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Thai wives living in the UK and Pensions


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Not sure which forum to post this in , So Admins, Please feel free to change the location of the post.


Hi , Both my wife and i are living in the UK, I am 61 and she is 49 and my wife is a British citizen  

at the moment my wife is working full time and paying into a company pension and paying National insurance contributions.

I think in Total , She has 5 years full NI contributions and she has the chance to buy 2 years for £300 where she only worked part of the year.


In the next 3 years we might decide to move to Thailand.


The questions are

Since she won't be able to claim a UK pension until 67 or maybe more if they increase the age limit to get a pension and i will be 79 IF i am still alive and kicking, Is it really worthwhile paying into pensions in the UK, Lets face it, If anything happens to me, Then their is a 99% chance of her moving back to Thailand.


Regarding paying the £300 voluntary contributions , Is this going to be a waste of money?


If we did both decide to sell up and move to Thailand 

1. Can you get UK pensions paid to you direct if you don't have a UK residence ?

2. Is it correct that your pension won't increase over time to match inflation?

3. I believe that if anything happens to me and i am over pension age, Then my wife will get halve 


It would be great to hear peoples views on pensions and what you have in place for your wives.


Its so difficult to find anything out and i guess the rules on UK pensions can change, Its like my wife needs 10 years NI contributions to claim a minimal pension, But that could change



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From my belief the answers to your three questions  are 1.  Yes.  2.  Yes.  3.  Not the government pension, but possibly half of any company pension you may have.  Check with your private pension company (if any)


So her income would be her company pension, which should increase yearly + her UK state pension which will not increase after she starts to take it + any widow's pension she may be eligible for from your company pension, which should increase.


In my opinion buying extra years for the state pension is a good investment, but check out the details.

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UK Pension office will only stop paying you annual increases if they are aware you have moved to Thailand.


If they have a UK address for you and they are paying your pension to a UK account you will get the annual pension increases.


For this reason some think it a good idea not to tell the Pension Office or HMRC that they have moved to Thailand.



Your wife will need to have made 10 years of NI contributions to get any pension at all and 35 years of NI contributions to get a full pension.


If she has 5 years already and looks like she will make at least 9 or ten years then pay the missing year(s) at the heavily discounted rate.


If you then move to Thailand she needs to decide if she wants to continue paying Class 3 NI contributions (currently £15.40 per week). Based on her age she can only reach about 25 or 26 years of NI contributions.


That’s still a big commitment for most retired people to keep up from Thailand.


There is also the question of whether she’ll be able to contact the Pension office if you are not around.


Alternatively, if she can afford it, she could make additional payments to her company pension.



My advice is:


1. Think very carefully about where you want UK Pension Service to contact you and what bank to use to receive your pension.


2. Get your wife to pay the missing NI year(s) and then see what the future has in store for when she stops working and moves to Thailand.


3. Make provisions, records of information, copies of records and letters etc, to help your wife trace her pensions when they are due.



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I would strongly recommend using the  link below and working through it. Note down any questions and then give the NI people a ring. In my experience, it can take a hell of a time to get through, but once you do they do try to help. 


One thing to bear in mind is that buying 'extra years' is cheaper if you are living AND working abroad than it is if you are UK based. However, there are restrictions e.g. pre-2016 contributions may not count towards an enhanced pension. Bottom line is talk to NI and get authoritive advice from them. Good luck.



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Thank you and the comments are really good and learnt a few things and yes i think its wise to pay the extra years NI. and will get onto that.

Thank you also for the links


Regards the future, In a ideal world, I would like to spend the summers in the UK and winters in Thailand and that would make the matter of pensions a little bit easier. 

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