'Why hasn't my state pension increased?' Jasmine Birtles explains why pensioner hasn't received 8.5% boost

Jasmine Birtles in pictures beside pension folder

Jasmine Birtles explained why some pensioners do not see their UK state pension increase due to where they live

JASMINE BIRTLES | GETTY
Jasmine Birtles

By Jasmine Birtles


Published: 25/06/2024

- 04:00

Updated: 26/06/2024

- 08:53

Jasmine Birtles explained the UK state pension rules for people living abroad in this week's Q&A as a pensioner has been left struggling on a frozen pension

Jasmine Birtles is answering questions from GBN members in an exclusive pensions and retirement Q&A. Have you got a question you'd like Jasmine to answer? Email your query to money@gbnews.uk.

Question: "Why has my state pension not increased? I am 78-years-old and I now live in Sri Lanka. I am finding it very difficult to live with the current state pension I get."


Jasmine replies: This is a good question as the state pension went up in April this year. Pensioners in the UK should already be receiving more each week than they were at the beginning of the year.

However, if you live outside of the UK, the amount you get can depend on the agreement your host country has with the UK government.

Pensioners look at laptop with calculator beside them

An estimated half a million pensioners don't see the state pension increase each year due to where they live

GETTY

Lee Murphy, managing director of The Accountancy Partnership, explains that “the UK has a social security agreement with a number of countries but Sri Lanka does not appear on this list which could explain why you have not received an increase.

“If the country you live in has a social security agreement with the UK, there are annual increases in the state pension, just like you would receive in the UK.

“If you have retired abroad to any other country, there are no annual increases to a state pension unless you live in the UK for six months or more each year.

“If that is the case, then you would receive annual increases.

“But retiring to a country with no social security agreement and leaving the UK permanently means the pension rate you receive will remain unchanged from the day you leave the UK or when you qualify for the pension while already living abroad.

“I would recommend visiting this part of the UK government website for more information.”

Lily Megson, Policy Director at My Pension Expert, says: “Recent figures show that around half a million UK state pension recipients living overseas do not receive annual state pension increases.

“The government’s policy on uprating is, of course, a controversial one for those living abroad in ‘non-uprated countries’, who feel that they have contributed enough through taxes through their working life to the receive the benefits of state pension increases should they opt to live overseas in their retirement.

"For pensioners in this situation, I would advise exploring all available options for increased financial support and seeking independent financial advice to help identify strategies to improve your financial situation.”

So, depending on your lifestyle and contacts in the UK, you could perhaps spend six months in the UK each year to receive the full, increased state pension.

Otherwise, it would be worth lobbying the Sri Lankan government to make a reciprocal agreement with the UK authorities to increase pension payments for expats.

READ MORE:

Where does the UK state pension increase?

The UK state pension only increases each year if a person lives in:

If a person lives outside of these countries, they will not be eligible for yearly increases, but the state pension will go up to the current rate if they return to live in the UK.

Jasmine Birtles is a personal finance expert, TV and radio presenter and author of 38 books.

Her website, MoneyMagpie.com, covers all aspects of personal finance from money-saving and money-making ideas to investment and pensions information. She is a keynote speaker at conferences around the world.

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