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daveinoz

Going Home and National Insurance

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I've just joined the forum, so hi everyone. I'm sure my circumstances aren't unique, although I've never heard the same story.

I've been in Australia for 47 years. I was unwillingly "emigrated" by my parents when I was 11. There was no round-table discussion and no choice, and I didn't want to come. I understand why my parents chose to emigrate, but it's only as I've become older that I realise that I was traumatised by this (and probably need therapy :) ). Despite growing up here, living as an Australian and becoming naturalised, I've never felt a sense of belonging in Australia. I've always been an Englishman living in Australia. I've just come back from another trip home and am in post-holiday blues mode. Without sounding melodramatic, the need to go home is like a physical tugging in my gut.

I've maintained my dual-citizenship, but I'm on disability. I know how hard it is to get approved (it took me 3 years here), and know the habitual residency rules. As I've never worked in the UK, I don't have a National Insurance number. Is it worth my while to get one and to start making contributions? Will that make any difference to eligibility for benefits, or am I better off to squirrel cash away than pay into NI?

All help appreciated

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Hi Dave, and welcome to the forum.

The following sites might be of some help with your National Insurance queries:

www.gov.uk/national-insurance/what-national-insurance-is-for

www.gov.uk/voluntary-national-insurance-contributions

You are currently around 10 years off state retirement age, so you could build up some entitlement to a pension, and possibly make backdated voluntary contributions (although this is time limited as explained in the second link).

 In the meantime, if your disability prevents you from earning a living in the UK, the welfare benefit system may be something of a challenge to navigate. Your first hurdle, as you know, is the ‘habitual residence’ test followed by the challenge of which benefit you may be eligible for and how to claim it. Some benefits are managed by the Department for Work and Pensions, while other are claimed through the local authority or local health board. The criteria for eligibility is not always clear, and in some cases depends on where you live in the UK -  prescriptions are free in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but residents in England, unless exempt from charges, pay £8.60 per item.

On the plus side, organisations such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau are willing and able to help people through the minefield of our welfare system.

All the best with your plans Dave. The UK is going through a period of immense change just now, but personally I am still happy to live here and understand why you might want to return. T x

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I do wonder if this should be in the financial section. You could ask the mods to move it, or just repost it.

Just a note on prescriptions. Depending on the reasons of your disability, some conditions, ie cancer mean you get free prescriptions. Or you can buy a card which caps them at £100 per annum.

I assume you have super in Australia? Is it alot, because you may find yourself with no or little state pension from either country. Worth seeking advice on that.

Good luck.

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Thanks for the replies and the links guys, and sorry for not responding. I must fix my notifications!

Due to my disability, my super is in my bank, but it's not a fortune. However, a move is "doable", as is 12 months rent in advance. That should help towards the habitual residency requirements I would think.

Another question though. My partner and I have been together for 27 years, but we've not married. Will she be eligible to move as my spouse? I've been all over the relevant sites, but I'm getting a smidge confused.

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19 hours ago, daveinoz said:

Thanks for the replies and the links guys, and sorry for not responding. I must fix my notifications!

Due to my disability, my super is in my bank, but it's not a fortune. However, a move is "doable", as is 12 months rent in advance. That should help towards the habitual residency requirements I would think.

Another question though. My partner and I have been together for 27 years, but we've not married. Will she be eligible to move as my spouse? I've been all over the relevant sites, but I'm getting a smidge confused.

That's a bit technical if she doesn't have an EU passport. I don't think marriage would make a difference. Normally the spouse needs to earn over a certain amount. Not sure what happens when you are retired. Possibly you could repost the question in one of the migration forums rather than UK chat.

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Thanks for the feedback, but I can't see a more suitable spot for this query than here. :S

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