Claiming UK Benefits After you Move Abroad

Hohoho. Is my head about to blow off.

Has anyone ever had experience of claiming benefits from the UK after moving abroad rather than making a claim prior to leaving?

I'm leaving child benefit, pensions, maternity allowance out of the mix.

Roger, there is nothing about people who remain or go abroad, just those who have worked abroad. I am not going back, so I do not care. For those who want to or need to, what they would have or are likely to foist on any future government is not a cheery prospect. they simply do not want us back anyway... they might as well just say it and be done.

David, do not worry about Miliband. Cameron and Osborne, the latter especially, with the back up of Messrs Duncan Smith and Hunt, are stitching the place up so tight that even with the horrifying prospect of Ed Balls things cannot actually get worse. Politics needs difference, real difference and not what people are now calling true blue Tory, Tory-lite, yellow-Tory, Tory extra (kipper type) and so on. neo-liberalism without any form of ideological difference or opposition is destroying what was achieved by the 1960s and 70s, Thatcher, Blair, Brown and now Cameron have demolished the social state and favoured the privileged few over the many, thus 1% have over 50% of all material and financial resources in the UK. It is a disgrace that a country is slipping back toward a good replica of the 19 century instead of moving firmly into this one.

I worked for two years for a UK company in France as an expat - was paid in UK, NI deduction in UK and paid French income tax (to cover the French tax the company deducted hypo tax equivalent of UK tax so I actually paid more "tax" than I would have done in France. Anyway I left after two years and stayed in France because of son's schooling. I was not entitled to ANYTHING from the UK because I was not resident there. And it took ages to get sorted on CPAM.

In all probability if there is an exit I suspect that the outlook for me and my wife and daughter would be very gloomy. She is working and paying taxes here in France but does so on the basis that she has a Carte de Sejour because she is the spouse of an EU citizen- that's me but that right might disappear. Our daughter is British but has the right to be French at 16. I am British but we as a unit would not have an automatic right to enter the UK without meeting certain criteria on resources unless I had first sold my property in France. Selling in France would become essentially impossible as our local market is about 20% Brit and that would clearly collapse. Healthcare in France may become impossible as I am of a certain age and have had some history so at 70 I may become uninsurable privately at a cost I could actually afford. We could go and live in the Philippines, simply walking away from our property in France or selling at firesale prices. Down there life is cheap, but I would not be able to visit other members of my family in Europe or the States and healthcare is virtually non existent save in the two main cities. My UK state pension would be frozen if I left the EU. All in all it's a pretty alarming scenario but there must be others in similar boats and the politicians really haven't thought theses things through. Apparently the UK property market has now gown quiet because of the threatened mansion tax. It's quite possible that the UK economy may reverse if Milliband gets in, with or without the help of SNP, UKIP etc. A positive economy is a very fragile thing. Given the current and likely future French economy it is not likely that any UK expats will be dealt with lightly if the UK does leave. Frankly it a huge potential mess. OK I am almost ancient but I could do without such fundamental problems at this time of my life. Many of my friends have already popped their clogs without such concerns.

I don't know what the policies of any of them are, you know. I'm rubbish.

What I do really is decide how effective they are by each MPs actions.

I just think Farage is a bit of a dickhead - any according to Brian this may or may not be used as a sexually degrogatory term.

Karen, I don't believe UKIP would welcome any of us back! They fall into the category of those who want to pull up the drawbridge and stop everyone!

On the policy front - UKIP currently uses one-line sound bites to spell out policies. Although the last time they published a manifesto - I guess it must have been for the European Elections - they did say: “We will roll existing state pensions, Pension Credit and Winter Fuel Allowance into a flat-rate, non-means tested, non-contributory, and non-taxable Citizen’s Pension worth at least £130 a week for all pensioners aged 65 and over. The Citizen’s Pension will be payable to all UK citizens, including those who have worked abroad.”

Problem is, we don’t know if that Manifesto still has validity, since many of the more recent so-called ‘policy’ statements appear to have shifted the ground on which they are fighting.

They have said: “UKIP would not seek to remain in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or European Economic Area (EEA) while those treaties maintain a principle of free movement of labour, which prevents the UK managing its own borders.”

Just to confirm, Roger - UKIP want the UKexpats back in the UK?

I certainly think that UK want out of the ECHR - and will use any wild story to sell the Brits to show them how useless it is. Another restriction of rights. Yes, the UK want to put something in it's place - of course they do.

What I want to know is, if the UK pull out of the EU, who are they going to blame everything on? I've heard from nearly every authority I've ever spoken to in the UK that it's 'europe' putting in place X regulation - when in fact a lot of the time it's the UK or the UK applying x regulation far more restrictively than anyone else.

Brian, you are correct, already some Tories talk of freezing pensions as for expats in Australia, so no triple lock uprating which Dave has committed himself to, and cuts in provision generally, but it doesn't end there, health care would be the next target - and do you think Monsieur le Président would be happy to pick us up, particularly if we hadn't made any kind of social payments in France! A negative outcome from a Referendum would also make us stateless, and strip us of any protection we currently have under EU Treaties, and as for free movement - would the French continue to allow us to stay, or would we be thrown out, as the Kippers want for EU expats in the UK.

