Helping You Build a Life Overseas

Claiming your pension in Bulgaria

The thought of retiring used to be one of excitement and relief; looking forward to relaxing and spending your hard earned money on enjoying life. However, these days that picture has been tainted for many by debt, rising costs of living and low pensions. So much so, that many people are continuing to work well past their retirement age simply so that they can afford their soaring day-to-day bills.
It is no wonder then that Bulgaria continues to attract UK nationals looking to retire abroad, when you consider that the average state pension from the UK will go three times further in Bulgaria. Not only is property there much cheaper - a 3-bedroom house in the UK can set you back around £250,000, the same thing in Bulgaria will cost as little as £50,000 - but also the cost of living is cheap too. Combine this with the beautiful scenery and fantastic weather, not to mention slower pace of life in general and it doesn’t take a genius to see why living in Bulgaria is the right option for so many people.

When it comes to taking your pension with you, it’s simple. Bulgaria has a reciprocal agreement with the UK which means you can simply get your pension from the UK paid into your new Bulgarian bank account. You will also still benefit from any increases the pensions are subject to.

If you have any private or work pensions then you can only pay into them for five years after you move to Bulgaria. You should contact the pension provider directly for advice on your pension when you move to Bulgaria. You will also need to contacts the OAPS (The Pension Advisory Service) and ask advice on your personal circumstances. Once you have moved to Bulgaria you can also choose to voluntarily continue making contributions to the UK National Insurance scheme; this will preserve your state pension if you have not yet retired.

Currently in Bulgaria there are two types of pension; the social and the minimum. The social pension is available to those aged 70 and over, and who have an annual income per family member which was below the national guaranteed minimum for the year leading up to retirement. The minimum pension is 115 per cent of the social pension and is paid to the individuals who have a low income and/or do not have a complete work history. The maximum amount a person can receive from the minimum pension is four times that of the social pension.

Before you leave to move to Bulgaria, you may want to look into getting a pension forecast so that you know what to expect when you reach pension age. You can request this forecast up to four months before you reach retirement age.

Start your hunt for a home in Bulgaria here…
If you’re searching for a Bulgarian property, a good place to start is the Bulgaria Buying Guide’s new property search facility. To start your search now visit