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Should you be getting a British pension?

Gerard Scully | Senior Information Officer | Age Action
Written by: Gerry Scully
Senior Information Officer


If you worked in Britain you might be entitled to a British pension in your retirement. Gerry explains how the system works.

Information team stand in a local library.


Dear Age Action,

I lived and worked in Leeds for a number of years in the 1980s. I’m home now and get an Irish pension but could I be entitled to a British pension from when I worked there?

Noel, Wicklow


The short answer yes! If you have made social welfare contributions while working in England – or Scotland, Wales or the North for that matter – then you can use these to supplement your Irish social insurance contributions.

When you apply for the Irish pension you should tell them when and where you worked in Britain. Then, if you do not have enough contributions in Ireland to get a full contributory pension, the Irish Department of Social Protection will contact their counterparts in Britain.

Your contributions in Britain may get you a full contributory pension in Ireland or, at the very least, give you a slightly bigger pension payment. On the other hand if you are getting a British pension but your income is inadequate you could apply for an Irish non-contributory pension.

Winter Fuel Payment

Remember though, if you have no payment from the Irish State you are entitled to a medical card under EU regulations. You could also, in certain circumstances, be entitled to the British Winter Fuel Payment if you have lived in Britain even if you are not getting a pension.

British pensions are dealt with under EU regulations and bilateral agreements. We cannot say how these regulations will be affected by Brexit but Age Action has raised the matter with the Department of Social Protection and it is in everyone’s best interests to ensure the incomes of our pensioners are protected.

There are 135,000 people in Ireland getting a British State Pension and 70,000 with private British pensions. There are also 30,000 people in Britain who get Irish state pensions.

You can get the details about your British entitlements at or you can contact the Age Action Information Service at 01 475 6989 or



My dad get a state pension from uk he worked there most of his life he has been a widow for 28 yrs should he have claimed fuel allowance in uk ?

Hi, I have paid full British National Insurance Contributions and also Full Irish PRSI Contributions (Class A). Can I claim anything from Britain?
Thank you.

Hi Ann.  If an individual has sufficient contributions to qualify for a contributory pension in each country without the need to combine contributions then they may claim a full pension from each country.

If they have insufficient contributions from both countries then the Irish Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will grant them a reduced pension based on the contributions made in Ireland and also contact the UK Department of Social Security to arrange that they be paid a reduced Pension from the UK using their UK contributions.  

If you call us on 01 475 6989 we can talk you through it.


Hi my mother in law lived in the UK for about 5years or so with her husband and when she had the kids came home to Ireland he worked over here and then went back over there to work he they separated 7 years later and he still worked over there till about 2 years ago he still lives there with his new wife would his xwife be able to claim some of his pension as they told her she did not work long anuff to get her own pension he is getting a pension from Ireland and the UK and advice would be great thanks

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