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UK frozen state pension – it means I can’t afford a doctor

UK frozen state pension – it means I can’t afford a doctor

An expatriate Briton residing in Thailand, whose UK state pension remains “frozen,” revealed that he has ceased visiting a doctor for his health issues in order to save money.

Anthony Peters, 79, previously operated a family business in West Sussex before retiring and relocating to Thailand with his wife May in 2019. They settled in the central province of Lopburi, known for its ancient Buddhist temples and resident monkeys.

Upon reaching the age of 70 and beginning to claim his state pension, it was fixed at £614 monthly. Combined with his private pension, the couple’s income stands at just under £1,000 per month. Initially, this sufficed for a comfortable lifestyle in Thailand, where daily expenses are generally lower compared to the UK. However, Peters now finds himself grappling with diminishing spending power due to inflation and rising living costs, necessitating sacrifices to make ends meet.

“I’ve had to compromise on what I would like to do, and I just make sure that all our bills are paid,” he explained. “Day-to-day, we live quite a modest lifestyle.”

Without medical insurance, seeking medical attention and obtaining prescription medications for his high blood pressure, liver, and kidney issues would cost approximately £200 per visit. Peters revealed that he had been regularly attending a government hospital until about a year ago when he could no longer afford the appointments. Consequently, he resorts to self-medicating and cautious lifestyle choices to manage his health conditions.

“These are the sorts of choices you have to make due to this measly policy, I mean, it’s undemocratic,” Peters lamented, referring to the frozen UK state pension for expatriates.

He is among the roughly half a million British citizens living abroad who do not benefit from annual state pension increases, unlike those residing in the UK, who receive adjustments based on the triple lock mechanism.

Campaigners have long advocated for a policy change, denouncing the current system as unjust.

Peters believes that the additional funds he’s missing out on could significantly enhance his quality of life. “It would give me a fair amount of extra spending money, and I would be able to afford to do more things like going out or going to the occasional concert,” he remarked, expressing regret for not fulfilling promises made to his wife years ago.

Comparing his situation to expatriates from other European countries, Peters feels disadvantaged, as pensioners from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands receive annual pension increases.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring pensioners receive entitled financial support. However, they defended the policy of not uprating UK state pensions for recipients living overseas, citing its more than 70-year history and legal obligations.


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