Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Disabled British Expats Expect More

Sunny climates
Sunny climates

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.


9 thoughts on “Disabled British Expats Expect More

  1. I was born and brought up in the UK and worked there for several years but most of my life I have worked outside the UK. And work is the word, I have worked hard and saved in order to be able to choose to live in a warmer climate than either the UK or Sweden, where I spent many years. I am a pensioner and do not belong in the group who use an EHICto get medical care nor have I applied for and been denied disability or other UK benefits.

    However,I really don´t care for some of the phraseology in the article which seems, to an extent, to bunch all expats together. For example the assumption that you must be very well off to relocate abroad ” If someone can afford to become an expat….” and also the phrase “expat lifesyle”, as if you sit in the lap of luxury as an expat.

    Maybe some do but the majority live a very normal life made pleasanter by a good climate. Most of us have worked hard and saved hard to get where we are and cannot afford to live the champagne and caviar life implied in the article.

    I don´t like freeloaders either – I find it both annoying and embarrassing.So please don´t use language which bunches all expats together. I pay tax in my new country, as do many others, and we don´t wish to be put in the same category as the freeloaders you criticise.

  2. What an incredible liberty to suggest people should not live and move under the laws of the EU. Why are disabled people or pensioners to be spoken off in this patronizing and nasty way. What right do you have to say these things? Are you envious of the fact they have managed to be adventurous enough to do something about their ambitions and unlike you, who must have missed out on life, think you should decide what others should be doing with theirs.

    Look at yourself, because you sound like a big time loser to me.

    The EU should enforce all the rights to move across the states and live by receiving all and every benefit they had a right to in their state of birth. To do otherwise is not only unfair and goes against the principle, it is in fact a barrier to their rights of freedom.

  3. Gob smacked, what a load of rubbish this article is and I agree with the other two comments.

    As an ex-pat who has also travelled a lot I think that the UK need to realise that there are still a lot of EU countries that do NOT abide by the EU laws and we can not get the help that we are entitled to under EU legislation. What would you then have us do? I had my child in an EU country and he has DS. This means that I can not work, and need to stay home and help/educate my son. There is no assistance AT ALL in the country I live in for myself or my son and this is the case for local people too..

    So does the writer of this article believe that I should pack up shop. Loose everything that I have worked to hard to obtain without UK help, so that my son can get the most basic of care in the UK?? On top of all that I still pay N.I in the UK. So WHERE the hell do parents like me stand. In the cold is where, in a country where the weather gets to -30 and the summers to +40. This isn’t a choice of residence that a lot of us would choose, but a forced decision due to the lack of support that the UK is prepared to give the honest people of its own country.

  4. What a load of Rubbish the author writes ! We all work for retirement and pay the amount stipulated by the government for our healthcare, well being and benefits IF required. That is what NATIONAL INSURANCE was designed for ! So I believe that all genuinely disbled people should be entitled to full benefits Including the Mobility component of the DLA without stipulation of time !. They earned it by paying for it. How would you feel if you paid any insurance only to find out that you are not insured when you need it ? The insurance companies do this all the time I know – anything to save a few pounds BUT we are in the Hands of Her Majesty’s Government Who are responsible for getting things right at the beginning – We dont want to hear that people are being cured of diseases and live longer so the benefits sytem is stretched – they should have invested the money they took more wisely.We wewre all told that if you pay x amount of money then you would be entitled to Y and thats it. By all meansrevamp the National Insurance so that everyone pays 25% or 50% more – after all that will apply to the benfits of those paying them when they get older, but for those people who didnt get the educational choices which were paid for out of our money and so had to work in dangferous jobs which caused disability, for those of us that got no choice about national service and were injured or maimed in the line of duty so that the younger generation could bleat on about the drain on the national purse, for those of us that worked so hard to make your life that easy that people are earning millions per year. Where did our National Insurance Go ? On the cures and and care for you and your children ? Do we moan when an 18 year old couple have a disabled child and need the care and attention that the Disability gives ? Not one of us oldies would dare – why ? because we have gone through various heartaches and pain through our lives and wholeheartedly applaud any care given to that child, even though there would be no input into the national purse from that small family. So why are people moaning now ? Becaus they are so afraid that the would have to pay back some of the debt they owe to the people who gave up so much. Yes there are scroungers but don’t punish the 90% or so that have honest needs – punish the 10% that are scrounging, weed them out and Imprison them they are the ones that make the word disability such a bad word now.
    Me well I was in a highly paid Managerial job at age 40 paying me over £35,000 a yar to become a scrounger on benefits. What happened to my pension well thats another thing, I was ripped off by the companys bad investments and two world slumps, two ex wives ripped me off for the rest – so dont say I should have worked harder. Now at 60 I rely on benefits and today when they announced the electricity hikes and gas hikes what will I do – eat sandwiches , live in one room and put more clothes on in cold weather thats it , I have no other choice. I would love to go somewhere where laws do not tell me what I can do or not, a country not reliant on Gas and electricity or if it is then it is cheaper and its hot so I can save there and feed myself properly. A country which cares for its elderly like Italy and Spain. Perhaps if more families acted like ITALIANS OR SPANISH THEN THERE WOULD BE FEWER CARE HOMES RELIANT ON THE GOVERNMENT. Perhaps the problems in this country are caused by the apathy of the younger generation not looking after those that did such a good job looking after them.

