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Everything posted by Grecian

  1. Having finally managed to obtain our E121's from Newcastle, after nearly 6 weeks of living permanently in France, we went armed with all documents possible, both original and photo copies to our nearest CPAM office, to register. We were greeted by a very pleasant gentleman and were attended to immediately. Things were going fine until he came to our birth certificates, when we given a 'non', he informed us that our 'short' versions of our birth certificates were not exceptable in France, and he would require long versions which must include parents full names. Back to square one. Having read up extensively on all things health in France, I must say I have not seen it written in any publication I have read, or in fact on these boards, that a 'long' version of our birth certificate is required. I would be interested to hear if anybody has come across the same problem, or in fact managed to secure a carte vitale with a 'short' version.  
  2. We left the UK on 16th September 2008. [:D] Obviously as you say they are dealing with the new cases first, but hopefully that will mean that they are working their way around to the 'old timers' at some stage.  
  3. UPDATE--RESULT! Well obviously the male/female decision maker at Blackpool must read LFM forums, because this morning my wife received a letter from them informing her that the care component of her DLA will be reinstated, but not the mobility component, which we were aware of already. This obviously means anybody leaving the UK, who is in receipt of DLA and meets the criteria laid down for receipt of the benefit, will be able to export it with them when they leave the UK. Hopefully it will also mean those who left the UK pre-October 2007, will be able to claim back the benefit that was stopped when they left the UK. Still CA to sort out, but one victory at a time I think.  
  4. Not really sure which thread to reply to, and we now have two running, but as this was the original one, I will carry on with this one. Having now been in France permanently just over a month, myself and my wife find ourselves in a similar position to you longbow. My wife has had her DLA stopped and I have had my CA stopped, both without any communication from the relevant offices. The only thing I can add to this thread which is new, there was a letter waiting for my wife at our new French address when we moved in, enclosing a form to be filled out, and returned to Blackpool. The form consisted of several questions relating to her emigration and enquired if she would be returning to the UK. It also gave the now well documented criteria, as to who would be eligible for the export of DLA, really the same text that has been on their website since last October. The letter informed her once they received the completed form it would go before a decision maker, who would decide if her DLA is exportable. Obviously it would appear that the decision maker is in the wrong job, as to date my wife has not yet received an answer either way, informing her of the status of her DLA. I suppose the fact she received a form to fill in could mean that some sort of decision on people's DLA/CA could be imminent, I sincerely hope so.    
  5. Just when you think the mists are clearing, a real pea-souper blows in! Having informed Preston by letter that we are emigrating to live permanently in France near the end of September, as we were instructed to do so by themselves, I today received a phone call from them informing me that my CA will be stopped at the end of September, when we move to France. The lady that telephoned me said that a decision had not been reached regarding people leaving the country, who are already in receipt of CA. I tried to point her in the direction of their own website stating that as long as certain criteria are met, regarding receipt of other benefits, then CA is indeed exportable to people leaving the country. All this was to no avail, and as things stand at the moment, CA will be stopped once we leave. I asked her if my file will still be active once we leave, and she assured me that it would. After having several telephone conversations with various benefit offices, it really does seem a complete lottery, as to whether the person you speak to, actually knows what they are talking about, and can seriously affect the outcome of the situation you are enquiring about. I have sent a letter to the Decision Making and Appeals office in Leeds, seeking clarification to the memo DMA 18/07, (link posted by wild geese, 27th June) which by my reckoning states in paragraph 11, that anybody leaving the country can take the dosh with them. If I receive any further information from them I will post the outcome on here. ebaynut, move over I want to use that wall. [blink]
  6. How depressing reading through this thread, so it is only the ‘fit’ that are allowed to fulfil their dream of moving and living in France, any ‘scumbag’ on IB need not apply. They even have the audacity of expecting their benefit to be exportable, whatever next, having paid their NI contributions all their lives, they are now expecting to take this benefit with them, disgraceful. I know let’s go the whole hog, and stop people taking their state pension with them as well, I mean why should it be paid for by the UK taxpayer, if they have chosen to live somewhere other than the UK?   Let us cast our minds back to pre November 23rd 2007, when all hell was breaking on these boards, as the news was emerging that you had to serve a 5-year sentence before qualifying for entry in the CMU. We had all sorts of people posting how they were going to be thrown out of France, all trying to console each other, crying on each other’s shoulder. Then hey presto, it will only be newcomers who will be affected by the new ruling. A collective sigh of relief was breathed from all the ex-pats living in France. They then all reverted back to the ‘I’m all right Jack’ attitude and screw any newcomers. On top of all this are now preaching on these boards, that anybody on IB should not be allowed to join their club, because obviously their claim is fraudulent, and we don’t want you sort over here.   Well to all you smug people who are safely embedded in CMU, I sincerely hope you never have to go through the pain and now uncertainty, of not knowing when you have moved to France, and in receipt of IB, if you will in fact be able to live in your dream home for evermore, until 5 years has passed.     
