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Pension help for refugees

by: SJ reporter - Last updated: 2008-07-29

Parliament

Parliament

A number of pensioners who fled to the UK from Nazi Germany as children before the outbreak of World War II are to get an increase in their pensions to recognise the contributions they paid into the state system.

During the 1990s, the German state pension system was opened up to these people enabling those without German insurance contributions to buy in to the German system.

But these pensioners had already paid in to the UK system pre-1948 which then reduced entitlement to their German pension due to pan-European rules on how periods of insurance in different countries affect each other.

But now the British government is set to give help. Minister for Pensions Reform Mike O’Brien said: "It’s right we help this group of people. Many of them lost members of their family in the holocaust. They survived because they were sent to Britain as children. They stayed and worked here. A legal restriction has prevented them claiming the money due to them from the German Government. After detailed negotiations over several months with the German Government we have now found a way forward."

He added: "This is a small but important step for those people involved. 150 of them are known to us and we expect others to come forward now. Removing some of their UK National Insurance contributions will not affect their entitlement in this country but will enable higher payments to be made under German law."

The House of Lords debated the special amendment earlier this month and agreed it should be part of the new Pensions Bill which should come into force in the autumn.