Expats in Spain could face benefit cuts

LAST UPDATED: 17 Jan, 2012 @ 10:37
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Expats in Spain could face benefit cuts

THOUSANDS of Brits claiming disability benefits in Spain could be struck off under government reassessment plans.

An estimated 10,000 people claim Incapacity Benefit (IB) abroad, with many of them living in Spain, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Around 5,800 will be reassessed for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – which replaced IB in 2008 – between February 2011 and April 2014.

The remaining 4,000 claimants who are approaching 60 will not be reassessed because they are deemed to be too old to seek work.

Incapacity benefits paid overseas totalled nearly 60 million euros last year, with the highest claimable rate standing at 114 euros.

If the allowance was initially claimed in Britain, anyone is entitled to continue claiming after moving to any of 30 European countries or their overseas territories.

Under European law, benefits acquired in one member state must be paid to those who move to another.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “Incapacity Benefit is an outdated benefit which is now closed to new claimants. We are currently reassessing everyone of working age on IB, whether they live in Great Britain or abroad.

“People from the UK living abroad will only be entitled to ESA if they have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions. If they are found to be fit for work they will have their benefits stopped.”

8 COMMENTS

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  1. Frightening, disgraceful, Tory Blitzkrieg on some of the most vulnerable people in society. This will entail a recall to the U.K. where a Mickey Mouse private company will assess these unfortunate folk and will, after a nonsense quizzing, deem just about everyone, fit for work. successful appeals are currently running at about 40%. Almost half of those accused of being dead-legs prove they are genuinly disabled. But who, living in Spain and not well, can handle this hassle? It’s only just begun, the N.H.S. is being dismantled at the same time. Home-care is now don’t-care.Pensions? Remember them? So there isn’t even the safety net of return, it’s deep doo-doo wherever you are.

  2. I did read that the testing would take place in the countries where the people live by local medical staff. Problem is, as in the Uk, there are a few people who are not really ill. I have seen them. They are quite healthy working on their houses… The benefits are still better in the UK than abroad, that is why people want to come here.

  3. Reap: The testing is being done in the U.K. by a private, for profit, company. No”medical staff” are involved. There are lots of redundant ex public-service workers due to cuts/redundancies, who are keen to do the job of scalp-hunting. The company is paid by results, so everything is skewed against the claimant. Some people move to Spain for their health, do they need to return to U.K. To prove the cold and damp make them ill? To quote the Man: “judge not, lest ye be judged”

  4. I have just been reassessed to change my benefit from incapacity benefit to employment support allowance & the medical was done here in Spain then the results sent back to the UK.
    The doctors here said the same as the doctors in the UK have already said, that i can never return to work or i will go blind.
    The DWP have awarded me employment support allowance but only for one year. The DWP said after that i can never claim any benefits or health care ever again.
    So i have one year to decide on giving up my eye sight or my home, food & drink & everything else that costs money.

  5. I am just planing to move to spain so as to avoid having to live in a nursing home or worse a mental institute. I am 44 and had meningitis 5 years ago, as a result I have brain damage, I have no short term memory and the chemical reaction in my brain when it is stressed (which is everyday in the uk) means I need 24 hr care with everything I do and although my partner is fantastic it is starting to take its toll on him :( but when im in spain at our little house on the campo with no one around to stress me out I have a fairly normal life I can get dressed myself and even go to the toilet on my own hence why I would like to move here. BUT without the benefits that I get in the UK I could not afford to move here and reading this post is confusing for me so can anyone please tell me. can you claim incapacity benefit from the spanish gov? or is it only the UK gov that pays it? and will it only last for 12 months?

    I have been assessed in the UK for JSA and they wrote me off before they asked the 3rd question proberly because I could not even stand up without help let alone make the words travel from my brain to my mouth.

    Many thanks for any help anyone can give

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