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Old 07-24-2012, 01:04 PM   #41
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In our case we have Tri-citizenship EU, USA and Canadian. By far the best benefit is having access to a decent single payer style medical system. So when this one (US) finally breaks for good, we still have something to fall back on even if the winters suck. (BTW When both of us cannot work is when it will break for us as both of us are uninsurable without working, but wait we are basically healthy, though still uninsurable, go figure.) I personally have experience all 3 systems, my wife with 2, with hospital stays of one type or another and general care, (Rough School Years what can I say) The Canadian System wins hands down, and it works, at least IMHO and experience. Oh! and it has absolutely Zero to do with quality of care.

What has this got to do with fire and money? How much does health care cost in retirement, when you have pre-existing conditions?
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:17 PM   #42
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That might be the case. You must report any pensions due to non-SS wages to the SSA so they can see if WEP is required. However, your friends will be entitled to full SS even with pensions derived from non-SS wages if they have at least 30 years of SS payments. Of course US citizens and US residents must enter foreign pensions on their 1040.
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Thanks for this info. I just read the SS pub on WEP and learned something new. A bit of a bummer for folks that have a small foreign pension and now a reduced SS as well.
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Thanks. I found a chart (here) and calculator (here) at the SSA website. This is one of those few moments when not having a company pension and having a small SS payment isn't all that bad.
Thanks for the info guys. I guess once I start drawing SS I will lose some of it to WEP as I am currently drawing a small UK private pension now (£220/month) and will start drawing a larger one (~£500/month) at 65.

C'est la vie
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:27 PM   #43
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Some comments:

If you are already a confirmed dual citizen,...great. If you're not, be aware that in most advanced countries (particularly advanced EU countries), obtaining citizenship, or simply moving to the country, is becoming very difficult. In the UK, for example, even the non-UK spouse and children of UK Citizens are now 'means tested' (projected income levels) before they're allowed to come and live in the UK. This is causing a great upset for some not already in the UK. A non-UK spouse, but resident in the UK, does not automatically gain UK Citizenship by marriage, and is the same in many other EU countries. Immigration issues are not limited to the US.

As you've discovered, foreign social security payments (as well as foreign pensions) are subject to WEP. Since Social Security is my only US source income (other than tiny interest payments), I've been WEPed up one side and down the other.

You can receive social security payments from 2 different countries at the same time. In fact, if you qualify for US SS, but have insufficient contributions to a second country to qualify for their version of SS, you may still be able to receive payments from both. This may come about as a result of a 'Totalisation agreement' with the second country. Google is your friend! It's not limited to the US, as other countries can also have totalisation agreements among themselves (particularly EU countries).

A spouse of an SS recipient (US, or other country version, and resident in the US or another country) may also be entitled to reduced SS payments (from the US or the other country) even if they never worked or lived in whichever particular country, and is based on the payments due the husband/wife.

Totalisation agreements and Social Security rules vary greatly from country to country. If you believe any of the above may apply to you, do some research! It may well be worth it. It certainly was for my spouse. And a cautionary word: from related stories, a local SS office in a small town in the US (or even a larger one) may not know all the aspects of this. If you are a citizen of a foreign country, or have worked abroad at some point in your career, here’s somewhere to start:

International Programs - U.S. International Social Security Agreements
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:00 PM   #44
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I am British and the whole world would have to be falling over on this side of the pond for me to even remotely consider the UK as a retirement spot. I would rather go to China. Perhaps when the Hell Freezes over and the Devil learns to Ice skate. . All I miss is the Beer!
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:54 PM   #45
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I am British and the whole world would have to be falling over on this side of the pond for me to even remotely consider the UK as a retirement spot. I would rather go to China. Perhaps when the Hell Freezes over and the Devil learns to Ice skate. . All I miss is the Beer!
Tsingtao is ok on a warm day.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:58 PM   #46
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A spouse of an SS recipient (US, or other country version, and resident in the US or another country) may also be entitled to reduced SS payments (from the US or the other country) even if they never worked or lived in whichever particular country, and is based on the payments due the husband/wife.
Good point. Many people who have spouses who receive a SS pension but are not citizens of their spouse's country and haven't contributed to that SS system are still entitled to survivor's benefits on the death of the spouse.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:12 AM   #47
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I am British and the whole world would have to be falling over on this side of the pond for me to even remotely consider the UK as a retirement spot. I would rather go to China. Perhaps when the Hell Freezes over and the Devil learns to Ice skate. . All I miss is the Beer!
+1 (Apart from the warm beer, that is).

Having been born in England, and having lived there until my teens, I presume I have dual UK/Canadian citizenship..........however, I travel on a Canadian passport, (I am a Canadian), and cannot envision a situation wherein I'd attempt/want to claim UK citizenship.

