In my county, the United Kingdom, it is currently at about 67, although we have no way of knowing what these fuckers will do later to our retirement ages. I have been paying "NVC contributions" also known as "Class 3 national insurance contributions" every year since moving abroad. I will continue to do this, until I go mad, reach old age or win the lottery, in those situations, I will not care anymore and neither will you. To get a full state pension, you need to pay into it for over 30 years. Don't get too excited, as you won't be rich or even semi well off, you will get just 107.45 pounds a week, if you are a man or women and married. If you are not British, then you may find this story very boring, so I encourage you to look at Best Posts. However, the world of British bureaucracy may interest anyone who is not British.
I have been paying into the United Kingdom state pension, every year and send them a payment, by post once a year. You would think this would be easy, not so. We have moved countries and on each move, I had to inform them of my new address, every year I have to call them, because they have not put in my new address, into the giant head and post the payment request letter off to my last old address. The yearly payment goes up each year, so they must have your correct address. You cannot simply call them and say, here is my NI number (National Insurance) can you tell me what address you have in your system? That would be far too easy and no fun. No my friend, you must call them, read them your address and then they confirm it to you as the one they have on their system or they will tell you that the one they have on their system, is not the one the one you have just told them. They cannot read your address to you as you may be a spy or international criminal. This is because they are paranoid and there is nothing you can do about it.
The Data Protection Act (DPA) and political correctness, are the news powers, that rule the United Kingdom. If you are British and want to pay Class 3 national insurance contributions, then you will need to tell them your new address, so they can write to you each year, to tell you how much to pay them, good luck. Unfortunately, trying to contact the giant head, that is disconnected from it's main body, is about as easy as standing on your own head, while drinking boiled chili juice, while singing god save the queen. I wanted to ask them how many years I had left to pay into the state pension to qualify for the full state pension? This was simply too complicated and the giant head began to cry and ran away. Forms are the only solution. The British, love forms as much as the Russians do.
The United Kingdom's official government organisations, are so paranoid about data protection, equality and litigation, that they are shaking in their boots whenever they are asked any private information, by one of their actual birth citizens and this is even worse for them, if you live abroad. You have to call "The centre for non residence" also known as "HMRC International Caseworker" to get pension information. I telephoned them from Russia and wish I had not.
The first stage, is to speak to them and to get out of Russia. Dial 8 0144 then the full number and you will speak to a man or women who has a heavy Newcastle accent, (as that's where their mother ship is kept, on the banks of the murky river Tyne). You say "hello I am calling from Russia and I pay NVC's class 3 contributions and I want to know who many years I left to pay into my state pension please" Aunty Newcastle will reply, as they are mostly women that answer the telephone "sorry we can't tell you with that, you need to call the future pension forecasting service team, we only collect pension payments", you then ask with a trembling voice, do you have the number? She will reply "its on our website or I can give it to you" you then thank them, grateful for this currency of information and with an excited hand, you write the number down on a bit of dirty paper, while your baby screams in the background. Feeling already stressed, you dial the number, again, first dialing 8 0144. Again, another woman, who sounds like your Newcastle grandmother, answers the phone, she says "Pension service, can I take your NI number". You give it to them, they then ask you for your: full name, address, date of birth, mothers maiden name and where you worked before leaving the UK, although they asked me where I worked in 1998? When I could not remember where I worked in 1998, that was 14 years ago, I was told I cannot have this information and they hung up the phone. The ironic thing is, their system should have all of this information, as everyone has their own unique national insurance number. I was not asking for the crown jewels, for a million pounds or for sexual intercourse with a donkey. All I wanted to know, was how many years do I have left to pay?
Having failed to get information by phone, I wrote by email, to a contact address that I found, on a government website and yes, you guessed it.... "the centre for non residence" also known as "HMRC International Caseworker", to complain, asking why I could not get this simple information over the phone and I only wanted to know how many years I had left to pay. I had an email reply. It read:
"Dear Mr Moscow, Thank you for contacting HMRC International Caseworker. I regret I cannot respond to your enquiry by email. Internet e-mail is not secure. We have a duty of care to protect our customers and we will not reply where we feel that your confidentiality may be breached. If you are requiring information on how many qualifying tax years you have towards your UK National Insurance basic retirement Pension, all you need do is complete form BR19 and the future Pension Centre will write out to you and advise you. I have attached form BR19 for you to complete and return to the relevant office. If you have any further queries for HMRC International Caseworker, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our office is open Monday - Friday, 7.30am until 5.00pm".
So I am now known, as "Mr Moscow", nice, I only hope, my individual record against my national insurance number, does not have me recorded as "Mr Moscow". By the way, the email did not have the BR19 from attached.
Giving up any attempts by email or by phone, to get this information, I went to the website of the "Future fucking, Pensions forecasting, I won't give you this information team" and opened their online form, for a pension forecast. I don't need a fucking forecast, I just want know how many fucking years I have left to pay, so I can know if I need to rob a fucking bank or make my fortune. A vice like grip began to squeeze my head and I almost began to cry. This online form is imaginatively entitled "BR19" like every British form is. It's nine pages long and you have to fill it in, print it out and post off to the United Kingdom, to know who many years left to pay, to know how poor you will be, when you eventually reach 67. The answer should simply consist of two or more numbers ranging from 1 to 30 plus years but this is far too complicated for British bureaucratic, organisations to cope with. Russia is not alone in being a total bureaucratic pain in the ass. If you are a "trailing spouse" and not working, (although looking after kids is very hard work and unpaid) the form, simply asks you to tick "Not working". If you have lived abroad, in more than one country and have not returned to live in the United Kingdom, the form does not have any section that will apply to you, so fill it in and pray. Note, these departments do not employ people with actual brains. They hire people from the netherworld of insanity who have Newcastle accents and who don't give a shit.
The solution, is to avoid contacting the giant head for any information that may send them into a mental meltdown of paranoia. Simply fill in a form online, load up your printer with lots of paper and post it off. Alternatively, you can make huge amounts of money or invest in properties or win the lottery, then the giant head will become irrelevant and you will not require multiple packs of Aspirin tablets or be known as "Mr. Moscow" as I am.