State Pension Top Up Open To Expats – At A Price

Expats wanting to top-up their state pensions under a new government offer can buy extra income of up to £25 a week for life.

The offer is designed to take up some slack between the current state pension and the new flat rate scheme that starts in April that is worth £155 a week.

However, more than 500,000 expats in 150 countries are likely to get a rawer deal from the offer than those living in the UK.

Although they can buy the top up at the same price as UK pensioners, expats living in few countries outside the UK and Europe will have their extra income index-linked.

The opportunity is open to men reaching at least 65 years old or women reaching at least 63 years old between October 12, 2015 and April 6, 2016.

How the top up deal works

How much a retirement saver needs to pay depends on their age and average life expectancy.

Each £1 of top up costs £890 to buy, says the Department of Work and Pensions.

For example, men aged 65 buying a £10 a week top up will pay £8,900, while a man aged 75 can buy the same top up for £6,740.

State pensioners can opt to buy a top up of between £1 and £25 a week. A 65 year old buying the £25 a week maximum additional income will pay £22,250.

The government has also announced that in most cases, widowed spouses and civil partners will inherit at least half of the top up income.

The offer is open for 18 months.

The government is advising pensioners close to celebrating their next birthday to wait after the date as the top up cost reduces each year.

Not an option for everyone

Minister for Pensions, Baroness Altmann said: “This offer is a chance for those retiring before the flat rate state pension starts to top up their income.

“It’s a good deal but not necessarily for everyone, so anyone thinking about opting in should take advice.

“Women should find the offer particularly interesting, especially if they have spent a long time self-employed and do not have enough national insurance years to qualify for a full state pension.”

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