  7. Have to agree with everything you have posted Tony, a total disgrace the way people on DLA, or should I say were on DLA, are being treated. I am afraid this is just indicative of the way the UK is now being run. It seems the attitude of this government is to kick in the teeth anybody from the UK that has paid their NI contributions all their lives, and try and prevent them receiving a benefit for which they are entitled to. For what it is worth myself and my wife will be posting our letters to the DLA/CA offices on Monday, telling them of our imminent move to France. I do not expect a reply before we leave for France in the middle of September. I guess they will carry on paying the two benefits as normal, and when they finally get around to opening our letters, will then be forced into a decision as to whether the two benefits are indeed exportable. I guess myself and my wife could well be some of the earliest to test, if indeed DLA and CA are truly exportable.  
  8. Many thanks for the prompt reply Les. It seems that all UK washing machines now come with cold fill only as standard. After looking around Comet and Currys this morning, 'she who must be obeyed' has her eye on a Hotpoint all singing and dancing machine. Can anybody tell me if Hotpoint actually sell washing machines in France, if not, then trying to obtain spares for the new machine, would not be possible, and 'she' will have to look at another brand.    
  9. I was going to start a new thread, but after doing a search found this one already up and running. My question relates to a UK washing machine, we had planned on dumping our existing machine when we move in 2 months time, and purchasing a new French model as soon as we land. But true to form, our existing washing machine, has decided not to spin anymore, it still puts itself out and washes, but point-blank refuses to spin. We now have to make the decision as to whether to have our existing machine repaired, or buy a new UK model and bring it with us. If we purchase a UK model, and this may sound like a very silly question: will the water hoses screw onto the French tap connections OK? Although having read this thread, it seems that all French machines are cold-fill only. In a bit of a 'spin', any replies gratefully received.  
  10. Phew! That was a lot of replies, many thanks to all who took the trouble to answer. Sifting through all the replies, I am thinking that the Britline option is not really what we are looking for, and opening an account with either our local CA or Credit Mutuelle in our village when we arrive, will be the route we will be going down. I forsee us using Ernie's method of keeping our account topped up, i.e. withdrawing from the ATM via our NW card, and then redepositing the money back into the bank! I am aware that there are charges associated with French banking. Can anybody tell me if we open a joint account, are the charges the same for an individual account, or are the charges doubled up for a joint account?  
  11. We have been looking to open a French bank account, before our move to France at the end of September. I have looked at CA Britline's webpage, on there it is asking for evidence of income documentation, if we wish to open an account with them, i.e. pension statements, proof of investments etc. Can anybody tell me if this is standard practice, when opening a bank account with any bank in France. The way we had envisaged running our financial affairs in France, was to have all our income paid into our newly opened Nationwide accounts, and then drawing our day-to-day expenses out the hole-in-the-wall in France. As well as moving over via an FX company, larger sums of money into our new French bank account, to fund large purchases and pay any direct debits within that account. If the bank is asking for regular payments to be deposited into our French bank account, this would mean we will lose control of the rate at which we decide to convert our sterling into euros. Any feedback will be gratefully received.  
