Pensions, benefits and tax when retiring abroad
If you're retiring abroad, or considering doing so, it's important to look into the effect this will have on your finances before you go. This should ensure that you're well prepared.
Your State Pension
If you're retiring abroad, you can still receive your UK State Pension. You may even be able to arrange for it to be paid directly into your bank account abroad, if you have one.
- List of EEA and Social Security Agreement countries (DWP website)
- State Pension for people living overseas
Check your entitlement to yearly rises
Bear in mind, though, that to receive State Pension rises you must live in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in one of the countries with which the UK has a social security agreement that covers State Pension increases. This special agreement must allow for the annual increase of the UK State Pension.
If you spend six months or more each year in the UK, you'll be entitled to have your State Pension – with yearly increases – paid in full.
Contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre
When you move abroad, it's a good idea to let the Northern Ireland Pension Centre know your new address as soon as possible.
- Northern Ireland Pension Centre - state pension (contacts section)
- International Pension Centre (contacts section)
Personal and company pensions
If you're in a personal or company pension scheme, moving abroad shouldn't have any effect:
- your pension should continue to be paid in full
- you're normally entitled to any rises regardless of the country you retire to
However, it's important to check the details of your pension scheme carefully before you move. In particular, check whether:
- your scheme will pay into an overseas bank account – some company schemes will only pay into a UK bank
- your annuity company will transfer money overseas free of charge (some companies will charge you for each overseas payment)
Your entitlement to benefits abroad depends on which country you're going to.
You might be able to continue to receive benefit or make a claim for benefit if you go to a European Economic Area (EEA) country, or a country that has a social security agreement with the UK. It's important to check the social security agreement with the country you're moving to before you leave.
It's also a good idea to check with the authorities in the other country if you can claim their benefits.
If you're already claiming benefits
You must let your local Social Security / Jobs and Benefits office know you're going abroad. They'll be able to tell you how your benefits will be affected. You can find your local office at the following link.
Do you count as a UK resident for tax purposes?
Residence rules can be complicated, but broadly speaking, if you leave the country you will remain a UK resident for tax purposes if you spend either:
- an average of 91 days or more in the UK each tax year (calculated over a maximum of four years)
- 183 days or more in the UK during one tax year
Tax on income from the UK
If, while living abroad, you'll be receiving income from the UK – for example from pensions, rents or investments – this will be liable for UK tax.
Help with claiming benefit
Some people need help with claiming benefit because they can’t manage their own affairs. This could be because they’re mentally incapable or are severely disabled. If so, another person - called an appointee - can be given the legal right to act for them. Find out about becoming an appointee.