Paying UK national insurance contributions directly from Germany

117 posts in this topic

You'll have to get a move on with only 30 days or so to go but yes, 2018/19 can still be paid at "its" rate until the end of this tax year.

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So, snail mail takes 8 or 9 weeks to get an answer. Impossible to log in to the website and calling is gonna be an expensive challenge with my French mobile. I no longer have a landline and will have to take out a subscription extension to call UK... oh for a simple life.

 

I am 57 and had 20 years UK contributions up to 2016. I reckon whichever calculation they use to ascertain my starting amount before or after 2016 it would be about 80 GBP/week give or take a quid or three. I do not have a pension forecast, just a list of 15 missing years dating back to 2006-7 with what it would cost to pay today.I am prepared to pay the shortfall of 15 years to bring me up to 35 years. I will try not to die any time soon. I also have a decade of overlapping years paid into the German system. Do I understand that the German years could or would be used to calculate the UK pension? So do I actually have 30 years of UK credits? That would be nice, then I would only have to pay 5 years to the UK... but is that correct? I have read so much and retained so little (thanks Covid), my poor head is spinning.

 

I get that the overlapping years are lost for the purposes of German pension calculations.

 

Then, now I am prepared to stump up, actually paying them whatever amount is a challenge because I do not have an 18 digit reference number that you use if you pay from a UK account... they say on the website it is on a bill... but I do not have a bill...

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UK pensions are not accepting payments by cheque now. For the German pension, years are counted, one needs so many Beitragsjahren, UK years are counted but the contributions made when working in the UK do not count towards the German pension.

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3 hours ago, optimista said:

So, snail mail takes 8 or 9 weeks to get an answer. Impossible to log in to the website and calling is gonna be an expensive challenge with my French mobile. I no longer have a landline and will have to take out a subscription extension to call UK... oh for a simple life.

 

I am 57 and had 20 years UK contributions up to 2016. I reckon whichever calculation they use to ascertain my starting amount before or after 2016 it would be about 80 GBP/week give or take a quid or three. I do not have a pension forecast, just a list of 15 missing years dating back to 2006-7 with what it would cost to pay today.I am prepared to pay the shortfall of 15 years to bring me up to 35 years. I will try not to die any time soon. I also have a decade of overlapping years paid into the German system. Do I understand that the German years could or would be used to calculate the UK pension? So do I actually have 30 years of UK credits? That would be nice, then I would only have to pay 5 years to the UK... but is that correct? I have read so much and retained so little (thanks Covid), my poor head is spinning.

 

I get that the overlapping years are lost for the purposes of German pension calculations.

 

Then, now I am prepared to stump up, actually paying them whatever amount is a challenge because I do not have an 18 digit reference number that you use if you pay from a UK account... they say on the website it is on a bill... but I do not have a bill...

In terms of calling the UK, you could sign up for a skype account and then use skype out to call the UK.  I assume that it works in the same way as it does here in the UK in that you call a local number that is then diverted to the one you want to call.  You pay for the call to the local number, or use your tariff and then pay about 2 Euro cents per minute to wait in the queue, sorry, speak to the UK person.  I use this all the time to call the USA...

 

As far as the pension is concerned you may be aiming a little low in terms of amount.  In last year's terms the max old state pension was £134 and you needed 30 years to get it.  I am not sure this is 100% accurate but 20/30 x 134 is about £89.  However, if you were not contracted out in your UK employment you may have some additional pension or Guaranteed Minimum Pension amounts on top of that (you'll need to get DWP to calculate that as I have no idea how those rules worked).  20 years under the new rules would be 20 x 175.20/35 which is about £100, which would be reduced by any COPE amount if you were contracted out...  So, starting with your 20 years is probably somewhere between £90 and £100.  But there are 10 missing years by the sound of it from 2006/7 to 2015/16.  You can still pay these up and they will influence your starting amount. 

 

In simple terms that looks to give you 30 years at 2016 if you pay up those missing years to 2015/16.  That would be a starting amount of the higher of £134 (old rules) plus any additional pension etc, and £150 (new rules) less any COPE amount.  If that is correct, and only DWP can confirm with a pension forecast (that should be quite quick to order by sending the relevant form) then you may need only 5 or 6 more years post 2016, so, 2016/17 to 2020/21 or 2021/22 to get the max.  You now have until next April to get this sorted at "today's rates", so 9 weeks snail-mail is not so bad...

 

The German years are used only to get you past the magic 10 qualifying years minimum requirement, but as you already have 20 years, the German ones are irrelevant.  In theory the UK must also do a pro-rata calculation using the total years in both countries (ignoring overlaps) but because the UK pension is not earnings related the maths using UK-only years and pro-rata based on UK and German years will always give the same result, so they don't do it.  So, for UK purposes you can forget the German years...

 

In terms of paying, the process is to talk things through with DWP and work out which years you want to pay.  You then call HMRC to arrange actual payment.  They will (or should) ask you to confirm that you have spoken to DWP and are content that it is to your advantage to pay.  You then get the 18 digit reference number and are told how to pay.  PAying from a non-UK account shouldn't be a problem but I think there is some info on that on gov uk.  HMRC should be able to tell you how to do it.

 

It's a while since we paid a lump sum.  I recall that the reference and account details etc we all given to us over the phone and we just paid.  It then takes about 10 weeks to show up on your NIC records. 

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I arranged my UK pension forecast over the phone.  It was a normal number, and I have free calls to UK.  I paid a lump sum to catch up, and then a few years, year by year.  However, there comes a point where any further contributions have no payback.  

