French healthcare - should I swap to S1 on retirement?

With an S1, after retirement, you don’t pay the social charges on your pensions but you do on other things. Jane has experience of running a business after retirement and I don’t so I definitely bow to her greater knowledge in that area. Does @Linz have to keep her ME going after retirement if she gets occasional income below the 23000 threshold, @JaneJones

I believe all income earned under the micro entrepreneur system is treated in exactly the same way with deductions calculated as a percentage of turnover. The scheme does not have any flexibility in that respect.
If the income is from a source that can be classed as non professional it may be beneficial to close the ME and declare the income as non professional. But I do not know if any other income can be classed as non professional other than rental income.

Also I do not think France is as flexible as the UK about taking your pension and continuing to work. I would have like to continue working part time but I remember concluding that it did not seem to be a viable option although I cannot remember what made me come to that conclusion.

1 Like

The main point is that we don’t think you are eligible for an S1 now, so the question is mute! France is your competent state now, not the UK. Although you will of course get any UK pension you are entitled to. But there is no exemption on social charges on your pension.

It is something I remember reading a while back when the exemption came in (2019 I think) that people need to be aware that starting a business in France (however small) may adversely affect their UK pensions as will have to pay full social charges on their UK pensions not just the 7.5%

(NB for anyone reading this who arrived in France after 31/12/20 this is no longer a factor as can no longer het an S1)

1 Like

S1’s can still be issued after 31/12/20 but they don’t include entitlement to free NHS treatment when visiting UK.

S1’s are issued if in receipt of UK state pension, but if entitled to a state pension from your country of residence then an S1 cannot be issued. If you receive state pensions from two countries but live in a third then whichever country you paid most contributions in becomes the competent state.


That’s interesting Poppyfilds. This says “may” be entitled but in other places in government guidance it says they are no longer issuing them!

(You will not (at present) be able to be covered, at any stage, by the UK S1. The UK government has so far given no indication that it will attempt to negotiate a replacement for the S1 for pensioners. - this is rift guidance

Let’s hope it is the former🙂

Has anyone got one since 1/1/21?

1 Like

It really is a bit confusing…
I think @Linz has the CdSWithdrawalAgreement… so does this paragraph apply???

I was 2 trimestres short of 10 years and was able to top it up to 10 years from my UK pension entitlement
I started my French pension at the age of 62 and then took my UK pension at 66 which still had enough qualifying years for full pension so now get 2 state pensions.
As others have said my competent state was France where I last worked so I was already fully in the health system here and it has stayed that way ie no S1.
I also have private pension income and rental income all declared here which is dealt with by my French accountant. I also declare rental income etc in UK which is sorted out by double tax treaty.
(Continued below)

I wouldn’t worry about whether or not it is fair for UK to pay your health costs, I dont think you have a choice.
As for cotisations, tax, or whatever else you want to call it the bottom line is that it is an amount retained by the government to run the country how they think fit and the only thing that concerns me is how much that will be.
I do know that the reductions taken from my income here are significantly less than they would be if I was living in the UK.
I would also add that the treatment both my wife and I have had in the French system during the last 13 years has been faultless. The difficult part was understanding how the system works in that here you are actively part of the administrative process rather than being told things on a need to know basis in the UK.
The French system gets my vote.


Absolutely right JohnBoy - there is a deep cultural difference you pinpoint here that’s hard to get your head round - but when you do, you tend to prefer the French way.

1 Like

And it’s the same with the health service. The fact that we have “ownership” of our own X-rays etc and that we are expected to make our own appointments with specialists (and indeed to choose to whom we go)

4 Likes currently says
Healthcare for UK nationals living in France - GOV.UK

I remember the announcement that the S1 scheme would continue although not necessarily with the same cover (some portable benefits no longer qualified and free UK NHS for visits would be stopped), it came at the 11th hour after many people were panicking about getting their S1’s before the end of the WA as it was thought the scheme would stop altogether.


Yes, looks like it. Apologies for not being up to date!!

Just to clarify, S1’s under the WA still have the same cover as before, those issued after the WA have reduced cover.


I did speak to the relevant department in the UK a few months ago and they told me if I was living in France before 31.12.20 I could apply for the S1 28 days before my 66th birthday. But they didn’t ask many questions and I suspect I was speaking to someone fairly low in the food chain.

I also spoke to CPAM at that time and they said yes, no problem, just send us your S1 when you get it and we’ll do the necessary to switch you over. The very helpful lady I spoke to made it sound like a common occurrence… though I suspect someone else might say something entirely different!

I do have the CdS Withdrawal Agreement so… possibly! The relevant UK department told me a few months ago I could apply for the S1 28 days before my 66th birthday… but I’m beginning to doubt all that now!

It’s not whether or not you fall under the withdrawal agreement that’s an issue. But that you have built up a pension entitlement in France - however small. So France is “your” country now, and if the admin people know their job you won’t be eligible.

Jane would you know what happens if a UK state pensioner then earns money whilst spending their retirement in France. Say, In France or some other European country.

Would they then be at risk of France or some other country becoming their competent state and losing their S1?

Strange question.
Surely not retired if earning money?
Is the pensioner registered to work in France/EU?

1 Like

I’m sure there are some retired folk who earn money… might be with a gite/chambre d’hote/arts and crafts… or whatever…

Yes, quite a lot of pensioners might contemplate, say, a part time job, including types offered by an employer. What would happen to their S1 if having acquired it on the basis of being a UK state pensioner in Europe eligible for one, they then took up, say, part time local employment? Would their competent state change so they might be in danger of losing their S1?

1 Like

Ok got it.
I get my UK state pension but dont have an S1 as France was the last place I worked so dont have a clue.
Please excuse me butting in.
Hopefully someone is in the situation you describe and can provide the answer.