29 Aug, 2011 @ 09:10
1 min read

Expat with brain haemorrhage left waiting 13 months for benefits

EXCLUSIVE By Wendy Williams

A BRITISH expat who suffered a brain haemorrhage claims he has been abandoned by social services and left struggling to survive.

Mark Cook, 43, from Sheffield, collapsed at his home near Algorrobo in the Axarquia, in July 2010.

But, despite being unable to work since it happened, the father-of-two is still waiting to receive financial support from either the Spanish or the British government.

Instead he has been forced to rely on handouts from his long-term partner, Silvia Garcia Martin, and his friends.

“I had an aneurism so I am lucky to be alive,” explained Cook.

“But I haven’t received anything in a year.

“No one is interested.

“I have waited and waited but it is getting urgent, I have no money, although I have worked all my life.

“How am I meant to survive?

“I am lucky I have the support of Silvia and I have been able to make a slow but full recovery, but I still have a hole in my head and the doctors have said I can’t work yet.

“With the pain and confusion the last thing you need is to worry about money,” he added.

The former restaurant owner, who has lived and worked in Spain for seven years, should be eligible to receive a non-contributory pension.

In addition, he is entitled to receive benefits from the UK as he has worked there for most of his life.

But due to a clause in the law the British government will not pay disability allowance for an expat until the country of residence has paid out.

“If Spain paid me just one euro a month then the UK government could give me the allowance, but at the moment their hands are tied,” he explained.

“Nothing has moved forward and 13 months after the event I am still waiting to have a meeting to discuss my claim.

“A year ago I had tubes coming out of my head and this money should have been paid at the time when I needed it.

“The whole situation is scandalous.”

Wendy Williams

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  1. He should be entitled to Spanish help if he was paying into the social security system in Spain for the years he was working there. If he wasn’t, not sure where he stands.

  2. Sorry to hear about this man’s plight but it doesn’t surprise me. Once you leave the UK the authorities would prefer to forget about you unless you are already in receipt of your pension or legally entitled benefit, as for the Spanish well your English so it’s up to them despite EU regulations. Of course if ex pats had an MP like French ex pats have he could write to him or her. If the European Union concentrated on putting the basic rules in order instead of some of the crack pot schemes they come up with perhaps we would all be better off. No I am not anti EU just anti useless bureaucrats.

  3. Always amazed at why such benefits are referred to as “entitlements”, they’re NOT…. we PAID FOR THEM!
    Often such requests of government are heard “most clearly” when communicated thru an Abogado or Solicitor. Wonder if he could locate a Public Defender/Ombudsman, or an Abogado or Solicitor to handle this on a Pro Bono basis. Hence no costs to worry about and often only a letter is needed.
    Other option is to MOVE to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc – that’s where Cameron & Osborn are sending $Billions in spite of what UK citizens think and need themselves.
    Peter is correct above, but “useless bureaucrats” is a repetition of terms.

  4. I can’t help thinking there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye. How come he is ‘entitled’ to a non-contributory pension in Spain? Why should the UK government pay disability allowance to someone who cannot work but is not in the UK? What would the readers of the Daily Mail have to say about that? He has had his life saved by the Spanish health system – had he paid into that? Sorry to be so cynical but you see and hear these types of stories all the time and a lot of them boil down to people who have not paid a penny into the system here in Spain but expect to be looked after. And they are often the people who complain about how that happens in the UK.

  5. Ths article did not find out enough information about the individual circumstances of the person in question. His statements do not make sense if he is not paying into the Spanish health system. Vague articles like this increase cynicism.

  6. I have been trying to claim UK Employment Support Allowance (replacement for Disability Allowance) since February this year. I am now unable to work and Spain are now paying me a very small pension as I have only worked here for 5 years. Having sent UK all medical evidence confirming that Spain have now given me Permanent Incapacity they have still told me I need a medical. Seems they think Spanish doctors are liars! I have fully paid up UK NI contributions and have never claimed anything from UK in my life. This is still on going. Has anyone else been affected by this?

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