Britons claiming social in Ireland

Aside from the actual theme of this article, I am astonished there are so many British claining social welfare or similar in Ireland?? I know a lot of them are probably not expats or retirees, but rather have family in Ireland, and have been living there a long time.

But even so, I still find it a huge figure…

In that vein of thinking, I agree.

50 years is too long a time to support a system, to then have it fail the pensioner. There never seems to be the perfect answer.

One thing I have learned when moving country, whatever the annual living costs are when I move, they will rise over time. So instead of thinking I can manage on XXXXX a year, I need to see that as an absolute minimum, and either increase the money coming in as costs go up, or start cutting costs - but cutting costs has a limit too, before it starts reducing my quality of life. And increasing income is difficult when I want to work less, no more, as I age.

I hope you get to keep the payment, Roger

One of our difficulties - that is we expats - is that there are a number of MPs, who have a 'little Englander' mentality, and they take the view that as we 'left' the UK, we should look for protection in France. Frozen pensions are not too far away for some of them, just like expats in Australia and Canada. Trouble is the French only want to know if we have paid into their system. I paid tax and National Insurance in the UK for close to 50 years, and so under EU rules, I should be entitled to my pension and any other benefits available. It so happens that the Winter Fuel Payment is the only benefit I can claim! If I had stayed in the UK I would have totally free health care - being in France I have to pay for my mutuelle to cover one-third of those health costs, and slowly the French Government are turning the screw by adding little amounts here and there, so my minimum 3 monthly visit to the doctor, now costs me €2, like it or not, and certain medications have 50c added here and a €1 there, and it mounts up! So, I'm afraid, we expats must fight for what little we can protect for as long as we can.

Personally, I have an issue about exporting allowances and such, but I also agree that a person who has dedicated 40 odd years of their labour life to supporting a country, are entitled to receive their rightful dues on retirement, whether staying put or emigrating.

So I have mixed feelings about it all. Bottom line really is that an elderly person should be not only supported, but protected by whatever system they decide to live in (within reason).

Many in Ireland, France, UK (and elsewhere) fall through the nets and that's sad. Each power should actively seek out their aged value providers and protect them - but that's another debate.

In fact, it has influenced my feelings of loyalty to my country, they have failed the elderly so much in the past decade, I don't feel I want to contribute to a system that will shun me when I am duly aged.

By your comments, it sounds like an income cap would save a lot lot more than the mad temp test thing they did.

Elaine, there was a Judgment in the Court of Justice of the EU, which told the UK Government that some expats who had been declared ineligible by the UK - i.e. reaching 60 after they moved - were in fact eligible, because they are allowed to 'export' a benefit they qualified for in any country in the EU. I for example, qualified, aged 60 before I left the UK, whereas my neighbours, who moved to work in France initially, only qualified a couple of years ago, but only as a result of the Judgment. I think that many irish citizens who are in receipt of a UK pension or part-pension, on discovering they could now claim the £200, did so. The Irish WFP is more generous, but is very tightly means tested. Labour and the LibDems are both proposing an income cap - Labour at £42,000 which they reckon will save £100 million a year, and the LibDems at the 40% tax threshold, which is almost the same. I have no problem with a means tested benefit, because it applies to everyone. My wife, who happens to be Irish will no longer be able to claim WFP as long as she lives in France, but the moment she returns to Ireland, she will be free to claim it again! That makes no sense, and is against EU law anyway! The value of the WFP is an interesting one - when we arrived in 2002 the £200 would have purchased 841 litres of heating oil, this last November it only paid for 288 litres! Steve Webb, who is the LibDem Minister for Pensions responsible for the WFP, and who recently announced the LibDem income cap at their Conference, has admitted in writing, that the measure of the 'temperature test' in the Statutory Instrument before Parliament will save 'about £17 million a year'!

Heh - West Cark here : halfway between Ballydehob and Durrus

She should try a day in the North Cork village I lived near for 13 years :-)

Heh, get bogged down in Kinnegad !

A northsider jackeen I used to know said "Kinnegad" was used as an epitome of bog-ness :)

Jaysus, that could well be true :-) And God forbid, if they headed further afield

1.5 degrees obviously is a huge difference - personally I freeze below 17, so need a constant supply of 'husband stoking fire" in winter.

I am confused by your comment "discovered they could claim the WFP from the UK, without any means testing, and have gone on claiming" Do you mean gone on claiming after relocating to Ireland? Or remain claiming in the UK?

And If they are Irish citizens, then they are surely not included in the "British Citizen" figures of 11,222. And surely a British expat here would be an expat in Ireland too, no?

There was some discussion today in my french class, regarding the WFP, and many British expats feel it should be means tested. I think that is fair, as there are a lot of British expats in France who are just about surviving (or perhaps not) with an older meagre pension, that is worth much less now than it was 20 years ago. Those on good or multiple pensions could probably survive well without the 200 pound payment.

But that would be my view on any allowance/payment - anywhere

Elaine, it goes both ways! You may have seen some of the discussion concerning Winter Fuel Payments, and the urgent need for everyone to write to their MPs asking them to sign EDM 695. Well when examining the statistics for Winter Fuel Payments, with iain Duncan Smith complaining that the majority claims were coming from France and Spain, we found that claims from Ireland had jumped from 7,155 in 2011/2012 to 31,810 in 2013/2014 - an increase of 345%! What is more the number of claimants from Ireland now exceeds the number who live in France.

We think this dramatic increase comes about because many Irish citizens who spent some of their working life in the UK, and thereby earned a UK Pension, discovered they could claim the WFP from the UK, without any means testing, and have gone on claiming. Contrast that with claims from France which are predominantly expats who have moved to France.

To make matters worse for expats like me, living in France, when the Met Office produced their report for the DWP it showed that the average winter temperature for France was 4.9°C, whereas Ireland was 5.5°C. By ‘fiddling’ the figure for France pushing it up to 7.0°C, France was declared ‘hot’, and Ireland declared ‘cold’!

They prolly don't know how to get back over the water after a few days 'n nights in Temple Bar/Coppers :)

Yes Ian, I know that was the probable focus of the article.

And that's a valid observation about NI, it could definitely have a heavy bearing on the figures.

I'm still amazed there are so many in the Irish system

How many of them are in fact from NI ?

There does happen to be a reciprocal agreement between the Free State and the UK since 1922, which covers voting as well.

Good article though, Elaine. Combatting UKIP-light BS is always a good thing!