This snapshot, taken on
19/05/2010
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
 
 
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.

Website of the UK government

Please note that this website has a UK government accesskeys system.

Public services all in one place

Main menu

Claiming disability benefits if you live in another European country

The European Court of Justice decided in October 2007 that certain disability benefits are sickness benefits and may be paid to people who have left the UK to live elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Affected benefits

The decision affects:

  • Disability Living Allowance (care component only)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance

The mobility component of Disability Living Allowance has not been affected by this judgement.

Who can get the benefits

There are four main groups of people who may get these benefits if they live in another EEA state or Switzerland. The EEA consists of the 27 member states of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

You may get these benefits if:

  • you work in the UK or pay National Insurance in the UK because of your work, but live in another EEA state or Switzerland and thus are a frontier or posted worker
  • you have paid enough National Insurance Contributions to be able to claim a UK contributions-based sickness benefit
  • you are in receipt of State Pension, Industrial Injuries Benefit, Incapacity Benefit, contributions-based Employment and Support Allowance or Bereavement Benefits from the UK - these are referred to as 'relevant benefits'
  • you are a family member (spouse, civil partner or someone dependent on a parent) of someone who works in the UK, or has paid enough National Insurance Contributions to be able to get a UK contributions-based sickness benefit, or is in receipt of short-term Incapacity Benefit or the assessment phase rate of contributions-based Employment and Support Allowance

The exportability team at the Department for Work and Pensions can check your National Insurance records for you.

When you are living in another EEA state or Switzerland, you must still meet the usual entitlement conditions for the benefits you wish to claim. The only difference is that you no longer have to:

  • be normally resident in the UK
  • be in the UK

You must have spent at least 26 out of the last 52 weeks in the UK at the date on which your entitlement to benefit can be established, unless you are:

  • a posted or frontier worker
  • a family member of a worker in the UK, including posted or frontier workers
  • claiming Disability Living Allowance (care component) or Attendance Allowance under the special rules for terminally ill people

If any of these exceptions apply to you, please contact the exportability team for further advice.

Other things to be aware of

If you can get a sickness benefit from another EEA state or Switzerland or if you work or have worked in another EEA state or Switzerland, this may affect whether you get the disability benefit from the UK.

If you are entitled as a family member, whether you can get the disability benefit may also be affected if your spouse, civil partner or parent can get a sickness benefit or works or has worked in another EEA state or Switzerland.

If you are in receipt of a retirement pension or invalidity benefit from another EEA state or Switzerland, you may be entitled to a disability benefit from that country rather than from the UK.

If you receive certain other benefits, including State Pension, which are paid at a rate that is the same as or more than Carer's Allowance, you may not receive payment of Carer's Allowance.

How long your benefit will be paid for

Once you begin to receive the benefit, how long you will continue to be paid depends on your circumstances. If your needs or your circumstances change, this may affect how long your benefit is paid.

If you are in receipt of 'relevant benefits' from the UK, your disability benefit will be paid for as long as you remain in receipt of one of those benefits, or the duration of your current disability benefit award if shorter.

If you have paid enough National Insurance Contributions to be able to claim a contributions-based sickness benefit, your benefit will be paid for as long as you remain insured from these contributions, or the duration of your award if shorter.

If you are claiming as a family member of:

  • someone who is working in the UK, your benefit will be paid for as long as that person continues to work in the UK, or the duration of your award if shorter
  • someone who has paid enough National Insurance Contributions for them to be able to claim a contributions-based sickness benefit, your benefit will be paid for as long as that person remains insured from their contributions, or the duration of your award if shorter
  • someone who is in receipt of short-term Incapacity Benefit or the assessment phase rate of contributions-based Employment and Support Allowance, your benefit will be paid for as long as that person remains in receipt of that benefit, or the duration of your award if shorter

If you become entitled to a sickness benefit from another EEA state or Switzerland or if you start work in another EEA state or Switzerland, this may affect whether you can continue to get your disability benefit from the UK.

What to do next

If you live in another EEA state or Switzerland and want to make a claim, you need to contact the exportability team.

When you contact the exportability team, tell them:

  • your National Insurance number
  • whether you are working or have worked in another EEA state or Switzerland
  • whether you already get or will be able to get any other benefits from another state

If you live in another EEA state or Switzerland and think you might be entitled as a family member, also tell them:

  • what your relationship to that family member is
  • their National Insurance number
  • whether they are working or have worked in another EEA state or Switzerland
  • whether they already get or will be able to get any other benefits from another state

If you think you may be affected by the court's decision and are unsure about what to do, or if you need any further information, you should contact the exportability team.

If you apply and do not satisfy the relevant conditions, your application will be disallowed. You will be able to ask for a reconsideration and appeal against that decision within certain deadlines.

Was this information useful?

Thinking about what you have just read, how useful did you find the information?
Thinking about what you have just read, how useful did you find the information?
500 character limit

Why are we asking for this information?

  • we want to hear what you think about the quality and usefulness of our pages
  • your comments will help us improve our pages
  • your comments will also help with the future development of Directgov
  • telling us what you think will help make sure we give you the very best service

Access keys