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UK Pensions Service, and working in the EU

(7 Posts)
Maggiemaybe Sat 02-Jan-21 11:58:50

I worked in Germany for two years in the 1970s, paying contributions into their system. I was told then that these would be credited to my UK pension when the time came.

Well, now it’s come. And having checked online that it’s the UK scheme I should apply to to coordinate this, I wrote to them in July. And in August, September, October, November, December. Via post, email, the contact form on their website. Seven or eight times in all, with no reply. I also rang them, to be assured that “someone in the right department” would be checking the details.

I applied for my pension as soon as I was sent the form to do so in November, and answered the question on there re “Have you ever worked abroad?”. Apparently they would be contacting me to get further details of this period, and to let me know what my entitlement is and whether I could pay a lump sum to enhance it.

Well I’m now a few short days away from my state pension date and have heard nothing. I don’t even know what my pension is going to be, as apparently I shouldn’t rely on the estimate given on my Government Gateway account. I rang in early December and was told they’re very, very busy, someone will be dealing with this, and I shouldn’t worry. Oh, and I won’t be getting my first payment until at least five weeks after the due date because they’re very, very busy. And perhaps I could ring again after New Year (which I intended to).

Today I’ve received a standard letter apologising for the delayed response to mine of 3 August shock and advising that I need to contact the “countries that I have paid contributions in” and they will advise me of my pension entitlement under their rules.

I may be cynical, but I’m starting to wonder if this has been put on ice for the last 6 months so that they can now say the EU transitional period is over and it’s no longer their responsibility.

I’m very fed up, to say the least, and sorry for the rant (at least when I’m on here, DH isn’t having his ear bent about it!).

So can I ask - has anyone here been in a similar position, and how did it pan out? Or has anyone any advice on the situation? Many thanks in advance!

Ellianne Sat 02-Jan-21 12:07:21

Yes, and thank you for the heads up. I haven't got round to applying yet because I won't be getting a state pension for several years. I can imagine it will be a nightmare to sort out and less easy now as you say.
We worked in France for years and paid into the system. Their reyirement age is that bit lower than ours so I guess we could start to make noises in that direction.
The difference I found dealing with these things in France is that they prefer proper paperwork, or at least copies. Emails rarely get answered, they are not good with those.

Puzzler61 Sat 02-Jan-21 12:17:57

You must be feeling very messed about to put it mildly Maggiemaybe. My DH worked for 2 years in Germany also but I believe his NI was still paid into his UK contributions account as the company was multi-national.
DH’s State Pension starts next month too, and all seems to be okay. Like you he responded to his invitation to draw his State pension so we shall wait and see.
Did you initiate taking the job in Germany and move over there? Have you kept the contract still?
I remember the German people are hot on employing advisors about their tax matters so maybe you need one to sort out your NI contributions towards your pension?
It’s helpful that they all speak fluent English (unless you are fluent in German?)

Don’t give up - this is your entitlement. Very best of luck. 🍀

Maggiemaybe Sat 02-Jan-21 12:20:15

As you say, Ellianne, I’d start making noises now. I’ll be ringing the DWP first thing on Monday - it’s actually lucky for them that they’re not open today, as I had steam coming out of my ears when I read the letter earlier. grin

I also applied weeks ago for 3 years’ worth of specified adult childcare credits, and have heard nothing on that front either.

If my experience of German authorities still holds true, I might be in for a lot of form-filling, but at least they’ll have the courtesy to acknowledge my correspondence!

Mamie Sat 02-Jan-21 12:30:14

We were already living in France and running a small business here when we got to state pension age, having both already made 30 years of contributions in the UK. Our social security caisse here took all the details (long and complicated form) and passed it to the UK. The UK was designated our competent state and we received nothing from France as we had only paid in for a couple of years and did not have enough contributions. Since then our UK state pensions have been paid directly into our UK bank account.
I think that the UK should contact the relevant authorities in Germany or France and if you have made enough contributions it will be added to your UK state pension. I don't think this is affected by Brexit, but I imagine it will take a while.

Maggiemaybe Sat 02-Jan-21 12:32:32

Thank you both for your replies.

Yes, Puzzler, I went to Germany of my own accord to join my now DH, who was already out there working for a German company, who offered me a job as well. I still have pretty good German, so can probably cope with the correspondence.

I can’t quite believe it, as I normally keep all documents that might come in, but our German stuff was in the bottom drawer of an old chest in the coal cellar. Just two years ago I opened it to find that a mouse had got in and shredded most of it to make a nest. We just dumped the horrible, smelly lot. How I wish now I’d gone through it with my trusty rubber gloves on!

I did contact our old employers earlier this year, and they came back to me the same day. Unfortunately they’ve changed hands three times since we were there and have no record of us.

Maggiemaybe Sat 02-Jan-21 12:39:29

I think that the UK should contact the relevant authorities in Germany or France and if you have made enough contributions it will be added to your UK state pension.

Yes, that’s what I think too, Mamie, and seems to accord with what I’ve read.

These years didn’t matter to DH, as he wasn’t opted out during his working life. I was in a Local Government scheme and those years don’t now count towards the new state pension, so I need every year of contributions I can get my hands on.