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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would really appreciate any information or experiences you may have - I have trawled gov.uk and cab and still haven't a final answer. I would like to find out the eligibility - if any - of a state pension for my parents. They are both British Citizens but have been living in South Africa for the past 42 years and now due to unforeseen circumstances, plan to return to the UK within the next few months to stay with my elderly grandmother. They will be returning with very little savings and no SA pension. They have not paid voluntary National Insurance contributions over the years and do not have enough qualifying years for a state pension. They were both of pension age before 2010. Through my own research I am almost sure they are not eligible for any basic state pension but would like to enquire as to whether there is any other form of income support or benefit that they will be able to receive on their return? If so, what is the best way for them to go about this process? Any advice would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
 
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No it does not look like they qualify, you need 30 years of contributions for a pension. There would be no income support either as that is only payable to pension age and is only for those who are either singe parents, disabled or carers.

To qualify for anything they need to pass the habitual residence test which could take some time if they have been out of the country for so long. They need to prove they are habitually resident in the UK and not just returning as benefits tourists Citizens Advice - What is the habitual residence test?

They could try and get pension credits its assessed on your income and savings but they need to pass the habitual residence test first. So in all they probably shouldnt bank on getting anything for several months.

Any reson why they cant get a SA pension if they've been working there so long?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for your response - it has been a great help. Pretty much as I feared but better to know in advance. No SA pension due to bad planning and a few unfortunate events - however, looks like SA could still be the better option for them right now.

Thanks again.
 
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Its still possible they can get something it may just take a while. There is no set time period for 'passing' the HRT and no clear rules on how they do 'pass' but if they have their own address and not kipping on someone else's sofa, registered with a GP, taking part in community life ie volunteering or working and closed down their life overseas ie sold their home abroad, moved belongings to the UK etc can all show they are back to stay and not for benefits.

Did they work at all in the UK? if so contact the pensions people to find out if anything is due, may be pennies but they will be expected to claim it if they want to claim pension credits. https://www.gov.uk/contact-pension-service
https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator
 

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No SA pension due to bad planning and a few unfortunate events - however, looks like SA could still be the better option for them right now.
For others' benefit, and without going into particularly personal details, would you expand on how they ended up in their situation?

I've just now looked briefly at South Africa's government social insurance, and it appears to be very meagre: about USD110 per retired person per month if I'm reading things correctly. If that's correct, I can understand the difficulty. :(
 
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Per month, is that for real? How is anyone to survive on that and there has to be many who have to! The mind boggles.

Well they would get more than that in the UK thats for sure even if they are denied access to several benefits.
 

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I found a summary description of South Africa's social insurance provisions here. That summary is from 2011 I think, so it might be out of date.

By African standards any retirement benefit is a lot, but that's not saying much. :(
 

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Well they would get more than that in the UK thats for sure even if they are denied access to several benefits.
The cost of living would be presumably higher in the U.K., though, plus there'd be relocation expenses which are that much tougher to bear with limited means.

This is a tough situation any way you look at it. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry for the delayed response - big work deadline - but thank you again for your advice. I appreciate it. They did work in the UK but only 3 yrs for one and 6 for the other. Do you think they would be able to claim anything on that? I did hear that its possible to pay up to 6 yrs NI in one payment? Do you know if this is correct?

I'm afraid I can't really expand on the situation but let's just say that unless you have invested in a private pension scheme while working in SA it is pretty much impossible to sustain yourself on the government one.

Thanks again.
 

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He would get a small UK pension if he was born on or after April 6, 1945. I think she would also receive something if she was born on or after April 6, 1950.

I ran the pension calculator under worst case assumptions and assuming he was born in 1949 (just as a guess) and got a result of £22.03 per week at age 65. Less than worst case assumptions and/or "Class 2" top-up contributions would increase that amount. Certainly not great but not zero.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The situation gets worse, they were both born before those dates. My father has worked for much longer than pensionable age(75!) Thank you again for all your help. I've tried calling citizens advice bureau a few times, I have yet to speak to an actual living person - so thank you!
 
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You probably wont get through to CAB and they have a call back system after they 'triage' calls. Might be easier to email if you can although AgeUK may be a better place to check.

Despite the lack of basic state pension they would still get pension credits. Would they get the SA pension if living in the UK?
 
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