  12. Hi Ernie, in response to your question regarding which UK bank refuses to let us keep our current accounts open with a French address. The answer is... drum roll...Cahoot, which is owned by Abbey, formerly Abbey National. I suppose technically they are not now a UK bank, as Abbey is owned by Bank of Santander. We are both now in the process of opening a Nationwide account, in plenty of time before we leave the UK, so I guess it is bye bye Cahoot.  
  13. Once again many thanks for all the replies. It seems pretty conclusive that you obtain commercial rate, when withdrawing you dosh from an ATM in France. Somewhere around 1.26 at the moment, is certainly what you will obtain from a spot rate from any fx company. I have to say that is one cent better, than the forward fixed rate I have taken for our property purchase, oh for a time-machine to go back 12 months![:@]    
  14. Sorry to post about this subject again, I have done a search but cannot find anything up-to-date regarding the exchange rate obtained, by using a Nationwide debit card to withdraw money in France via an ATM. If anybody has made a withdrawal recently, can you please post the exchange rate you got when making the withdrawal. I have telephoned the Nationwide twice, and on each occassion, the lady was unable to tell me whether the rate is commercial or tourist, although the second lady I spoke to, said she had been asked the question hundreds of times. As it looks like we will be leaving the UK somewhere towards the end of September, we both want to open our Nationwide accounts before we leave, so any info on the rate would be most appreciated. Our current bank will not allow us to keep our UK account open with a French address.  
  15. Not sure if this really adds anything to the thread, but we have received replies back from both the DLA and CA office, to letters we sent to them back in April.  They have both just printed off the information that is available on their website, although I now notice a paragraph entitled: What to do next, if leaving the country. I am not sure if this has been there all along, or something that has been added recently. The only new piece of information we received in the letter, my wife received from the DLA office, is that we must inform them immediately when we plan to leave the UK, and her claim will be dealt with by an adjudicator, so I guess this is some sort of step forward. There was no mentioned in her letter, suggesting that she will or will not be entitled to an E121 via DLA. I know this will not help anybody already living in France, but could possibly inform people who have yet to leave the UK.  
  16. Once again Lisa, many thanks. I was not aware of the Credit Agricole set-up, as I am looking into opening a French bank account before we move, CA is one of the banks I am considering. Mainly for the reason they have a branch in the village we are going to live in, and we can open it before we leave the UK, so if they are offering sterling rates of interest, this could well swing it their way.  
  17. Just to say thanks for the info Lisa, we have been over in France sorting out our future, so apologies for not responding sooner. As you say good news for a change. It also points to the fact that dividends are treated very favourably in France, tax wise, we may have to move some more cash over into bonds.  
  18. Once again many thanks for all the replies, the thread seems to have opened a lively debate. For the record with our own situation, I took Pierre's advice and split the difference between what we originally offered, and the vendors counter-offer, the vendors accepted our revised offer, which works out to a 9% reduction on the original asking price. We also negotiated to have a few appliances and furniture thrown in the price. Having read the links Ernie kindly posted, I must say even if prices do start falling in the next 2 or 3 years, we are not prepared to stay in the UK for that period of time, just to save on the asking price. We can purchase our property in France, knowing we sold our modest 3-bedroom semi in the UK, at the height of the UK property, and turned it into a detached 3-bedroom sous-sol, with a large chunk of land in France. Just a pity we did not do it last summer, with the exchange rate somewhere near 1.45. [:(]    
  19. Many thanks for the replies. By what you have posted ams, looks like we have gone in too high to begin with. [:@] timc17, This will be our home, not a holiday escape or investment property, so as you say if we are happy with it, go for it. Pierre, I think your suggestion seems pretty sensible to me, I will be making a revised offer of 9% less than the asking price.  
