Entitlement to the UK State Pension is based on an individual’s UK National Insurance record. As part of the EU, the UK was part of a system to coordinate the social security entitlements for people moving within the EU. The rules also apply to the EEA and Switzerland.
The aim of these provisions is to remove barriers to workers moving between Member States. They enable periods of insurance in different countries to be aggregated. An individual makes one application to the relevant agency in the country of residence – in the UK, the International Pension Centre. It then notifies details of the claim to all countries in which the person has been insured. Each Member State in which the person was insured then calculates its pro-rata contribution and puts that amount into payment. Social security co-ordination has also ensured annual uprating of the UK State Pension in EEA countries and Switzerland.
The Withdrawal Agreement
The arrangements to apply post-Brexit were part of the negotiations under Article 50 on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. For people covered by part two of the October 2019 UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement (WA) EU social security co-ordination rules continue to apply. (HM Government, The Withdrawal Agreement: what UK nationals need to know about citizens’ rights, November 2020). The detail is explained in DWP staff guidance (November 2020).
After the Brexit transition period
The social security co-ordination arrangements for those who move to the EU from 1 January 2021 or are not in scope of the WA, were the subject of negotiations between the UK and EU on the future relationship. As set out in the Political Declaration, in October 2019, the UK and the EU agreed to consider future social security co-ordination arrangements in the light of the future movement of persons. The exception relates to Ireland, with which the UK Government signed a Convention so that “reciprocal benefit and social security rights for Irish and UK nationals and their family members continue to operate independently of those afforded to EU nationals from other Member States.”
The EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement announced on 24 December 2020 includes a protocol on social security co-ordination. Gov.UK guidance on the rights of UK nationals in the EU, EEA or Switzerland to UK benefits and pensions from 1 January 2021, states:
UK State Pension
You can carry on receiving your UK State Pension if you move to live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension from these countries.
Your UK State Pension will be increased each year in the EU in line with the rate paid in the UK.
You can also count relevant social security contributions made in EU countries to meet the qualifying conditions for a UK State Pension.
This guidance is for UK nationals, however these rules on the State Pension apply to everyone regardless of your nationality and regardless of when you moved. (Gov.UK Benefits and pensions for UK nationals in the EEA and Switzerland, 24 December 2020).
There is an overview of the social security coordination provisions in a summary produced by the UK Government and the European Commission’s EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement – questions and answers (24 December 2020).
Please see the report Brexit and State Pensions for further information
Brexit and private pensions
Please see the following information-