Queen Dragged In To Expat Frozen Pension Row

State Pension campaigners have appealed to the Queen to step in to help them unravel what they claim is an unfair and illogical system that penalises the elderly based on where they live.

The State Pension is currently paid to 558,000 British expats living in just about every one of the world’s 196 countries.

But around half received an index-linked payment that keeps up with the cost of living in Britain, while the rest have their State Pension frozen at the amount of the first payment on the 65th birthday.

So, two pensioners retiring four decades ago at age 65 living in separate countries can receive different State Pension amounts – around £110 a week for an index-linked country and £6 a week for the rest.

No logic

One 100 year old pensioner Geoff Amatt has told The Guardian newspaper he would have loved to have retired to Canada to stay with family, but the move would have cost him £4,300 in lost pension payments each year which he could not afford as he would receive no top-up benefits in Canada.

However, if he lived over the border in the USA, the State Pension is paid at the index-linked rate.

The International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) lost a fight to have every State pensioners treated the same in court, going all the way to the European Court in Strasbourg, but has recently taken the matter to the Queen.

“There’s no logic behind how the State Pension is paid to expats,” said a spokesman.

Too expensive

“It’s all to do with agreements between governments, and some countries and Britain have them and others do not. Many Commonwealth countries popular with retirees do not have an agreement, while all European countries do.

“It’s unfair and keeps families and friends apart in their later years when they most need each other’s support.”

The government figures index-linking the State Pension for every expat is too expensive – leading to a bill of around £600 million a year.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “The UK state pension is paid all over the world but is only up-rated where Britain has a legal requirement or reciprocal agreement to do so. This has been the case since 1958, and people who are considering emigrating abroad should always consider the impact the move could have on their future state pension entitlement.”

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