TN 2 (10-97)

GN 01719.020 U.K. Social Security Benefits

A. Introduction

U.K. Social Security benefits consist of two separate components called the “basic” pension and the “additional” pension. Eligibility requirements are generally the same for both, except there is a longer minimum coverage requirement for the basic pension.

1. Basic pension

The basic pension is a flat-rate benefit payable to people who meet the applicable qualifying conditions, including a minimum coverage requirement. The amount of the basic pension is unrelated to the worker's past earnings, but is directly dependent on the length of time worked under the U.K. system.

2. Additional pension

The additional pension is based on the level of the worker's earnings and total years of coverage under the U.K. system. Since a person can qualify for the additional pension with as little as 1 year of U.K. coverage, the agreement provides that U.S. coverage will not be counted for the purpose of establishing entitlement to the additional pension.

B. Policy - U.K. eligibility requirements

The eligibility requirements for U.K. basic retirement, survivors, and disability benefits are shown below. Since the agreement does not apply to the additional pension, this subsection only covers information about the basic pension.

1. Retirement benefits

Eligibility requirements for U.K. basic retirement benefit are as follows:

  1. Worker

    • Age 65 for men and age 60 for women.

    • Must have a minimum of 10 years of coverage for women and 11 years for men.

    • Retirement test may apply.

    • Supplement added for a dependent wife under age 60 and for each child under age 16, or age 19 if a student.

  2. Wife - Age 60 and not eligible for a higher retirement pension on her own record.

  3. Husband - Age 65 and not eligible for a higher retirement pension on his own record.

  4. Divorced Spouse

    • Age 65 for men and age 60 for women.

    • Not entitled to full basic pension on own work record.

    • Must have contributed to the U.K. system.

    • May be payable to a divorced wife who has remarried after age 60.

2. Disability Benefits

Eligibility requirements for U.K. basic disability benefits are as follows:

  1. Worker

    • Must have been unable to work for 52 weeks and entitled to statutory sickness pay or short-term incapacity benefits during this period.

    • Must have paid equivalent of 6 months contributions during a U.K. tax year any time prior to disability onset and have some recent work credits.

    • Must be a resident of the United Kingdom.

    • Supplement added for a dependent wife any age.

    • Supplement may be added under certain conditions for a dependent husband.

    • Supplement added for each child under age 16, or under age 19 if a student.

  2. Divorced Wife - Same eligibility requirements as for retirement benefits.

3. Survivors Benefits

A deceased worker must have earned coverage in at least 25 percent of the years between age 16 and the year of death. Eligibility requirements for U.K. basic survivors benefits are as follows:

  1. Widow

    • Age 45, or any age if caring for a dependent child of the worker.

    • Supplement for each child added to benefit of widow with child in care.

  2. Widower - Widowed before age 65 and the widower contributed to the U.K. system.

  3. Divorced Widow(er) - No provision.

  4. Orphan - Under age 16, or under age 19 if a student.

C. Procedure

Advise individuals that SSA cannot give official information about U.K. benefits. Refer those who want official information to the following address:

  • Pensions and Overseas Benefits Directorate

    Tyneview Park

    Whitley Road

    Benton

    Newcastle upon Tyne

    NE98 1BA

    ENGLAND


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0201719020