  5. It is not just a question of the disabled, the whole system should be revised.

    Although the world of politics is more complicated than that of music, one thing has recently become quite obvious with the Euro crisis, international politics cannot be successful without harmony.

    No conductor could ever hope to successfully co-ordinate the instruments of an orchestra, if every musician – however good as individuals they might be – insists on playing a different melody. The result would be a chaos for which nobody would be ready to pay.

    Nevertheless exactly this has been done with the Regulations (EEC) No 1408/71 and 574/72, which were meant to the co-ordinate social security within the European Union rules. Although through (EC) No 883/2004 and 987/2009 amendments have been made, the regulations are now directly applicable. By leaving it to each nation to formulate its own concrete national laws concerning health care, every chance of a balanced result has been lost.

    A Bill of the Federal Government German Bundestag 17 / 4978 17th Term 02. 03. 2011 called the “Draft law on the co-ordination of social security systems in Europe and to amend other Acts” is intended to implement the above Union rules. This new law however completely ignores how welfare systems in several European countries differ in historical and social background, intended function, means of financing, level and rhythm of payment, and currency.

    The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs admits openly that the implication of their new law, effective from 01 July 2011, causes problems for retired citizens from Denmark, Sweden and Britain, but does not use the word “discrimination” Instead it points out, that the EU regulations clearly state that harmony is not a necessity and that no action is to be taken to correct the disadvantages caused to the citizens of such nations.

    It would appear that paragraph 1 Article 11 of the International agreement for financial, social and cultural rights, from 19 December 1966, has not been heeded, or perhaps even worse, completely forgotten.


    I am US aged 56 as is my partner.
    I burried my beloved hubby @ age 49 in 97 after we could not afford propr healthcare here in the US.
    I started working when I was 14 and paying into social security at 17. At age 42 I was,forced to apply for social security disability. Later I met and hope to marry my fiancee. He has multiple sclerosis and went on disability at age 35.
    I still work a few hours a week. We try our best to make the ends meet. They just don’t.
    We buy groceries at a salvage store. You know, smashed packages, near or out of date, bent cans, larger packages which we repack. We also go to a bakery store for bread at half price. My work slacks are 10 years old. I wear overrun orthopedic shoes. I prepare our meals and manage a small veggie garden (which i plant by wriggling on my belly like a snake) and some fruit trees. I need a perm, but there is no $. I traded my car for a tin can that gets great mileage.
    We desperately need to hire help. It is getting too much for me to care for his needs and try to keep myself functioning amd maintain property. We would both rather die alone and sick than go into a nursing home.

    PEOPLE with your attitude are the reason we don’t have international healthcare at reasonable rates. No one shoyld be forced to die rather than luve. Even if it is in a foreign land.

  7. I am disgusted by the article I have just read as an ex pat living in Cyprus I cannot under stand the where this person gets his information from most of us that leave the UK do so to find work very few of us have two homes one in the Uk and one in the sunny Meditterranean drinking martinis by the pool if God forbid an expat has an accident or becomes ill when living in a another EU country we are only entitled to benefits depending on how much national insurance we have paid in that country so we have to claim from our national insurance account back in the UK the British government deducts what we get paid from our host country payments and makes up the shortfall so instead of costing the British taxpayer money we are actually saving the British tax payer money I would like to remind the writer of the article that we have paid our national insurance in the Uk and we are just asking for what we have paid into. also we do not cost the national health service one penny
    Danny mulqueen living in Cyprus

  8. I think maybe the problem is that Eu and Swiss ie non British people, are entitled to British benefits whilst living in Britain which puts pressure on Britian due to the unfair EU laws that our government abides by and the lack of benefits or being able to access them in the other countries. This includes paying out family allowance and family credit etc to those with children still in their home country. Our laws must change to ensure that everyone has to have for example a residency time period to become eligible and or national insurance contribution record as some other countries do to apply for benefits which hopefully would ensure that those people realise that Britain’s streets are not paved with gold, However it is true whilst expats have generally paid into the system they are now supporting their local economy and living under a different government system and not the British one

  9. What a disgusting narrow minded individual this author is. As somebody left crippled by a car crash (absolutely no fault of my own) in my late 20’s having paid into the system for 14 years, I find this article to be an ill conceived and offensive piece of gutter trash. For somebody like me is it simply tough shit and accept your lot in life? You should spend 6 months in a wheelchair then reevaluate your views. How an editor allowed this to appear in a publication of any sort show’s a distinct lack of proof reading,nevermind simple common sense. Did someone on crutches slow you down in a supermarket queue before you wrote this? Chip on your shoulder?
    Please take this page, and any other article by this bigot down and kick the arsehole in the general direction of the daily mail

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