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Frequently Asked Questions about Pension Rights in the European Union
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What are the rules governing payment of pensions if I have worked in a number of Member States during my working life?

The following rules apply if you live and have worked in one or more EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

  • In each country, your insurance record is preserved until you reach the pensionable age.

  • Every country where you have been insured for at least one year will pay you an old-age pension, when you reach its national pensionable age.

Example

I worked as a teacher in Durham for approximately twelve years commencing in the 1980s. I then obtained a position in a school in Waterford where I remained until now. Since I am approaching retirement, I wonder how to ensure that the period I worked in the UK is taken into account in calculating my pension.

Can you advise?

You are entitled to a separate pension from every country where you were insured for at least one year. In your case, you will be entitled to pensions from the UK and from Ireland. The amount you receive from each country will be proportionate to your periods of insured employment in each country. The respective pensions will be paid when you reach pensionable age for the country concerned. The pensions will be paid wherever you reside in the EU.

In order to obtain further information in relation to the UK pension to which you will be entitled, I recommend that you contact the Department of Social Security, Benefits Agency, Pensions and Overseas Benefits Directorate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE 98 1YX. The telephone number is 0044 191 225 7180.

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How is my pension calculated?

Your pension will be calculated according to your insurance record in each country: the sum you will receive from each of these countries will correspond to the length of your social security coverage there. You will receive a Summary note (document P1) which will give you an overview of the decisions made by each country on your claim. 

Marie has worked in a number of Member States during her working life.  She has just retired.  She is having difficulty establishing a pension entitlement in onr of the States where she previously worked.  Can her entitlement to pension in all States be withheld until the matter is completely resolved?

No.  If any of the institutions to whose legislation she has been subject establishes, during the investigation of her claim, that she satisfies the conditions for entitlement to old-age pension under its legislation, without recourse to the principle of aggregation of periods, it should pay her an independent benefit immediately. If the amount might be affected by the result of the investigation procedure, that payment will be considered provisional.

From the moment it becomes apparent that she is entitled to a pro-rata pension from a given institution, that institution will make an advance payment of an amount as close as possible to the pro-rata pension that will eventually be paid.

The institution(s) making these provisional or advance payments have a duty to inform Marie without delay, specifically drawing her attention to the provisional nature of these payments and of any rights of appeal under the relevant legislation.

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Where should I apply?

Even if you have worked in several countries, you should apply for your pension in the country where you live, unless you never worked there. In the latter case, you should apply in the country where you last worked. 

Supplementary Pension Schemes

Is there any EU legislation providing for the protection of rights accrued under a private or supplementary pension scheme when I take up employment in another Member State?

Unfortunately, private schemes are outside the scope of EU legislation.  It is recognised that people who move to work in another Member State can lose a significant portion of their private pension entitlement.  This is an area which is currently under consideration by the EU. Earlier this year, a Directive on improving the portability of supplementary pension rights was agreed upon in Council. This Directive will require Member States to implement minimum requirements for the acquisition and preservation of pension rights for people who go to work in other Member States.

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Where can I obtain further information on pension rights in the EU?

Further general information on pensions in the EU is available from the following website: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=860&langId=en

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Last update: 18/10/2013  |Top