To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps he has taken with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to resolve the matter of frozen overseas pensions for veterans; and what progress he has made on reciprocal agreements with (a) Commonwealth (b) other nations on that matter.
22 November 2021
It is longstanding Government policy that the UK State Pension is not uprated annually for those not resident in the UK, unless the pensioner resides in a country where there is a legal requirement to uprate, such as when a reciprocal social security agreement is in place.
This is a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who are also responsible for social security agreements with other countries, and it would not be appropriate for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to seek to interfere or intervene in a non-Defence matter. This is not a veteran-specific issue, with veterans living overseas in the same position as non-veterans, and, therefore, this does not represent a disadvantage under the Armed Forces Covenant to such veterans on account of their Service. As such, no discussions have taken place between the MOD and DWP concerning this matter.
When a member of the Armed Forces reaches their retirement age, they receive one of the most generous pensions available in the UK. This fairly reflects the unique sacrifice they have provided their country throughout their career. Armed Forces pensions are entirely separate from the State Pension and there is no comparable provision to freeze Armed Forces pensions. Armed Forces pensions are claimed and paid in the same way no matter where a veteran chooses to live and uprated in-line with the consumer price index.