British Social Security Benefits for US Residents
These notes are intended as general guidelines on the availability of British social security benefits to residents of the United States.
Although British Government offices in the United States are not able to provide advice on individual benefit claims, comprehensive information on all aspects of social security benefits is available on the internet:
Department of Social Security
Social Security Agreement Between United Kingdom and United States of America Leaflet SA33 http://www.direct.gov.uk
Residents of the United States who have paid national insurance contributions in Britain may be entitled to a retirement pension from the United Kingdom. General information on pensions is available from the Department of Social Security Benefits and Services Department. Claims should be made to the following address, giving the applicant’s full name, date and place of birth, details of last employment in Britain and national insurance number (if known):
Overseas Benefits Directorate
Department of Social Security Benefits Agency
Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE98 1BA
Tel: (191) 218 7777 | Fax: (191) 218 7293
A pension may be paid to an address abroad, a bank account abroad, a UK bank account or a UK resident of the pensioner’s choice. If contributions toward social security benefits have been made in both Britain and the United States, the arrangements of the social security agreement between the two countries allow for credits from both countries to be included in assessments for benefits. The pension rate is not affected if residence is in the country other than that awarding the pension. Further information is contained at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/lifeevent/penret/index.asp.
Pensioners already in receipt of retirement benefits who are considering moving to the United States should bear in mind that a period of three to four months is usually required to make arrangements to have a UK pension paid in the US. Retirees should initiate the process through their local Benefits Agency well before leaving Britain.
Payment of widows’ benefits abroad can be arranged in the same way as retirement pensions.
General information on social security benefits for those who are widowed is available from the Department for Work and Pensions
A useful publication from the Department for Work and Pensions is: Widowed? A Basic Guide to Benefits and Tax Credits for Women or Men Who Have Been Widowed
War pensions are payable to men and women who were injured or disabled as a result of service in HM Armed Forces, or disabled from injuries received in the Merchant Navy in wartime. Civilians and Civil Defence workers may also be entitled to a war pension if they were disabled as a result of enemy action during the Second World War.
Information on war pensions is available from the Ministry of Defence.
Paying National Insurance Contributions
US residents wishing to continue UK national insurance contributions in order to maintain eligibility to certain benefits should contact the following organisation:
National Insurance Contributions Office
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Tel: (from outside the UK) 44 191 2254811
Tel: (from the UK) 0645 154811
Fax: (from outside the UK) 44 191 2257800
Fax: (from the UK) 0645 157800
Inland Revenue provides a helpful booklet, Social Security Abroad – National Insurance Contributions, Social Security Benefits, Health Care in Certain Overseas Countries (publication #N138)