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Hello Everyone,
I'm an American living in England on an Irish passport (same duel citizenship story). I moved to England, because I used to live in Paris and did my university at the American University of Paris and really had a great experience living there, so after university I wanted to go back to Europe to live and work. I managed to get a job in England that currently pays over 22,000 GBP a year (although hopefully I'll be due for another raise come June). While I enjoy life here, I find it difficult to actually afford things. Seems like my utility bills are high, my taxes are high, and my rent is high. Which makes my income feel very low even though I know that the yearly average in the UK is about 24,000 GBP a year right now. What bothers me the most is my inability to pay my student loans from when I went to the American University of Paris (although thankfully my parents are making my payments for the time being). I was wondering if there is any way I can get any government benefits and/or tax benefits to help me afford to still live in the UK and pay my enormous student loan debt? It just really aggravates me that I pay so much in taxes yet didn't benefit from the whole government sponsored education system and yet I see guys in the pubs who don't work but somehow have money to blow on beer? What gives, lol ? Anyways, any advice on if and how I can get government assistance from either the British or Irish governments would be incredibly helpful if anybody knows about this sort of thing (because I really don't want to move back to the US!) Many Thanks, everyone!

Sincerely,
Jordan
 

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Hello Everyone,
I'm an American living in England on an Irish passport (same duel citizenship story). I moved to England, because I used to live in Paris and did my university at the American University of Paris and really had a great experience living there, so after university I wanted to go back to Europe to live and work. I managed to get a job in England that currently pays over 22,000 GBP a year (although hopefully I'll be due for another raise come June). While I enjoy life here, I find it difficult to actually afford things. Seems like my utility bills are high, my taxes are high, and my rent is high. Which makes my income feel very low even though I know that the yearly average in the UK is about 24,000 GBP a year right now. What bothers me the most is my inability to pay my student loans from when I went to the American University of Paris (although thankfully my parents are making my payments for the time being). I was wondering if there is any way I can get any government benefits and/or tax benefits to help me afford to still live in the UK and pay my enormous student loan debt? It just really aggravates me that I pay so much in taxes yet didn't benefit from the whole government sponsored education system and yet I see guys in the pubs who don't work but somehow have money to blow on beer? What gives, lol ? Anyways, any advice on if and how I can get government assistance from either the British or Irish governments would be incredibly helpful if anybody knows about this sort of thing (because I really don't want to move back to the US!) Many Thanks, everyone!
I take it you earn £22k and single, then I can't see you being eligible for any kind of social security benefits or tax credits, which are given to people, usually with children/other dependants or disability and on a low income (say under £15000 a year). I don't know how it works with repaying student loans in US, but here the loans are from the government through a company called Student Loans Company and repayment is deducted from your pay once you start earning £15k a year, at a rate of 9% above £15k. You can pay back more than this, but since the interest charged is just to cover inflation, there is no sound financial reason to do so.
It's just too bad you think you aren't getting any benefit from paying taxes here, but everyone else is in the same position. If were to go to live in US and start paying taxes there to Uncle Sam, I too might feel I'm not getting anything out of it, but it's the price I pay for living in another country. So it's swings and roundabouts. At least in UK there is universal health care system (NHS) funded by tax receipt which is free at the point of use (with a few exceptions like dentistry), from which you benefit (if you have registered with a GP). Plus police, fire service, road maintenance, garbage collection, national parks, free museums etc, which again you benefit from. I can't see how you can get anything from the Irish government simply by having an Irish passport, since you don't live there and pay taxes there.
What you can do is to increase your income, by getting a better paid job (not easy in current economic climate), getting promotion, doing overtime (if available) or getting another part-time job (moonlighting). A lot of people supplement their main salary by a bit of self-employment, eBay trading, online work etc. With most you have to pay tax on it, but at least there is no NI liability (worth 11%) if your pay from your second job is under certain limit called primary threshold (currently £110 a week).
 

