PAYMENT PROMISE FOR EXPAT OAPS
UK government promises pensioners will continue to receive 'uprated' pension after Britain leaves the EU next year
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