The Rise of UK Pensions In 2022 Could Affect British Expats in Thailand

United Kingdom (UK) state pensions could rise by 8 percent starting April next year, setting off a chain-reaction of grief among British ex-pats in Thailand whose allowances were frozen at the time they lived abroad in most countries.
According to the Office of Budget Responsibility, funded by the Treasury, many poorly paid workers have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Overall, the statistical effect is pushing up the wages of the better-paid, resulting in a technical distortion.
Currently the maximum flat-rate pension is 179.60 pounds per week, although the amount payable varies depending on the date of retirement and the number of contributions paid during working life. A 8 percent increase would mean an additional 14 pounds per week on the maximum rate. The government may abandon the “triple lock” if temporary anomalies are discovered.
The British state pension is one of the smallest in Western Europe. The UK spends 6.5 percent of GDP on pensioners, while France spends 14.5 percent and Germany spends 9.9 percent. Since 1970, the freezing of most ex-pats living abroad has been a bone of contention.
Lawyers in Thailand say that complicated UK pension rules are increasingly posing a problem as aging British husbands die (usually from lifestyle diseases) and surviving Thai widows search desperately for income. In 2016, the rules regarding the state pension, however, changed. The vast majority of foreign widows, including Thais, cannot now claim any portion of their late husband’s old age pension based solely on his national insurance contributions.
Thai widows cannot claim support from the British government unless they have worked in the UK and/or obtained their own national insurance number. A Pattaya lawyer, Jessataporn Sriboo, stated, “The Thai widow has a much better chance of obtaining residual pension rights from her former husband’s occupational pension. Documentation is everything.”

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