Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

UK state pension and USA social security

UK state pension and USA social security

Old Jan 29th 2015, 7:26 pm
  #526  
Ping-ponger
 
dunroving's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Dreich Alba
Posts: 11,964
dunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

I think I am turning weird because I am starting to actually enjoy these conversations.
dunroving is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 7:30 pm
  #527  
nun
BE Forum Addict
 
nun's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,721
nun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
Hmmm, I know you are far better than I at spotting the Devil in the details but, from my reading on several threads about this:

The term "flat rate" pension is a misnomer and implies that everyone will get the same if they have 35 years' contributions, but this isn't the case (all the following AFAIK).
The new state pension is entirely flat rate it is based on years of contributions and has no connection to income and the amount of those contributions.

People who opted out (because they were in employer pension schemes) won't get the full amount.

People who have fewer than 35 years but who, under the old system, would have more (due to SERPS/S2P) than they would under the new system, get the higher amount - thus getting an amount that is affected by/related to earnings.

You and theOAP are raising very important points about the interpretation of the WEP questions, which IMO are somewhat ambiguous and open to various interpretations. I do see your point about the Class II's though.

But I prefer theOAP's interpretation that if you answer "No" to the "because" questions (as per my email and theOAP's subsequent breakdown), then the answer is "No" - because if you don't satisfy the first part, then the second part is irrelevant. I also think the point about whether company pensions are "voluntary" is also interesting.
People who are in the transition age between the old and new systems will have lots of thinking to do. The most important thing is to understand whether your pension is income related, if it is then WEP applies. The "because" question asks whether you have an income related pension, the final clause is the important one, not the bits that come before.
nun is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 7:36 pm
  #528  
nun
BE Forum Addict
 
nun's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,721
nun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond reputenun has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
The current basic state pension may have two parts, it depends on the individual and how (and when) they contributed. A possibility exists for having two parts. Prior to 2002, SERPS existed as a possibility for a second element, but only those who were working could qualify. After 2002 the Second State Pension came into existence, and the number of those who could contribute increased. Those who couldn't contribute to S2P were the self employed and those who were "contracted out". Both SERPS and S2P were earnings related, but only once you earned a certain level of income.

As for the earnings, today, if you earn £150/week (and not contracted out), you will not contribute to the state pension via earnings. If you earn £160/week, you do contribute to the state pension. Earnings related???

I've checked a yearly statement for a state pension:

HOW YOUR BENEFIT IS MADE UP
basic State Pension................................ £XX.00
additional State Pension............ £ZZ.90 (not miniscule)
less contracted out deduction..... £ZZ.00
...........................Total payable £00.90 (miniscule)

......................Amount of weekly pension £XX.90

Line 1, the basic State Pension is calculated on Y/44 where Y = the number of years of contributions. Anyone with an equal Y number of years will receive the same amount, regardless of how the contributions were made. The contracted out amount is included on the company pension, increasing it by £ZZ.00.

We're back to the old question; for SS, does the SSA consider line 1 as a foreign pension subject to WEP, where in this case, it exists due to Class 1 contributions via employment (earnings), and not voluntary contributions (or other)?
Basic state pension is not subject to WEP because it is not calculated on earnings, but on number of contributions. Additional state pension or amounts you get from a private pension are WEPable.
nun is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 7:37 pm
  #529  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 9,711
Giantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

We can argue all we like about whether the WEP should be applied to UK pensions. What we do know from postings here is that the SSA does apply it to the current UK pension. And I wouldn't hold my breath that they will cease doing so when the "new" pension is introduced. Really, what this needs is a legal challenge at some point.
Giantaxe is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 7:56 pm
  #530  
Ping-ponger
 
dunroving's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Dreich Alba
Posts: 11,964
dunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
We can argue all we like about whether the WEP should be applied to UK pensions. What we do know from postings here is that the SSA does apply it to the current UK pension. And I wouldn't hold my breath that they will cease doing so when the "new" pension is introduced. Really, what this needs is a legal challenge at some point.
But from the few personal accounts on here of what actually happens at retirement, WEP is largely based on your response to one or two questions when you apply to receive SS. These questions ask about whether you do, or expect to, get another pension.

I'm not sure those questions are worded in the same way as the Q&A page Nun linked to.

Also, I don't know of any cases where someone replied "No" and was subsequently chased up for false declaration (or receiving full SS when they should be WEP'ed). Anyone know of any?