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I take it you earn £22k and single, then I can't see you being eligible for any kind of social security benefits or tax credits, which are given to people, usually with children/other dependants or disability and on a low income (say under £15000 a year). I don't know how it works with repaying student loans in US, but here the loans are from the government through a company called Student Loans Company and repayment is deducted from your pay once you start earning £15k a year, at a rate of 9% above £15k. You can pay back more than this, but since the interest charged is just to cover inflation, there is no sound financial reason to do so.
It's just too bad you think you aren't getting any benefit from paying taxes here, but everyone else is in the same position. If were to go to live in US and start paying taxes there to Uncle Sam, I too might feel I'm not getting anything out of it, but it's the price I pay for living in another country. So it's swings and roundabouts. At least in UK there is universal health care system (NHS) funded by tax receipt which is free at the point of use (with a few exceptions like dentistry), from which you benefit (if you have registered with a GP). Plus police, fire service, road maintenance, garbage collection, national parks, free museums etc, which again you benefit from. I can't see how you can get anything from the Irish government simply by having an Irish passport, since you don't live there and pay taxes there.
What you can do is to increase your income, by getting a better paid job (not easy in current economic climate), getting promotion, doing overtime (if available) or getting another part-time job (moonlighting). A lot of people supplement their main salary by a bit of self-employment, eBay trading, online work etc. With most you have to pay tax on it, but at least there is no NI liability (worth 11%) if your pay from your second job is under certain limit called primary threshold (currently £110 a week).
Hello Joppa,
Thanks for the advice! It does sound like getting a second job is the only viable option (as much as I would hate to do that). And I'm not saying that I don't benefit from the government taxation at all, its just that I missed out on the key benefit of government funded university education. Therefore, I have massive student loan debt and have to pay them off. I know in the UK, student loans are rather low and can pay them off by paying about £50 a month. My student loans are much higher than this. I believe my payment per month is about $750 which is probably about £460 or so (varies because of the exchange rate). This is very difficult (and at the moment impossible which is why my parents are paying it off right now) because of my living expenses and taxes are widdling my income down to practically nothing. :(
I was just wondering if it is something the government would take into consideration and give me a little bit of a break here. Thankfully I do work for a pretty good company. When I started in June, they started me off at £18,000 a year and when I had my six month review in December they raised it to £22,000 a year. Hopefully when I get my next review it will go up to £24,000 a year (although I'm not entirely sure given the economic situation). After that people get lower raises, but they usually get one once a year which isn't bad at all. Hopefully it won't be too long until I can afford to pay my student loans at least partially so that my parents aren't helping out completely and hopefully after some time completely on my own. If not, I may have to consider moving back to the US where I will have a little bit more freedom with my money (i.e. less taxes and buying basic healthcare coverage).
My biggest gripe is seeing all these guys who don't work but manage to have money at the pubs to buy beer and I busted my butt through 4 years at an expensive university and I'm paying these incredibly high taxes that at least partially go into these peoples' lazy lifestyles. Its very discouraging.
Seems like me best hope for the time being is get a second job or hope that I win a £50,000 winning lottery ticket to pay off my student loans :p

Many Thanks for your advice.

Sincerely,
Jordan
 

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I know in the UK, student loans are rather low and can pay them off by paying about £50 a month. My student loans are much higher than this. I believe my payment per month is about $750 which is probably about £460 or so (varies because of the exchange rate). This is very difficult (and at the moment impossible which is why my parents are paying it off right now) because of my living expenses and taxes are widdling my income down to practically nothing. :(
I was just wondering if it is something the government would take into consideration and give me a little bit of a break here.
I can't see them doing that. Your US student loans are your own business, and just like any other debt you have to repay it according to the terms of your loan. It does seem harsh that your repayment isn't related to your ability to pay, but a fixed amount no matter what. At least repayment terms in UK are progressive, and even at £50 people still moan about it, it has little effect on their standard of living. Student loans are just about the best loan deal available anywhere, and because of negative inflation, there is currently no interest charged on outstanding amount.

My biggest gripe is seeing all these guys who don't work but manage to have money at the pubs to buy beer and I busted my butt through 4 years at an expensive university and I'm paying these incredibly high taxes that at least partially go into these peoples' lazy lifestyles. Its very discouraging.
Well, benefit dependency is a fact of life for some people, and the system often makes it uneconomical to take a low-paid job, esp if you have dependants, as you then lose not only cash handouts but also other freebies like free dental care, free school meals, free prescriptions and so on. But I'd rather be in work and struggle than be on the dole and vegetate, for my self-worth! I don't think personal taxation is cripplingly high in UK for those on modest income compared to European norm (but higher than in US I admit), but you do get more from the state (national government and local authority) than you may do over the pond. It's just a different fiscal model I suppose.
 

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I was just wondering if it is something the government would take into consideration and give me a little bit of a break here.
I think the simple answer here is "no way." It was your choice to migrate from the US, where you're competing in a market, where everyone has student loans, to the UK, where the government underwrites education through the university level, thanks to the long-time tax contributions of the students' parents.

I've heard something of the same moan from French lycee students whose parents are anxious for them to attend university back in the US. Getting admitted to a US university (or getting scholarship money or student loans) often depends on extra-curricular activities of a sort that aren't available to those growing up in France.

Think of it as yet another of the joys of being an expat.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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