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Hello, I'm a 60 year old male with a 57 year old spouse who has health issues (no claims at present).I took my Pension early at 55 and moved to Spain, we survived modestly on a drawdown of 18;000 euros per annum from my drawdown. However on 27/02/2021 we returned to the UK for good ( family) The cost of living over here is so much higher and we've had to take more and more from the Pension (my spouse has no income or benefits) at the present rate my pot will disappear before I receive my state pension, I have gone back to work part time only,as I have to care for my wife. Is it right that I have to drain all my pension to survive, or can I get state help. When I've used the UC entitlement tools, I put in the current level of the pension I'm  using to survive, it always comes back as zero entitlement (as it would) but it's not sustainable and it's making my old age look bleak, help needed Stav

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  • calcotti
    calcotti Posts: 15,696 Forumite
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    edited 27 February 2023 at 8:51PM
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    You are under no obligation to draw down on any pension funds and all money in authorised pension pots is ignored when assessed for means tested benefits. If you are drawing any pension that pension income will be deducted in full from the means tested benefits. In general if you are on a low income it is foolish to draw down pension income prior to reaching pension age.

    If your wife has health conditions that limit her ability to carry out specified activities she can apply for PIP now that she has been in Great Britain for two years (assuming she is a UK citizens and below pension age).
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/

    Use a benefits calculated such as https://www.turn2us.org.uk/ to see if you are entitled to any Universal Credit. You both have to claim and your payment, if any, will be based on your joint finances.

    If she gets a Fit Note from her GP and declares a health condition that affects her ability to work she will, after 29 days, be referred for a Work Capability Assessment. If found to have Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity that would increase your UC entitlement. 

    If she is awarded PIP including Daily Living you will be entitled to be treated as a carer which would also increase the UC entitlement.

    If you have your pension under a drawdown arrangement and you can halt it workout how much UC you would get if you cancel the withdrawal.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • MEM62
    MEM62 Posts: 4,832 Forumite
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    There is always the risk with early retirement that your pension pot will not last.  It needs to be a lot bigger to survive the extra years - particularly as you are spanning a larger gap between giving up a salary and the state pension kicking in.  It is a big factor in retirement planning. 

    As has already been pointed out, you do not need to exhaust your pot before you can claim some financial support.  However, as a longer term thought you might want to consider that the state pension, if your only income, will be less than you have been drawing from your pension.           
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