Preventing Elder Abuse Is A Priority
Many countries are now making the elimination of elder abuse a priority. The UK Government has a website, which encourages all to Recognise and report elder abuse. Elder Abuse comes in many forms that may cause harm to older people. It includes intending to harm, harming without intent and the neglect that leads to harm. The website notes that elder abuse includes actions relating to financial or material matters, including theft from the abused person, fraud, or coercion regarding wills and any financial transactions. Another website has been set up to promote ‘Action on Elder Abuse’.
One would hope that all this is not just to encourage citizens to take action but would also set the standard for how government policies should apply to elders. This is blatantly not the case for the Frozen Pensions Policy that is applied to some expat pensioners, if they are resident in the Commonwealth rather than in other foreign coutries.
The UK Government Frozen Pensions Policy
If you decide to move to Australia, Canada, South Africa or one of 170 other countries, your basic UK state pension won’t increase annually, as happens if you are resident in the UK. It will be permanently frozen at the date you retire or when you arrived in that country, and it will never increase, no matter how rich or poor you are, or how much you’ve paid in National Insurance contributions.
However, if you move to an EU country, the US, or one of a seemingly random list of other countries including Israel and the Philippines, your state pension will increase in line with inflation exactly as if you had stayed in the UK.
The International Consortium of British Pensioners has been working for many years to persuade the UK government to remove this unfair inequity, which affects over 550, 000 pensioners. Their new website, pensionjustice.org, describes the unfairness of the present policy and the severe hardships it creates for some who have been heroes in defending the values for which the UK stands.
How The UK Government Frozen Pensions Policy Hits One Centenarian
When you look at some of the people affected by this unfair policy, your heart bleeds. An extreme case of this ‘abuse’ was documented in Australia where a 100-year-old woman has a UK state pension frozen at just £6 a week.
Is there an expat pensioner who is getting a worse deal than 100-year-old Annie Carr? Mrs Carr, who was born in Sunderland and emigrated to Australia in 1970 to join her only daughter, receives a UK basic state pension that is frozen at just £6.12 a week. Yet if she had stayed in the UK, or emigrated to a country such as Spain or the US, she would be getting up to £107.45 a week. Instead, she is out of pocket by more than £5,000 a year.
That treatment is clearly abusive. The UK Government may insist that it is merely applying the legal arrangements that have been set in place. However that is hardly an acceptable excuse for such treatment. There are undoubtedly many other cases that are similar to that of Mrs. Carr.
UK Expat Centenarians At Least Deserve The Royal Treatment
After exhausting the legal process, the International Consortium of British Pensioners has now decided to appeal directly to the Queen in her diamond jubilee year. Mrs. Carr may well have received a telegram from the Queen on attaining her 100th birthday. How much more appropriate it would have been to right the wrong that has been perpetrated on her and on so many others for so many years.