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Transfer pension contributions from UK to US

Transfer pension contributions from UK to US

Old Apr 2nd 2021, 2:54 pm
  #1  
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Default Transfer pension contributions from UK to US

Evening,
I am Spanish citizen who lived 9 years in the UK and moved nearly 2 years ago to the US with an L-1 Visa, although we got our Green Card a couple of weeks ago.
Right now we see ourselves staying in the US rather than going back to the UK, and I am starting to think on the logistics of it, starting with the pensions.
Me and my wife have contributed for 9 years to the UK public pension scheme (similar to the Spain one, but that is another matter). Since it is 9 years, I don't get to the minimum 10 years required for the UK pension, and I was thinking about transferring the contributions from my UK public pension scheme to the US SS, if that is even possible? I've looked online and in this very same forum, but most of the questions are around once people are getting retirement benefits, rather than contributions/consolidation.
Also, if someone can recommend a professional that can give advice and navigate through the above, that would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
J
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: Transfer pension contributions from UK to US

You cannot transfer UK contributions to US social security. At retirement age, IF you do not qualify for a pension from the UK AND you do not qualify for US social security then they will combine your contributions to help you potentially qualify for ONE of the schemes. But if you qualify for either scheme without doing so then they will not combine your contributions. In practical terms this means that if you attain 10 or more years in US Social Security contributions then you will qualify for US social security and they will disregard your UK contributions. If you do not accrue 10 years in US social security then they will use your 9 years from the UK to help you qualify.

You will almost certainly qualify for US social security independently if you are going to be here long term, therefore I would start Voluntary National Insurance Contributions which you should be eligible to do even as a Spanish citizen. I think the rules are that you need to have contributed for 3 or more years and you meet that criteria. For every year you contribute you increase your UK pension by 5.01 pounds every week for the rest of your life. Just doing one year will at least get you the 10 years you need to qualify for the UK pension, and you can collect both although you need to be aware of WEP reductions of which there is much information in other threads. But even with WEP voluntary NIs are an outstanding return on investment,

There are Class 2 and Class 3. Class 2 is best if you qualify at something like 150 pounds a year, Class 3 is about 5 times that at about 750 pounds a year but still a very good deal when you consider that you increase your state pension by about 250 pounds a year for every year that you collect it. You only need to collect your pension for about 7 or 8 months to break even on Class 2, and about 3 years on Class 3. Read some recent threads on the subject which will likely answer many of your questions, but if not come back and ask whatever you need to.

EDIT: In your case just contributing one years worth of NIs would earn you about 1/4 of the UK state pension which would be ballpark 2,500 pounds a year. You won’t beat that guaranteed return on any investment anywhere.

Last edited by Glasgow Girl; Apr 2nd 2021 at 6:02 pm.
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Old Apr 11th 2021, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Transfer pension contributions from UK to US

Glasgow Girl,

much clear and much helpful. I absolutely agree that is worth the extra investment.

Will investigate further.

Thanks again for your support!
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