(I'm not suggesting people deliberately misrepresent, just that if the questions are this obtusely worded, surely some people will answer "No" at retirement when they should have answer "Yes". How does US SS subsequently find out whether the person answered correctly?)
dunroving is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:05 pm
  #531  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 2,363
durham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

I went through the questions on that website, and read through the responses on this thread, and agree that they are very confusing indeed.

I'm now actually pleased that when the time comes I will be WEP'ed to the max based on my 2 private UK pensions so the UK OAP is actually irrelevant in my case. One less thing to worry about, but I'm still interested in how this gets sorted over the next 2 or 3 years as the new flat rate, non earnings based, UK OAP gets implemented.
durham_lad is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:14 pm
  #532  
BE Enthusiast
 
fozzyb's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2014
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 388
fozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Even the "new" state pension is earnings based in the sense that for a year to count as a contribution you must have earned over the lower earnings limit (unless you have other credits/voluntary contributions etc).
fozzyb is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:16 pm
  #533  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jun 2014
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 94
UK2US1979 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
I've completed both options on the page nun linked to in his previous post:
The Payments Abroad Screening Tool and Nonresident Alien Tax Screening Tool, on the Windfall Elimination Provision and Foreign Pensions page.

I answered the questions in line with a (my) company pension. I know for a fact that US SS does have WEP applied. It has been applied to the pension for the past 6 years.

The questions appear to be straightforward:

Are you entitled to or eligible for a U.S. Social Security benefit on your own Social Security number?
Straightforward, and clear.

Are you entitled to a U.S. Social Security benefit and a foreign pension that is based on employment, and were you eligible for both before January 1, 1986?
Straightforward, and clear.

Are you entitled to a foreign pension based on employment and were you eligible before January 1, 1986?
Straightforward, and clear.

Do you have 30 or more years of substantial work under the U.S. Social Security system?
Straightforward, and clear.

Are you entitled to a U.S. Social Security benefit or a foreign pension based on a totalization agreement after December 1994?
Straightforward, and clear.

Are you a U.S. citizen or resident who receives a foreign pension entirely based on the Social Security taxes you paid to both the U.S. and a foreign country on the same earnings?
Seems to be straightforward, and clear.

Do you or will you receive a foreign pension because of need, voluntary contributions, citizenship, or residency that is based in part on your earnings?
Company pension(s):
Not because of need. (was not "assistance" or a social benefit)
Wasn't voluntary, enrollment was automatic for any company employee.
It was a (British or French) pension. I was a US citizen both when contributing and when I started receiving the pension, and not British or French at the time.
Residency; I was resident in the UK for 2 of the 7 years on which the French pension is based.

Was it based on my earnings. If I answer "no" then no WEP is applied. If I answer "yes", the pension(s) are WEPed.

I believe the correct answer is "yes", the pension(s) were based on earnings. How much earnings isn't the question, it's whether it's a pension based solely on having earnings.

I agree with nun. It's the earnings related component, but the question IS NOT clear. It's the "because of" that throws you and implies that if the foreign pension is not based on one of the four options, then the answer would be "no", it's NOT paid due to one of the options.

My summation: because of the ambiguous last question, the Tool is worthless! The only point of debate as to the Tool's accuracy is whether a company pension, even with automatic enrolment, is a voluntary pension.
You are applying the calculator to your "company pension". I guess, the contributions you made were "earnings related" and/or voluntary contributions. However, if applied to the State pension element only, I fail to understand why the NHI contributions which were automatically deducted from one's wages each week/month could be classified as "voluntary" or "earnings related". No one asked me if I wanted to make NHI contributions! So, won't the UK state pension in this situation be treated simply as "basic" state pension? Isn't the basic state pension a flat sum of money depending solely on the number of years one has contributed to the system?
UK2US1979 is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:25 pm
  #534  
Ping-ponger
 
dunroving's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Dreich Alba
Posts: 11,964
dunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by UK2US1979 View Post
You are applying the calculator to your "company pension". I guess, the contributions you made were "earnings related" and/or voluntary contributions. However, if applied to the State pension element only, I fail to understand why the NHI contributions which were automatically deducted from one's wages each week/month could be classified as "voluntary" or "earnings related". No one asked me if I wanted to make NHI contributions! So, won't the UK state pension in this situation be treated simply as "basic" state pension? Isn't the basic state pension a flat sum of money depending solely on the number of years one has contributed to the system?
Sorry, what is NHI?

