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Expat Britons: Deadline for “top ups” to UK state pension extended

16:50 30/03/2023

In a move that potentially could affect hundreds of older British expats in Belgium, the UK Government has extended a deadline for “topping up” the UK state pension.

It was recently announced that people will be given more time to fill gaps in their UK National Insurance (NI) record and help increase the amount they receive in the UK state pension.

The voluntary NI deadline will be extended to 31 July 2023. The previous deadline was 5 April.

The move could affect British nationals who reside in Belgium but are still entitled to a UK state pension.

There are an estimated 30,000 Britons living and working in Belgium. Just over 6,000 are believed to be aged between 50 and 64, the age group most affected by the announcement.

It means anyone with gaps in their NI record from April 2006 onwards now has more time to decide whether to fill the gaps to boost their UK state pension.

Victoria Atkins, the financial secretary to the UK treasury, said: “We’ve listened to concerned members of the public and have acted. We recognise how important state pensions are for retired individuals, which is why we are giving people more time to fill any gaps in their National Insurance record to help bolster their entitlement.”

Eligible Britons with incomplete years in their NI record could, in theory, be financially better off in their retirement if they make voluntary payments to top up any incomplete or missing years. 

However, HMRC in the UK stresses that voluntary contributions do not always increase state pension and people should make sure they would benefit before making any payments.

More information about making voluntary NI contributions here.

Written by Martin Banks