey said: “It is my intention that we will respond as a Department to the Canadian Embassy on this matter.
“He will be aware of the fact that UK state pensions are being payable worldwide. There is often reciprocal arrangements in place, and there’s a legal requirement to do so.
“What’s been happening for the last 70 years is that it’s not been the policy to initiate new agreements however I do understand the points that he and other members in this House have made in their representations and we will continue to consider this carefully.”
The triple lock mechanism means the state pension sum rises by whichever is the highest out of three factors.
- Earnings – the average percentage growth in wages (in Great Britain)
- Prices – the percentage growth in prices in the UK as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI)
- 2.5 percent.
The Government explains how the state pension may be affected if a person retires abroad.
The guidance states: “Your state pension will only increase each year if you live in:
- The European Economic Area (EEA)
- Countries that have a social security agreement with the UK (but you cannot get increases in Canada or New Zealand).
“You will not get yearly increases if you live outside these countries.
“Your pension will go up to the current rate if you return to live in the UK.”
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