Bear with me! This might be long!
My wife reached UK State Pension retirement age last September, and whilst we have lived in France, she has had a little job for three hours a week for four years with the Mairie. That means, according to the DWP paperwork, that she should apply for her UK State Pension through the French authorities.
This we started off last July. We visited CARSAT and completed the paperwork, returned it to them and they sent it off to a specialist unit (for foreigners) in Toulouse. We heard nothing, except we had a request for further paperwork which we supplied.
Eventually, our Maire, on hearing of our problem, rang the Toulouse office and ascertained that the French authorities had sent a dossier to Newcastle on 15 November. Having had no reply, they say they sent the dossier again on 15 December.
So we rang Newcastle. They seemed to say that the dossier had been received but not acted upon, and told my wife to re-apply using the form that she would have used if she hadn't had a little job over here.
This she did, sending the usual copies of birth and marriage certificates.
Last week, we received notification of her pension, a payment of monies due since September was made to our bank, and an S1 for her was enclosed. But only covering her. Where was the S1 to cover me? We had always understood that when one partner was covered, the other was covered, too.
We rang Newcastle. The DWP is now saying that because my wife worked in France, it is the French who are responsible for my wife's health cover, and that they shouldn't have sent an S1 at all. My wife explained that if she is due any pension at all it will be peanuts. The DWP lady said she would look into it.
So ... Who is responsible for my wife's healthcare? If the British, will they eventually issue me with an S1 under my wife's cover? If the French, do they know (as presumably the whole thing depends upon Toulouse and Newcastle talking to each other!)? And why doesn't anyone on either side ever tell us anything?! (We had no replies to our web messages to Toulouse asking for clarification).
I qualify for the UK State Pension in my own right from October 2016.
In the meantime, we continue to pay the contributions sociales for our health insurance (plus the complémentaire, of course).
Oh, and by the way, we are, I think, supposed to approach another organisation, IRCANTEC, who manage pensions for ex-public service employees. Applying to them essentially involves sending off the same things as we did to CARSAT, I believe, but we were told that the payment would be so low as to result in a one-off payment, perhaps of around 30 euros! We had thought it probably wasn't worth the hassle, so I confess we haven't applied.
Any comments and advice gratefully read!