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The United Kingdom has left the EU – how are pensions affected?

Since February 2020, the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the EU. The United Kingdom and the EU have negotiated agreements that may still entitle you to pensions and other benefits in the future.

The United Kingdom left the EU on 1 February 2020. A transition period ran until December 2020. During the transition period, social security coordination and the rules regarding pensions functioned as before.

EU and the United Kingdom have agreed on a Withdrawal Agreement, and later also a Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which regulates, among other things, the social security coordination. With the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom, the right to pensions and other benefits is secured even after the withdrawal.

From January 2021, the Withdrawal Agreement entitles you who currently live in Sweden but have previously lived and/or worked in the United Kingdom to receive a Swedish pension that considers work and residence periods in Sweden, the United Kingdom or other EU member states. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement applies in situations where a person has started a cross-border situation, earned periods of insurance or rights, between the EU and the United Kingdom after the agreement entered into force on 1 January 2021. More about your right to a pension from the United Kingdom can be found at www.gov.uk.

What does the Withdrawal Agreement mean?

Swedish citizens who, at the end of the transition period, on 31 December 2020, lived and/or worked in the United Kingdom and who continue to do so without interruption, will be subject to the same rules that applied before the United Kingdom left the EU. It also applies to United Kingdom citizens who live and/or work in Sweden on 31 December 2020 and continue to do so without interruption.

What does the Trade and Cooperation Agreement entail?

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement regulate situations that occur from 1 January 2021. As the Withdrawal Agreement is also still in force, in certain situations, this means that there will be different regulations governing social security when a Swedish citizen moves between Sweden and the United Kingdom for residence, work or studies. Which agreement that constitutes the applicable legislation depends on the time when the movement between the countries has taken place. Please contact the Swedish Pensions Agency to find out what applies to you.

Are payments from the Swedish Pensions Agency affected by Brexit?

Payments from the Swedish Pensions Agency at the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020, are not affected due to Brexit, but may, just like before, be affected for other reasons. Your income-based pension, the pension you earned through work, will not be affected by Brexit. 

Temporary regulations that give the right to the payment of a Guarantee pension to people living in another EEA country, Switzerland and the United Kingdom expire in September 2022. If you are entitled to a Guarantee pension in September 2022, you will continue to receive payments up to and including December 2022

If you reside outside Sweden and apply for a Guarantee pension, no new Guarantee pensions will be approved from 1 October 2022.This does not apply to those born in 1937 or earlier. Nor does it affect Guarantee pension for widow’s pensions.

Is my occupational pension affected by Brexit?

Payment of your occupational pension is not affected by Brexit.

Important to apply for residence status

Even after the transition period, citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members will be able to retain the right to live, work and study in Sweden – this applies to those who have a right of residence in Sweden before 31 December 2020.

According to the Withdrawal Agreement, each member state must have a procedure that makes this possible. In order for you as a citizen of the United Kingdom to legally stay in Sweden after the transition period, you must have applied for residence status or permanent residence status before the end of the application period on 30 September 2021. You can apply for residence status on the website of the Swedish Migration Agency

If you have not applied for, or were not granted residence status, this may affect your right to residence-based benefits. This applies, for example, to guarantee pension, housing supplement and financial support for the elderly.

Sweden's work with Brexit

The Government and the Government Office were responsible for Sweden's part in the Brexit process and negotiated the agreements that regulate the new relationship between the EU and United Kingdom.

More about Sweden's work with the United Kingdom exit from the EU at regeringen.se