Disabled British expats want to have their cake and eat it. These expats are upset that they aren’t paid their disability benefit by Britain while living in the sunny Mediterranean or any other overseas location.
If British expats live more than 26 weeks of the year in another country they do not qualify for UK disability benefits. This includes approximately 2000 Britons, but would cost the British taxpayer an estimated £4.6 million each year.
The Department of Work and Pensions said: ‘We have carefully considered the application of the 26 weeks out of 52 weeks ‘past presence’ requirement and believe it to be compatible with European Community law.’ However, the European Commission feels this is wrong, that the half a year rule is unfair.
Should Britain pay benefits to people who do not want to live in Britain?
As an expat living in Britain I see people who are not British claiming benefits. According to the Sunday Telegraph, in order to meet European Union Rules, Britain (the British taxpayer, more accurately) also pays child benefit for nearly 40,000 children who still live in Poland, while one or both of their parents are working in the UK. Britain supports immigrants, so other countries should support British expats.
If someone has chosen to move to another country they have made a decision to leave their home country. An expat must live by the laws and lifestyle of their host country. These disabled British expats expect to gain the benefit of a better standard of living and a better climate of a life abroad as well as making a claim on their home country. It costs money to move overseas—if someone can afford to become an expat, do they really need a disability benefit? Why should the UK taxpayer pay for their expat lifestyle?
If disabled people need this financial help, they should not move away from free healthcare and the support of family and friends.
Of course there will be the argument that if people have paid their taxes all their lives in the UK they should have no restrictions on receiving disabled benefits, even if they do not live in the UK anymore. After all, what is the UK missing by not having them in the country—a disabled person who is claiming benefit is unlikely to be contributing to the economy in the UK. Location should be irrelevant.
Some of these disabled people are war veterans. Perhaps they think they have given plenty to their country and they deserve the benefits and the life of the warm climates.
Some disabled British expats claim that they move to the other countries because their disability makes it difficult to get by in the UK with it’s cold, wet climate and/or the incredibly high standard of living.
If disability benefit is so important to these people, then perhaps they should just follow the rules and spend half the year in the UK! Ok, so some disabled people might find the travel difficult, or might not be able to afford two homes, but then they just have to accept that they won’t be gaining the disabled benefit, whether they are entitled or not.
If any British citizen living or travelling overseas has a major problem he or she knows the British Embassy will be available to help them. All British citizens are under the protection of the United Kingdom and are eligible for help on many levels, no matter how long they travel or live overseas. Unfortunately for the disabled British citizens, this eligibility only extends to those who are wealthy enough to have two homes, and healthy enough to travel to and from the United Kingdom twice a year.