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Recortes de Prensa

Help on the way for expat pensioners

The Le@der, 17 | 09 | 2009 - Noticia

A British minister visited Madrid last week to announce a package of help for the estimated 300,000 British pensioners living in Spain

Many elderly expats have suffered recently because of the falling value of sterling, the property crash and their failure to qualify for state benefits and Charities, expatriate groups are reporting that thousands are struggling to cope the rising cost of living, the Times reports.

In an attempt to address the problem, Chris Bryant, the Consular Minister, will announce that the number of care workers for British pensioners in Spain will rise to 100 and that a new partnership with Age Concern will help expatriates. With many of the retired people on the Costas still dependent on UK benefits but not entitled to the same level of care as they would be if they lived in Britain this help will be more than welcome.

Some benefits, such as winter fuel allowance, are not paid in Spain and, as expatriate EU citizens, they are entitled only to primary healthcare as although the Spanish health service has a very good international reputation, aftercare is largely the responsibility of the extended family.

Taking out private health insurance can prove very expensive or impossible for those struggling on state pensions and charities are reporting that those without family depend on friends or are living off charity food hampers while others have to face the prospect of a return to Britain.

Despite the charities’ concerns, the UK Department for Work and Pensions said that 90,000 more people claimed British pensions last year in Spain but The Times reports that some charities estimate that there are now thousands struggling to cope in Spain out of a total of an estimated 300,000 British pensions currently living here.

Minister Chris Bryant said, “The Consular team here do a great job helping in the areas they can – but their partnership with other UK government departments and this new partnership with Age Concern means that more personal help will be available, as well as more practical information for older British nationals abroad.

The increase in the number of caseworkers in particular will give support to the most vulnerable people including those suffering dementia, disability, social isolation, or with complex care needs. I would like to particularly thank the current group of volunteers, who sacrifice significant amounts of time and effort to care for vulnerable older people.”

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