The UK is leaving the EU on January 31, 2020, entering a transition period which will last until the end of the year – December 31. Ahead of Brexit, the government has confirmed that people who live in the EU and receive the UK state pension will continue to see the payment increased each year, for as long as they continue to live there.
According to estimations by the DWP, hundreds of thousands of pensioners living in the European Union, European Economic Area, and Switzerland are set to continue seeing their state pensions increase annually, under the triple lock.
Currently, state pensions rise in line with the “triple lock” mechanism, which ensures they will increase each year by the highest of either by 2.5 per cent, the rate of inflation or average earnings.
This applies to those who live in the UK, as well as in some countries overseas.
Gov.uk explains that the state pension will only increase each year if a person lives in the European Economic Area (EEA), Gibraltar, Switzerland, and countries that have a social security agreement with the UK (but a person cannot get increases in Canada or New Zealand).
Should they live outside of these countries, they will not get the yearly increases.
The pension would go up to the current rate if the recipient returned to live in the UK, gov.uk states.
Work and Pensions Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey said: “Delivering for UK citizens was at the core of this Government’s negotiations with the EU.
“I welcome the fact that thousands of UK pensioners living abroad in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will benefit from receiving the same state pension as those in the UK as negotiated in the Withdrawal Agreement.
“We have delivered on the promise we made to the British public to get Brexit done.
“Now our focus is on grasping our new freedoms, including to set future benefit and immigrations rules that work in our best interest, and unleashing Britain’s potential.”
The DWP has explained that people who live in the EU will get their pensions uprated while living there if they claim their pension on or after January 1, 2021, as long as they meet the UK state pension qualifying conditions and are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
Meanwhile, EU citizens and their families living in the UK can continue to claim benefits on the “same terms as now” the DWP said, “for as long as they remain lawfully resident and eligible”.
A guidance document titled “Benefits and pensions for UK nationals in the EEA or Switzerland“ was published by the DWP on Friday, which says that there will be no changes from December 31, 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits and state pension in the EEA or Switzerland as a result of Brexit.
It goes on to say the people will need to tell the government office that deals with their benefits or UK state pension, if a person is moving or retiring abroad.
“You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension from these countries,” it adds.
Living in the EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020
Should a UK national be living in an EEA state or Switzerland by December 31, 2020, they will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
The government says that these people will get their state pension uprated every year for as long as they continue to live there. This will happen even if they start claiming their state pension on or after January 1, 2021, provided they meet the qualifying conditions.
There will be no changes before December 31, 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits and the state pension in the EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU, the government said.
Guidance from the DWP says that if a person is a UK national living in an EEA state or Switzerland by December 31 this year, they are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
It continues: “You will get your UK state pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there.
“This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions.”
Meanwhile, those who may be moving to an EEA state or Switzerland from January 1, 2021, are warned that they will not be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
The document states: “If you are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and you move to live in an EEA state or Switzerland from 1 January 2021, the rules on entitlement to UK benefits in these countries will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the EU and may change.”