I think another part of the WEP "equation" (whether you should be WEP'ed) is related to earning a pension on income that was US SS-exempt. The questions in the link don't seem to get at that. But UK state pension is based on US SS-exempt earnings (if you earned NI by working in the UK) and not based on US SS-exempt earnings (if you live and earn in the US and are paying the Class II "stamp" with your US income).

Last edited by dunroving; Jan 29th 2015 at 8:34 pm.
dunroving is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:30 pm
  #535  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 2,363
durham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by fozzyb View Post
Even the "new" state pension is earnings based in the sense that for a year to count as a contribution you must have earned over the lower earnings limit (unless you have other credits/voluntary contributions etc).
I've been retired for 5 years and will continue making voluntary NI contributions for another 7 years so that I will have 12/35ths of my UK State pensions that will be based on years with no earnings at all for those years, and those 12 years will be worth exactly the same amount as if I had been working and paying contributions through NI taxes. That is what I mean when I say that the new UK State pension is not earnings based, it is just calculated on the number of years of contributions, regardless of whether one has been working or not.
durham_lad is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:32 pm
  #536  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: The Shire
Posts: 1,080
theOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by nun View Post
The "because" question asks whether you have an income related pension, the final clause is the important one, not the bits that come before.
So why the other bits at all if they're not relevant, which they seem not to be? Why isn't the question, "do you have any pension that is earnings related"? It's only if you answer in the latter context will the Tool give the right answer.

Originally Posted by nun View Post
Basic state pension is not subject to WEP because it is not calculated on earnings, but on number of contributions. Additional state pension or amounts you get from a private pension are WEPable.
Is it too late to challenge the lady who interviewed me for SS, and asked all the details about a UK State Pension? By your logic (which could be right), my basic State Pension (or at least 95+% of it) is not based on earnings (line 1 in the example). She didn't mention that part, and only wanted to confirm that it came from Class 1 contributions. We did discuss her questions and she confirmed the detail she was taking for both the State Pension and the company pension related to the WEP calculation, IIRC.
theOAP is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:37 pm
  #537  
Ping-ponger
 
dunroving's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Dreich Alba
Posts: 11,964
dunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond reputedunroving has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
So why the other bits at all if they're not relevant, which they seem not to be? Why isn't the question, "do you have any pension that is earnings related"? It's only if you answer in the latter context will the Tool give the right answer.


Is it too late to challenge the lady who interviewed me for SS, and asked all the details about a UK State Pension? By your logic (which could be right), my basic State Pension (or at least 95+% of it) is not based on earnings (line 1 in the example). She didn't mention that part, and only wanted to confirm that it came from Class 1 contributions. We did discuss her questions and she confirmed the detail she was taking for both the State Pension and the company pension related to the WEP calculation, IIRC.
... and you were WEP'ed based on your entire UK State Pension, if I remember correctly - is that right?
dunroving is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:38 pm
  #538  
BE Enthusiast
 
fozzyb's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2014
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 388
fozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond reputefozzyb has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

I've been retired for 5 years and will continue making voluntary NI contributions for another 7 years so that I will have 12/35ths of my UK State pensions that will be based on years with no earnings at all for those years, and those 12 years will be worth exactly the same amount as if I had been working and paying contributions through NI taxes. That is what I mean when I say that the new UK State pension is not earnings based, it is just calculated on the number of years of contributions, regardless of whether one has been working or not.
Yes - but my point is that someone who works for 35 years earning just £1K/year and makes no other contributions/credits would get no state pension.
Whereas someone who works for 35 years earning £15K/year and makes no other contributions would get £140/week state pension.
So there is (or could be) an earnings related element even in the new state pension.
fozzyb is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:39 pm
  #539  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: The Shire
Posts: 1,080
theOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
That is what I mean when I say that the new UK State pension is not earnings based, it is just calculated on the number of years of contributions, regardless of whether one has been working or not.
Isn't this also the case for the current basic State Pension?
theOAP is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2015, 8:44 pm
  #540  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 2,363
durham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by fozzyb View Post
Yes - but my point is that someone who works for 35 years earning just £1K/year and makes no other contributions/credits would get no state pension.
Whereas someone who works for 35 years earning £15K/year and makes no other contributions would get £140/week state pension.
So there is (or could be) an earnings related element even in the new state pension.
I agree, and I think the discussion here on WEP applied to US SS is really about what the US SSA definition is on earnings based pension.
durham_lad is offline  

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.