PAY­MENT PROM­ISE FOR EX­PAT OAPS

UK gov­ern­ment prom­ises pen­sion­ers will con­tinue to re­ceive 'up­rated' pen­sion af­ter Bri­tain leaves the EU next year

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Troughton

BRI­TISH ex­pats res­i­dent in Europe have been guaranteed fu­ture in­creased pen­sion pay­ments and con­tin­ued health­care by the gov­ern­ment af­ter its in­flu­en­tial ad­vice web­site was up­dated.

Peo­ple liv­ing in post-Brexit Europe will con­tinue to be paid an ‘up­rated’ pen­sion – the UK is sched­uled to leave on March 29, next year with a tran­si­tion pe­riod un­til De­cem­ber 31, 2020.

This means pen­sion­ers will see a rise each time state pen­sion is in­creased, un­like for ex­pats out­side the Euro­pean Union, and re­cip­ro­cal health­care.

And as the chat­ter grows about a ‘no-deal’ exit; gov­ern­ment min­is­ters have also made a com­mit­ment to up­hold­ing the rights of EU cit­i­zens liv­ing in the UK, part of last year’s with­drawal agree­ment re­gard­ing cit­i­zens’ rights with Brus­sels, in­clud­ing a re­cip­ro­cal deal for Brits abroad.

The in­for­ma­tion for UK ex­pats can be found on the 'up­dated' web­site www.gov.uk in the sec­tion ‘What this could mean for you?’

While the lan­guage is some­times akin to tele­vi­sion com­edy ‘Yes Min­is­ter’ and ‘Yes, Prime Min­is­ter’, it has been wel­come by ex­pat groups in­clud­ing ECREU and sets out ‘in writ­ing’ the ap­pro­pri­ate in­for­ma­tion.

The rel­e­vant chap­ters are headed ‘Re­ceiv­ing an up­rated UK state pen­sion in the EU af­ter March 29, 2019’ and ‘Ac­cess to health­care in the EU af­ter March 29, 2019.’

The first part reads: “Dur­ing the Im­ple­men­ta­tion Pe­riod (March 30 2019 to De­cem­ber 31, 2020) the cur­rent frame­work of EU rules and reg­u­la­tions will ap­ply, and this in­cludes so­cial se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion rules, and the right to an up­rated state pen­sion. Res­i­dent “We have now con­firmed who will be in the scope of the With­drawal Agree­ment for so­cial se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion pur­poses. This deal means that UK na­tion­als res­i­dent in a MS (mem­ber state) by the end of the im­plan­ta­tion pe­riod will main­tain the right to ex­port an up­rated UK state pen­sion and re­ceive as­so­ci­ated health­care cover in the EU, for as long as they re­main in scope.”

And the sec­ond part says: “Dur­ing the Im­ple­men­ta­tion Pe­riod (March 30, 2019 to De­cem­ber 31, 2020), the cur­rent frame­work of EU rules and reg­u­la­tions will ap­ply.

As long as you re­main in scope of the With­drawal Agree­ment, your equal treat­ment rights to health­care in your Mem­ber State of res­i­dence will be pro­tected af­ter the end of the im­ple­men­ta­tion pe­riod (on the same ba­sis as a com­pa­ra­ble na­tional of your Mem­ber State of res­i­dence).

The in­for­ma­tion was for­warded to Mar­garet Hales MBE, the ECREU spokesman for Spain, who said it came about through ‘an idea hatched’ on the Costa Blanca.

She ex­plained that pen­sion­ers an­nu­ally re­ceived a no­ti­fi­ca­tion from the De­part­ment of Works and Pen­sion that pay­ments were to be in­creased al- though not by how much the state pen­sion would rise.

“I merely asked why the DWP didn’t in its next pub­li­ca­tion do some­thing to re­as­sure Bri­tish pen­sion­ers,” said Mar­garet.

“We are told re­peat­edly by Theresa May there is a com­mit­ment that they will con­tinue to up­lift and give health­care; two of the very big wor­ries here in Spain.”

She said the web­site in­for­ma­tion was “in Sir Humphrey speak’, adding: “It uses the word ‘scope’ re­peat­edly for ex­am­ple. I think it is a com­mit­ment and I am pleased it has been put in writ­ing.”

In­ter­na­tional lawyer Jane Gold­ing, who is Chair of the Bri­tish in Europe as­so­ci­a­tion, told Costa Blanca News two weeks ago that ‘there is al­ready a deal on cit­i­zens’ rights which would con­firm many of our rights but only in the coun­tries where we live now’.

She noted that ‘in the event of a no deal we would push both sides hard’ to hon­our it.

“If the two sides do not hon­our it, Bri­tish peo­ple in Europe would lose their cur­rent le­gal sta­tus,” ex­plained Mrs Gold­ing.

“Ar­range­ments would have to be put in place whereby third coun­try na­tional sta­tus would ap­ply to us to give us a le­gal sta­tus - but to be clear; this is in no way equiv­a­lent to be­ing EU cit­i­zens, as the rights are in­fe­rior.

“That is why it is so im­por­tant for the UK and EU to ring fence and hon­our the agree­ment reached so far on cit­i­zens’ rights.”

Mar­garet Hales MBE with Harry Schindler

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