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Expat Pension Test Case To Go Before Law Lords

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

08 June 2004


Expatriate pensioners from the United Kingdom living in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa will have to wait until at least February 2005 to hear whether their UK state pensions will be uprated in line with inflation.

Currently, British pensioners living in EU member states, the USA, and other countries with which the UK has a bilateral agreement, receive an annual boost to their state pensions in line with increases in the Retail Price Index.

However, a test case against the Department for Work and Pensions has been brought by South Africa-resident UK pensioner, Annette Carson, who claims that the UK government is discriminating against her and her counterparts in the various countries with which agreements have not been reached.

Although Ms Carson lost her case in the Court of Appeal last summer, she has been given leave to appeal to the Law Lords. Her case will be heard on February 28 of next year.

Speaking to the Telegraph this week, a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions explained that:

"We uprate the state pension where required to do so by legislation, whether that is within the European area or where we have a bilateral agreement. But most of the UK's reciprocal social security agreements are 25 years old."

He went on to add that:

"It would cost money to uprate pensions in countries where they are currently frozen, and the government is focusing its resources on tasks such as addressing pensioner poverty in the UK."


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