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US Social Security Moving Back to UK

US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Old Aug 21st 2022, 11:21 am
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Default US Social Security Moving Back to UK

New to this forum:
Background - We have lived and worked in the US for over 20 years under green card status and are now thinking of moving back to the UK for our retirement.

One of many questions we have is - Can we claim our social security while living in the UK with expired green card status? we would no longer have a US address. Anyone with any experience with this? Thanks!
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Old Aug 21st 2022, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Originally Posted by NYCFAN
New to this forum:
Background - We have lived and worked in the US for over 20 years under green card status and are now thinking of moving back to the UK for our retirement.

One of many questions we have is - Can we claim our social security while living in the UK with expired green card status? we would no longer have a US address. Anyone with any experience with this? Thanks!

Yes, you can if you have paid in your 40 quarters and are a UK citizen. There is a UK/US agreement.

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10137.pdf

I believe it can be paid directly into a UK bank, due to the agreement.
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Old Aug 21st 2022, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Yes, you can. We were told by the Federal Benefits Unit at the US Embassy in London that our entitlement to SSA retirement benefit was unchanged if we reside in the UK, whether we were a green card holder or not. On being told that, we surrendered our green cards and claimed the benefit after moving back to the UK. No problem.
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Old Aug 22nd 2022, 3:40 am
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

My wife has been receiving her monthly SS payment directly into our UK bank account for about a year now. It works great and with the best exchange rate possible on the day of the transfer.
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Old Aug 22nd 2022, 10:09 am
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Thanks guys very helpful. Does the UK tax the US SS payments?
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Old Aug 22nd 2022, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Originally Posted by NYCFAN
Thanks guys very helpful. Does the UK tax the US SS payments?
Yes, it is treated like a regular pension, but the US does not tax SS payments if you are living in the UK.

The first year after we were back HMRC changed the rules on foreign pensions and began taxing the full amount. We had one year only where only 90% of my US private pensions were taxed. I think they changed that rule after the 2016/17 tax year
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Old Nov 29th 2022, 12:34 pm
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Question Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Dear all,
Can anyone help me with a related question. I am a UK citizen and green card holder. I have paid into social security for approximately 30 years in the US. I only worked for a few years in the UK before I moved. I am 55 and so don't yet qualify for social security payments. I am hoping to return to the UK shortly. Will I be able to get social security when I am 67 or whatever the age? If so, will I get it from the US? I have been reading that you have to keep going back there for a month every six months or they stop payments. I am completely confused from my reading. Admittedly, financial things are not my forte. From some of my reading, it looks like I won't qualify for SS if I move back to the UK. Any guidance gratefully received on this. Any tips likewise. I do apologize for being so dull.
Thank you! Nick
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Old Nov 29th 2022, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Originally Posted by NicolaNick
Dear all,
Can anyone help me with a related question. I am a UK citizen and green card holder. I have paid into social security for approximately 30 years in the US. I only worked for a few years in the UK before I moved. I am 55 and so don't yet qualify for social security payments. I am hoping to return to the UK shortly. Will I be able to get social security when I am 67 or whatever the age? If so, will I get it from the US? I have been reading that you have to keep going back there for a month every six months or they stop payments. I am completely confused from my reading. Admittedly, financial things are not my forte. From some of my reading, it looks like I won't qualify for SS if I move back to the UK. Any guidance gratefully received on this. Any tips likewise. I do apologize for being so dull.
Thank you! Nick
Yes you can get your US social security in the UK. You have more than 40 quarters of qualifying payments, so that money is yours. And due to an agreement between the US and the UK you can receive that money seamlessly while resident in the UK. No visiting the US required. A number of BE members are doing just that.

Last edited by Lion in Winter; Nov 29th 2022 at 6:28 pm.
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Old Nov 29th 2022, 7:00 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Thank you, Lion In Winter. What a relief! That's a beginning in this process ...
I assume then green card holder status is not a consideration. I am probably going to have to relinquish it.

Last edited by NicolaNick; Nov 29th 2022 at 7:07 pm.
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Old Nov 29th 2022, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter
Yes you can get your US social security in the UK. You have more than 40 quarters of qualifying payments, so that money is yours. And due to an agreement between the US and the UK you can receive that money seamlessly while resident in the UK. No visiting the US required. A number of BE members are doing just that.
I can confirm this and since last year my wife has been receiving her SS directly into our bank here in England. It comes like clockwork every month. She applied for it online through the US Embassy Federal Benefits Unit, all pretty straightforward really.

You can apply for reduced benefits from age 62 if you would prefer rather than wait until full retirement age at age 67. Green card status is not an eligibility issue at all, so you don’t need to travel back regularly to maintain that card.
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Old Nov 29th 2022, 8:41 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Originally Posted by NicolaNick
Thank you, Lion In Winter. What a relief! That's a beginning in this process ...
I assume then green card holder status is not a consideration. I am probably going to have to relinquish it.
Just as a thought, have you considered applying for US citizenship? Relinquishing your green card would be very final, and who's to say what the future may hold - what if you change your mind a couple of years down the line and want to return to the US? It's something to consider anyway.
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Old Nov 29th 2022, 11:30 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Hi there,
Yes, it is floating about in my mind. Thank you for the prompt. So many things to do to move back. I am not sure I can put the citizenship piece in front of it, but maybe .......
Thank you!
Nick
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Old Nov 29th 2022, 11:32 pm
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Thank you. This is all very overwhelming. But it won't sort itself, so one step at a time ... Thank you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Nick
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Old Nov 30th 2022, 2:10 am
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

Originally Posted by NicolaNick
Dear all,
Can anyone help me with a related question. I am a UK citizen and green card holder. I have paid into social security for approximately 30 years in the US. I only worked for a few years in the UK before I moved. ....
If you paid NI for at least three years you are likely eligible to make back contributions towards a UK state pension. And if you apply to make Class 2 contributions it only costs about £150-£160/yr, which is an insanely good investment as you will receive back every penny you contribute in increased pension payments in about 7 months after you retire. In your case, if you have less than 10 years of contributions, then you have another reason, as if you have less than 10 years of contributions, you don't get any state pension.

At the moment, until March 2023 you may be able to contribute for years back to 2006, so 16 years (otherwise you can only contribute 6 back years plus the current year) plus whatever you originally contributed, should get you more than 50% of a state pension (Add the number of years of contributions, plus deemed contributions if you stayed in school after your 16th birthday, which typically adds three years of contributions, and divide the total by 35 years to get the fraction of a full UK state pension that you're eligible for). ... Then add any more years you work in future and/ or (if you're still outside the UK) you make Class 2 contributions.

But you need to get your skates on to get those 2006-2015 years, as it takes time to process your application for Class 2; also you must be outside the US to make those additional contributions. That said, I hear you can apply on line these days. You're looking for the Department of Work and Pensions International Desk, they also have a phone line and the people there are very helpful.

Last edited by Pulaski; Nov 30th 2022 at 2:19 am.
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Old Nov 30th 2022, 3:47 am
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Default Re: US Social Security Moving Back to UK

So, thanks a million! This is so kind of you and very helpful. Might I tax you for another thought. If I make those contributions and then end up staying in the US, do I say goodbye to that investment or can I access it from the US? Thank you (THANK YOU!)
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