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Facultad de Derecho
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Recortes de Prensa

Final warning over care benefits

Round Town News, 01 | 07 | 2010 - Noticia

THE BRITISH Government faces the prospect of embarrassing court action unless it agrees to pay care benefits to expats living in EU member states. The European Commission has sent a formal request to the United Kingdom demanding disability living allowance, attendance allowance and carer’s allowance is paid to Britons, many of them pensioners

Under EU law, the care benefits are regarded as ‘sickness cash benefits’, which expats are entitled to be paid.

And the Government has two months to respond to the commission. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, the UK could find itself in the dock of the EU’s Court of Justice.

The court ruled in October 2007 the allowances were sickness cash benefits and therefore ‘exportable’ under Europe’s rules regarding the co-ordination of social security between member states.

However, the UK authorities have continued to ignore calls to amend its rules and sparked controversy in Brussels and with a series of expat groups campaigning for justice.


A spokesman for the European commission explained: “The right to live and work in any other European country is a fundamental right of the EU. As part of this the EU guarantees people the right to social security coverage if they move elsewhere in Europe.”

He said disability allowance, attendance allowance and carer’s allowance were benefits designed to protect people in need of personal care and the people who looked after them – and under EU law UK citizens were entitled to receive them when resident in another member state.

However, “in some cases and contrary to the principle of free movement”, the Government applied conditions contravening European law.

Amongst other requirements, the Government could impose a ‘past presence test’, which required a claimant having spent 26 of the previous 52 weeks in the UK.

The spokesman added: “this effectively contravenes the provisions of the EU system for co-ordinating social security benefits and infringes the rights of citizens living in another EU country.”

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