In theory the UK would have the leave the EEA actually, to boot the Council of Europe. But then they are trying to wriggle out of the European Convention on Human Rights, to be alongside Belarus as the only two CoE members not party to the ECHR. Without the European Court of Human Rights that judges complaints and both legal and political breeches of individuals' rights on the basis of the ECHR, they could change laws as much as they like. If Tories stay in power and go very far to the right then that could very well happen. In a coalition with kippers it could be forced on them. The kippers simply want out of everything including all of that, but I suspect the EEA would chuck them out if they do all they say they would. Then pensions are potentially not worth the paper they are printed on.

I wonder what would happen to pension contributions if the UK did leave the EU? Frozen, probably, as you say but I don't know how legal it would be for them to do that. Not that legal comes into anything these days.

Still, the £2.75 contribution is still a lot less to 'lose' and contributions currently to the full pension - whereas the £13.?? contributes the same amount but is a lot to lose.

But beware of the UK leaving the EU, not ruled out by any means... Pensions might be frozen or people disqualified if some politicians get their way. It should not affect me, too old and all that... but some people might get it full square where it hurts most. In the wallet!

I'm going to update this while it's fresh in my mind.

Contributions - although we are not quite sure what constitutes 'a gap' / voluntary.

If you make up your NI contributions voluntarily then an International Case worker decides on each individual case as to what class (cost) of NI you have to pay. If you worked right up to leaving the UK then you have more likelihood that you will have to pay the Class 2 contribution than the Class 4. Things are also different if you move abroad to retire early.

However if you pay contributions voluntarily making up 'a gap' then although you pay the Class 2 cost the voluntary contribution is only actually calculated as a Class 3 contribution ie it only builds up your pension credits. It cannot be calculated toward an claim for ESA.I'm speaking about ESA specifically because this is the benefit department I talked to and cannot comment if it is the same for other benefits which can be claimed after you have moved abroad.

Also when claiming ESA after you have moved abroad they take into consideration the last 2 years NI contributions when calculating whether you are eligible for ESA from the UK.

I'm not certain what French benefits you are entitled to when you are registered as working in France or when you are entitled to them - but it appears the moral of the story, at the very least, is that if you are working (self-employed) keep paying your NI contributions to the UK for the first couple of years (at least until every thing else French kicks in) and, MAKE SURE that these contributions will not be classed as 'voluntary' contributions and contribute as Class 3, but SE contributions and Class 2.

Of course even if you don't have any entitlement to UK benefits because you have entitlement to French benefits, a Class 2 contribution payment £2.75 per week, is a whole lot better than the Class 4 contribution I was told I would have to pay (lying gits!) at £13.?? and will bump up your UK pension.

Then again, it may come to pass that one UK pension cancels out a French pension - I haven't got a clue but there is usually a catch!

Sorry Sarah, I completely missed your post.

I still haven't heard from HMRC but I am also asking them to look into a gap in my contributions that should have been covered.

Very interesting to note that you can pay the £2.65 per week when I was told I had to pay the highest contribution. It will be even more interesting to see what figures they get back to me with...

I'm just going to update this with the following information which I have just been told:

The Exportablility Team deals with Disability Living Allowance

The ESA International Team deal with ESA claims.

The ESA email is (and the email hasn't bounced back yet!)

Their direct telephone number is 00441912182050

Okay, when I phone the International Pension centre it is telling me they are closed until after the public holiday - have I missed something?

Dear Karen,

CPFG = Cyprus Pensioners Focus Group, set up on 22nd March 2013 when the banking system here in Cyprus had a crisis and shut. UK pension providers went into a tail spin and left Cyprus pensioners without payments and advice.

CCFG researches, analyses and briefs at executive level to Cyprus based associations and charities so that they can better uniform their members.

It is purely charitable and done by volunteers.

In France you have SFN ...and Pensioners for Justice in other countries too..



Mike, this CPFG - what is it and do they have the equivalent in France?


This may be useful to you having read parts of this thread and your other thread re: siret no/self-employment.

Last year I contacted HMRC (NIC&EO) to check my qualifying years for the UK state pension. Due to the 2016 pension changes, 35 and not 30 years will be the qualifying period for the full pension.

As I am registered self-employed in France, I can pay Class 2 NICs (approx. £2.65/week) although I have until 2019 to make these payments.

It was certainly true that my deceased wife was of pensionable age when she died, but I was not. Nevertheless as you say this sometimes comes in very useful. Here I have taken out Obseques insurance which seems to be worthwhile. I have dealt with several deaths here in France and funerals seems to cost 3 to 5 k euros depending on the frills.

There is a statistic for people aged up to something like 140 who are still alive according to the ONS. They are simply not known to have died mainly, but include people lost in ships and planes where no actual material evidence of sinking or crashing exists!