Benefits specialist Kim Clarke answers your questions
WHILE the recent draft withdrawal agreement from the EU surely raises as many questions as it answers it does at least provide a framework for the eventual proposed departure from the EU. While the bigger picture involves far more than how the rights of UK citizens living in the Spain and other EEA member states may change it is nonetheless highly significant for those living with illness and disability and how their UK benefits may be affected.
During any transition period beginning after Brexit that is due to happen on 29th March 2019 it would be 21 months that the UK would continue to follow EU rules and therefore remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
rules concerning entitlement to benefits while living in another EEA member state are of course subject to the rules of the ECJ and therefore nothing changes for the time being.
Many living with illness and disability rely on benefits in order to manage their personal care needs with dignity and to preserve their independence and to remain safe.
Those unable to access the benefits they are entitled to while living here in Spain may be forced to return to the UK where the government would doubtless regard them as an even further burden on the state as they claim the additional benefits that are not payable if living outside the UK.
The reasons why many people are not in receipt of their rightful entitlement here or in the UK are multiple but often involve wrong decisions being passed down and claimants being unable to successfully challenge those decisions.
That people are contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and still being told that benefits are not payable if living outside the UK is a disgrace although it is not a surprise given that wrong information being passed to claimants is so prevalent.
Ignorance of what is available and why puts others off claiming but decisions are made once a claim is submitted and not at point of telephone contact with the DWP customer service line.
My advice to people is to not be put off by this misinformation and to put in claims regardless and they will be assessed under current legislation.
The welfare benefits system is complex and at times confusing but wrong information put about by people who do not fully understand it will unfortunately mean that many could miss out on that extra income which proves so invaluable to those living with illness or disability.
For up-to-date, in-depth and reliable information on what is out there for you, a family member or a friend please give us a call. We can take you through how you make a first-time claim, ask for a review of an award and prepare you for and represent you at appeals tribunal.
For more details on all the above please find contact details below.
Kim Clark Benefits Consultancy
tel: 950 169 729 mob: 663 297 568