  20. I know there will be no definitive answer to this query, but can people please share their experiences, regarding their offers for properties they have purchased in France. We have found a property, which we have made an offer on, a 30-year-old sous-sol, not the average restoration job most Brits go for I know, but we want something we can move straight into, within reason. The property is mostly in excellent condition, but the oil-fired boiler is original, i.e. 30 years old, whilst it must have been maintained throughout the 30 years, as it was very warm when we viewed the property, it will obviously have to be replaced at sometime in the future. On this basis we made an offer knocking 11% off the combined asking price and notaire fees. The owners have rejected the offer, but have come back with an offer of 7% off, which includes the notaire fees. With the French housing market, it would seem on the face of it slowing, we are not sure if 7% represents a good deal. Any comments would be most appreciated.  
  21. I have dragged this thread up again, as it is now tax season, 12 months on from the original thread. Is anybody any the wiser if UK based investment trust and unit trust dividends qualify for the 40% deduction, and then eligible for the 3050 euros overall allowance, before any income tax is paid on the dividends. Having reread this thread, people were not too sure at the time of submitting their tax returns last year, so I am wondering if anybody now has definitive answers to the original questions. As always thanks in advance for any information supplied.    
  22. Although at the moment we still live in the UK, on our visits to France I regularly call into any Lidl supermarkets we come across in France, to compare prices with the UK. Bearing in mind that Lidl stock some of the same products in France as the UK, I would say that on the whole the products in the French Lidl stores are somewhere near 20% cheaper than the UK. This time last year they were 30% cheaper, due to the higher exchange rate.  
  23. You are quite right Benjamin, NI contributions are credited if on IB/CA, but I am not sure if credited contributions will be looked upon the same as work based paid NI contributions. The only thing that I base this assumption on is, I started a thread some while back entitled E121/E106 maybe a strange question. On this thread I asked the question if IB were to be stopped, would we be entitled to an E106 for upto two years, if living in France. After telephoning Newcastle, the answer to this question is no. To receive an E106 you have to have employment based NI contributions, paid up before you leave the UK. I also asked if we could pay a lump sum for NI contributions, if the need arose, again the answer was no. So if the government is basing the exportability of DLA on work based NI contributions, then I guess we would draw a blank again, if IB were to be stopped. Saying that though my wife was not in receipt of DLA until some 4 or 5 years after she was receiving IB, so in this instance I guess DLA was obtainable through credited NI contributions, as opposed to work based NI contributions. (Another exploding head smiley please)!  
  24. Having read through the whole statement on the DWP site again, and with what you have posted ebaynut, I have got to admit I am still not 100% certain as to what they mean. Taking the bit about having paid enough NI contributions within the last 3 years, would tie in with something one of the many operators I have spoken to at Blackpool said to me. He claimed the government were concerned that anybody from within the EU, could come to Britain, claim the benefit, and then return to their native EU country with the benefit. Not quite sure why they are starting to worry now though, it doesn't seem to have worried the UK government before. So I guess they are trying to implement a fixed period of NI contributions having being paid, before the benefit is exportable. This still begs the question that anybody on long-term IB, who had obviously paid enough NI contributions before they became unfit for work, thus enabling them to be able to claim the benefit in the first place, will now be in the position, unless they have paid any NI contributions within the last 3 years, will not qualify for the exportability of DLA. So I am now thinking that my first interpretion of  the statement could be correct, that anybody on long-term IB will be able to take the care element of DLA with them. This then throws up the question, what would happen if IB were to be taken away in the future, will this mean that DLA goes along with it, to anybody living within the EU, and not Britain? This seems unfair as DLA is claimable, even if the recipient is working. Also with the CA exportability scenario, I have not paid any NI contributions within the last 3 years, even though I have been working part-time within this time frame. So again does this mean  that if IB were to be stopped, and DLA went with the IB payment, then CA would also be stopped as well. (Exploding head smiley required here please).    
  25. Hi ebaynut, having looked at the site again, I am at a bit of a loss as to what has changed, can you enlighten me please, I have obviously missed it. We have so much going on at the moment, regarding decisions to be made, I am not keeping up with events. On a personal note regarding the DLA situation, we have still not heard anything back, responding to the letters we have written to Blackpool, I do wish they would hurry up and make their minds up one way or another, so at least we can then plan accordingly.    
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