(I also, in my late teens-early twenties, was eligible to apply for Australian citizenship......but that boat has sailed.....not that I wish I had boarded it.)
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:19 AM   #48
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+1 (Apart from the warm beer, that is).

Having been born in England, and having lived there until my teens, I presume I have dual UK/Canadian citizenship..........however, I travel on a Canadian passport, (I am a Canadian), and cannot envision a situation wherein I'd attempt/want to claim UK citizenship.

(I also, in my late teens-early twenties, was eligible to apply for Australian citizenship......but that boat has sailed.....not that I wish I had boarded it.)
It's interesting how much where you retire is decided by practicalities and how much by sentiment. I too was born in the UK and acquired US citizenship after having a GC for 10 years. I would never describe myself as American, I took US citizenship so I could vote and to protect my SS and medicare benefits as much as possible. I'll retire to the UK as it is less expensive for me to live there than in the US, my family is there, and I miss the English zeitgeist. Beer isn't a factor as I can get great beer in the US.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:38 AM   #49
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It's interesting how much where you retire is decided by practicalities and how much by sentiment.
For me it is/was a combination of both, and with the weighting of both tilted in favor of Canada..........I came to Canada from Australia in 1965, stayed a year, traveled around the US & Mexico and returned to Australia, where I spent 3 weeks before deciding that Canada was where I 'fit'.

Years ago I had a book of the Herman cartoons by the late Jim Unger, (a Canadian also born in London).......in the intro I recall him saying that, as a kid in England, he felt like a displaced Martian, (or words to that effect), and it summed up my own youthful emotions.......although 'English' by birth and ancestry, I cannot recall a time when I felt like one of 'them', and I couldn't imagine ever going back there.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:32 AM   #50
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Sorry, I didn't mean to stir up old deep-seated emotions.
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I am British and the whole world would have to be falling over on this side of the pond for me to even remotely consider the UK as a retirement spot. I would rather go to China. Perhaps when the Hell Freezes over and the Devil learns to Ice skate. . All I miss is the Beer!
We're very sorry to hear of your reluctance to return to the UK. You will be missed. The great British art of whinging has undoubtedly suffered greatly since your departure. (but the art of taking the pi** still flourishes)

There have been several comments in the thread related to immigating back to an old country with a US (or other) spouse, as well as various comments on cross boarder SS. Some need to be reviewed. For example, this previous post:

Originally Posted by Alan:
"DW is not eligible to her own UK SS because she didn't work and pay into the UK system long enough. She left work 4 years after graduation when we had our first child, and by the time the younger of the 2 was 4 yrs old we had moved to the US. She will be getting US SS because she paid into it for 18 years."

If DW paid UK National Insurance contributions during those 4 years of employment in the UK, and due to her 18 years of SS contributions in the US, she IS entitled to a reduced UK State pension thanks to the Totalisation agreement between the US and the UK, even though she would normally not qualify under UK rules. But, if she were to go this route, her US SS would be WEPed. (It's time to do the math.) The same applies to the other 24 countries the US has an agreement with, as well as agreements that may exist between other countries.

I've yet to find another country that applies 'WEP' as the US does (and I may be wrong about this). I do know for a fact that State pensions from the EU are not reduced due to entitlements from US SS, or another country.

It will not be enough to make the monthly payments on a new Rolls Royce, but it may pay the CableTV bill. This applies equally to those who may be waiting for the Devil to master ice skating. Intentions are not a factor, just the employment/contribution history.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:00 PM   #51
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S
There have been several comments in the thread related to immigating back to an old country with a US (or other) spouse, as well as various comments on cross boarder SS. Some need to be reviewed. For example, this previous post:

Originally Posted by Alan:
"DW is not eligible to her own UK SS because she didn't work and pay into the UK system long enough. She left work 4 years after graduation when we had our first child, and by the time the younger of the 2 was 4 yrs old we had moved to the US. She will be getting US SS because she paid into it for 18 years."

If DW paid UK National Insurance contributions during those 4 years of employment in the UK, and due to her 18 years of SS contributions in the US, she IS entitled to a reduced UK State pension thanks to the Totalisation agreement between the US and the UK, even though she would normally not qualify under UK rules. But, if she were to go this route, her US SS would be WEPed. (It's time to do the math.) The same applies to the other 24 countries the US has an agreement with, as well as agreements that may exist between other countries.
Also, the married couple you quote will get a married benefit from the UK and if the husband dies first the surviving wife will get a survivor's benefit on the basis of her husband's NI contributions irrespective of her contributions record.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:39 PM   #52
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Thanks for the UK/US SS clarifications Nun and OAP.

I'll look into it some more nearer the time.
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