Worth looking into your entitlements to a UK pension and buying extra years of service

Chartered accountant Frank Buckley can be contacted at uspfinancial.ie Stock image

Charlie Weston

If you are one of the thousands of Irish people who worked in Britain you would be wise to get up to speed on your entitlements to a pension from that country, and the good value to be had in buying additional years of service.

Something like 153,000 who are over the age of 45 have returned to this country after working in the UK, according to chartered accountant Frank Buckley, who has researched the area.

He says many people who worked for a period in Britain are unaware that they are due a partial UK pension in addition to their Irish pension, if they have enough UK contributions.

But it gets better, because you can make extra voluntary contributions to boost your pension before you hit retirement age.

Buckley, from Co Offaly, says you can make voluntary contributions for six years (up to 10 years in some cases) to your national insurance record.

He is offering to do the work involved in finding out the level of accrued UK state pension benefits, and how to go about getting extra years added on, for people if they are prepared to pay him a fee of €160, including Vat.

Brexit means there is some urgency around having this sorted out in the next while.

Buckley has 30 years' experience as a chartered accountant, having worked in senior roles in a variety of companies.

In the mid-1990s he worked in Scotland, where he accrued UK state pension rights.

He only worked in Britain for four years, but you need a minimum of 10 years of paying national insurance contributions in that country to get a state pension.

This means he qualified for a UK pension of nil. So he decided to buy 10 added years' service, at a cost of £6,887 (€7,752).

This will now give him a pension from the UK of £3,815 (€4,294) from the age of 67 for as long as he lives.

This is a no-brainer, he says. Given the huge numbers of Irish people that emigrated to the UK in the 1980s and 1990s, and then came home when the economy picked up here, this is something that could be really good value for many.

The critical requirement is a national insurance record, which is accessible through a national insurance number.

Buckley believes that some people may be intimidated dealing with large foreign institutions like Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Also, he says many are not aware of the obvious dangers of Brexit where, pending a hard exit, the UK could unilaterally close the door on non-nationals accruing further state pension entitlements.

He can be contacted at uspfinancial.ie