Grandmother Anne Puckridge says she has been forced to cut short her Canadian retirement and move back to live in Stroud because her pension is frozen.
The 90-year-old former college lecturer in Gloucestershire has been caught out by an anomaly which means her UK pension has not risen since she left the country 13 years ago.
Even though Mrs Puckridge, who lived 15 years in Painswick, and then Valley View Road in Stroud for a further 20, paid full National Insurance contributions, she is not, under current rules, entitled to the full current state pension of £110.15 a week.
Instead, Mrs Puckridge, who emigrated to Calgary to see more of her daughter Diane and grandchildren in 2001, gets just £75.50 – the pension rate when she left the UK.
She is among four per cent of UK pensioners – 560,000 people altogether – whose pensions were frozen when they left to live in countries without bilateral agreements with the UK.
If she had gone to live, for example, in France, Spain or the US she would have received annual pension increases.
But in most Commonwealth countries, including Canada, there are no reciprocal agreements with Britain, so the monies are not increased.
“I value my independence, but I can’t go on living on the breadline, and I don’t want to inflict this on my family,” said Mrs Puckridge, who said she is suffering ever-increasing poverty.
“This is complete and utter discrimination,” she added.
“I have paid all my contributions and now I have no option but to return to get something back.”
Mrs Puckridge has written countless letters of complaint to MPs on the issue over the years.
Now her case is being held up as an example of the anomaly in the rules by the International Consortium of British Pensioners, which is calling for the legislation to change.
Its chairman Sheila Telford said: “We feel it is totally unfair that those who have contributed to the country for many years through National Insurance contributions, taxes and in many cases, such as Anne’s, military service, are discriminated against by the Government for choosing the ‘wrong’ country to retire to.”
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “The UK state pension is payable worldwide, but is only uprated abroad where we have a legal requirement or a reciprocal agreement.
“This has always been the case and people who are considering emigrating abroad should always consider the impact the move could have on their future state pension entitlement.”
There were no plans to change the existing longstanding policy of successive governments on the uprating of pensions overseas, he said.
In fact, he added, the policy was upheld in a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010, which found in favour of the UK government.