 

When I asked for the forecast though it took almost a year for them to send me one.  And when I paid them, they never sent any acknowledgement beyond asking for money for the following year.  This always made me a bit nervous about my dosh disappearing into a NI void.  They were super lovely friendly Geordies, who joked about my Geordie name and BBC continuity announcer voice.  Also their wating music was even last time I checked still "Ode to Joy". 

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I did not bother with lump sum catch up for UK pension. Every country I worked in I had pensions, and they paid out very nicely!

UK  amount is very small, but always useful!

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26 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

I arranged my UK pension forecast over the phone.  It was a normal number, and I have free calls to UK.  I paid a lump sum to catch up, and then a few years, year by year.  However, there comes a point where any further contributions have no payback.  

 

That is why HMRC require you to first talk to DWP to ensure that you only pay missing years that will benefit you in pension terms.

 

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34 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

I did not bother with lump sum catch up for UK pension.

I did - and it was about the best financial decision I ever took (thanks I believe to @PandaMunich)

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If you are certain that you need more years (and it appears that you are), then payment of the prior 2 years, or topping up a part paid year are the first to do since the prior 2 tax years are charged at the rate for that year, whereas before that are charged at the current rate. 
The reference number is your NI number then IC surname initial with no spaces. I will do a photo of a letter I received from them so that you can see what they wanted, and it also gives the correct bank details (please check with google or whatever that I have not photoshopped my own onto it before paying!!).
At the moment, a full year will cost about £780 and will give you a fraction over £5 a week extra so will pay itself in a few years. Current full pension is £179.60 a week. I am waiting for HMRC to update mine and then I will double check and pay the final bit so that I can sit back and know its sorted out. 


 

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2 hours ago, RedMidge said:

I did not bother with lump sum catch up for UK pension. Every country I worked in I had pensions, and they paid out very nicely!

UK  amount is very small, but always useful!

 

Sure, it is important to work out if works well for you.  For me, recenlty mostly stay at home mother, it is a winner.  It is not huge, but then again the payments are not huge.  No investment could compete.  Though with the lockdown and no exercise and the amount I am drinking probably means I will not need it!

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I agree.  The question for those who can afford it is "What's the downside?"  If you live for just over 3 years after state pension age you fully recoup the investment (for each £800 you pay in you get £266 increase in your pension).  And as far as I am aware there are no downsides in relation to any other state pensions one might qualify for.

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And if they request you only pay £ 150 annually

(NI class II) because you did some freelance work,  then the returns are even faster.

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On 06/03/2021, 08:26:54, GreenDave said:

... my UK credit card is now asking to confirm payments on their app, which I am blocked from downloading to my smartphone in Germany. If my UK bank account goes the same way it could make everything really awkward.

@GreenDavehighly recommend you get yourself a Giff-Gaff PAYG SIM with a UK number, and persuade a friend/relative to donate an old smartphone, eg. one that needs a new battery but isn't worth forking out for, but you could just keep it plugged in.

Register your shiny new UK fone no with your bank; download whatever apps you want to; you can now receive confirmatory SMSs from any UK bank as well.  My GG a/c costs me ~£10 per year - cheap at the price.

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, optimista said:

So, snail mail takes 8 or 9 weeks to get an answer. Impossible to log in to the website and calling is gonna be an expensive challenge with my French mobile. I no longer have a landline and will have to take out a subscription extension to call UK... oh for a simple life.

fwiw: send a .pdf file to a friend in the UK, ask them to print it out and post it all for you (you can digitally sign the forms if req'd).  That cuts the response time easily in half.

 

You could try www.mytello.com for cheap phone calls. I haven't myself, but my brother says they are the biz.  Another TT user recommended www.rebtel.com.

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18 hours ago, optimista said:

calling is gonna be an expensive challenge with my French mobile

Try dialnow.com. Cost to the UK less than 1 Cent/min.

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11 hours ago, GaryC said:

I agree.  The question for those who can afford it is "What's the downside?"  If you live for just over 3 years after state pension age you fully recoup the investment (for each £800 you pay in you get £266 increase in your pension).  And as far as I am aware there are no downsides in relation to any other state pensions one might qualify for.

 

The big question remains, at what age will you be able to withdraw your pension? The amount spent on Covid will have to be repaid and one way the Government does this would be to maybe increase the retirement age.

 

Will those in their 40`s really expect to retire at 67/68?

 

Would you pay NI contributions if the retirement age was 74 for example?

 

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That is a good question.  My wife expected to reach state pension age at 60, then it was 65 and now 66. that is increasing incrementally to 67 and then? It is "allegedly" based on life expectancy and how to fund your retirement is always a personal judgement call.  I need to fill 5 years in the run-up to state pension age and my philosophy is to delay making those payments until I am reasonably certain that I will live more than 3 years past that date - my dad did not get that luxury but are "fine" until about 64!  With current interest and inflation rates the real cost of delaying is virtually zero but that can of course change. 

 

You need "only" 35 qualifying years until and unless that too changes again in the future.  It was 40 when I set out on this road of life and there was no way I could reach that under the then rules.  Then it was reduced to 30 and now under completely different rules its 35.  Will that stay the same forever?  Who knows.  But with a current payback period of 3 years and the need to only fund 35 years irrespective of the increasing pension age it is a personal decision based on family life expectancy, personal health and finances and I guess personal approach to risk. 

 

You pays your money and takes your changes in this life...

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How to mask a proposal for saving public funds by increasing the state pension by suggesting you are helping people to work longer and save more for retirement - what a load of tosh!  Unfortunately some people may think it is a good idea.  If people want to work for longer, then fine.  But for those who have worked hard and saved hard and who then choose to become "economically inactive", keep your political tanks of their grass... 

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