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wild geese

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Everything posted by wild geese

  1. Thanks Tony,

    I never thought about interest, although I did think about compensation for all the hassle etc. How do I go about getting interest, do I just ask them over the phone or will I need to write a letter?


    Wild Geese
  2. Hi Everyone,

    Well we have received a bit of good news today. This letter arrived from the Decision Makers Team in Castle Court Belfast.

    Copy of letter below (names and reference numbers deleted):-


    If you get in touch with us tell us this reference number * * * * * * * * *

    Mrs Bloggs


    Disability and Carers Service, Castle Court, Royal Avenue, Belfast, BT1 1HR

    Our phone number: (028) 9090 6186 Our fax number: (028) 9049 0220 Website: www.nidirect.gov.uk

    Case Reference Date

    **- ****** 16/11/2010

    Dear Mrs Bloggs

    I am writing to you with regard to your recent appeal application regarding the decision to disallow you entitlement to Carers Allowance from 4/1/2010.

    Upon receipt of your appeal, your case was once again referred to our Decision Making Services team for advice. Having looked again at the details of your case and after considering the guidance and instruction issued by our Great Britain counterparts, Decision Making Services have instructed us that their previous guidance to disallow your claim was in fact incorrect and accordingly they have instructed us to revise our decision to re-instate your entitlement to Carers Allowance.

    Accordingly we will shortly re-instate payment to you again and you are due arrears of Carers Allowance from 2/8/2010. Your entitlement to Carers Allowance will continue to be exported provided all other entitlement conditions are satisfied eg DLA continuing to be paid to your husband etc.

    I can only apologise to you on behalf of the department for the confusion and de!ay in reaching this decision. Given our revised decision your appeal.request will now lapse but if you require any further information with regard to this matter you can contact me on 02890 490052.

    Yours sincerely John Thompson

  3. Hi all,

    Just sending a copy of the letter of explanation from the Carer's Allowance dept in Belfast which I received today.


    Wild Geese

    If you get in touch with us tell us this reference


    Disability and Carers Service, Castle Court, Royal Avenue, Belfast, BT1 1HR

    Our phone number: (028) 9090 6186 Our fax number: (028) 9049 0220 Website: www.nidirect.gov.uk

    Case Reference Date



    I am writing to you with regard to your request for an explanation of our decision to disallow you entitlement to Carers Allowance from and including 4/1/2010.

    As you are aware the European Court of Justice decision amended the the classification of Carers Allowance from a Special Non Contributory Benefit to a Sickness Benefit and as such the United Kingdom could be deemed the competent state for payment of a sickness benefit if a customer went to reside in another EEA state.

    For the UK to deemed the competent state the customer must fall into one of the following groups:-

    Claimants in receipt of of a pension from the UK i.e. State Retirement Pension, Long

    Term Incapacity Benefit, A Bereavement Benefit or an Unemployability Supplement.

    Those covered by UK contributions in the relevant income tax years (RITY) that would

    enable them to claim short term incapacity benefit or healthcare cover from the UK.

    Claimants of family members of those in group 2

    Certain workers and their family members.

    In considering your entitlement to having your Carers Allowance 'exported1 whilst you resided in France we determined that you fell into group 2 listed above i.e that you had RITY cover to enable you to claim Short Term Incapcity Benefit etc.


    Page 1 of 1

    Our guidance states that the UK will be the competent state for a sickness benefit where the claimant is insured in the UK for sickness benefits i.e where he/she satisifies the normal Relevant Income Tax Year contribution conditions that would give title to Short Term Incapacity Benefit as at the date the claimant leaves the UK to live in another EEA member state.

    Our guidance also states that where the normal RITY conditions are met, the UK will continue to be the competent state until the date from which the claimants national insurance cover ends (the first day on which the claimant would no longer meet the RITY contribution conditions for title to Short Term Incapacity Benefit on a new claim.

    To ascertain details of your national insurance contributions we contacted our DWP colleagues in Longbenton, Newcastle Upon Tyne and confirmed that RITY entitlement was determined by applying the qualifiying conditions to the 3 complete tax years prior to the benefit year in which the customer left the UK. That meant that we could only apply contributions paid by yourself or CA national insurance credits awarded to you prior to 1/10/2007( the date you left the UK). We sent off a proforma to our GB colleagues to confirm the contribution cover for yourself and your husband and to confirm any contribution end date. I have attached a copy of this proforma for your perusal.

    Our colleagues confirmed that you and your husband had RITY cover for the tax years 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008. Your cover was by means of your Carers Allowance credits and your husband was covered by virtue of his Incapacity Benefit credits. They also confirmed that the RITY cover end date for you and your husband was 2/1/2010.

    Unfortunately as your husbands RITY cover also ended on 2/1/2010 you could not be assisted as a family member. Accordingly we then had'to disqualify your entitlement to CA from 4/1/2010. Again as discussed with you I have been advised by my DLA colleagues that your husbands DLA will continue to be 'exported' as he also falls into group 1 in that he receives payment of Long Term Incapacity Benefit which protects this entitlement.

    I hope this letter will suffice to explain our decision and as previously advised I have issued appeal forms to yourself if you wish to proceed with your appeal against our decision.

    Yours sincerely John Thomson

    03/10 Page 2 of 1

    Family Member Rity Enquiry

    CA Customer



    Last Worked in





    Last Worked in



    Date moved



    Customer contributions & cover end

    Partner contributions and cover end




    04/05 carers

    credits 52


    04/05 Incap credits

    Year 2

    05/06 as above

    Year 2

    05/06 as above


    06/07 as above

    Year 3

    06/07 as above

    2007/2008 as

    07/08 as above


    Current Year

    Current Year

    End Date


    End Date

  4. Thanks Tony.

    Today I received a phone call from the decision maker in Belfast to confirm that the decision to stop my carer's allowance was correct and that my only recourse was to appeal the decision. I was told the reason was that my national insurance contributions were not now sufficient enough for me to be able to claim a sickness benefit from the UK. Apparently the Carer's Allowance department conduct a short term incapacity test. The decision maker is going to send me an explanitory letter as it sounded very complicated on the phone. It had nothing to do with the fact that I received an allowance from France, in fact the decision maker suggested that I re-apply in France whilst waiting for the outcome of my appeal as it could be months before any outcome.

    In answer to your questions, yes my husband is still in receipt of DLA, yes it was suspended in October 2007 when we moved here and was reinstated last year. My husband is 58 and I am 52. He is in receipt of long term incapacity benefit and holds an E121 of which I am his dependant.

    You said

    'Relying on benefits for a life in France is not a good option'

    We came here because the cold damp weather in Northern Ireland left him in extreme pain due to his Stroke. The doctor said that if we moved to a warmer climate it would be beneficial to him and he was right as my husband now takes significantly less pain killers.

    I thought Europe had a pollcy of freedom of movement within its borders for all European citizens and not just EU citizens with money. Until my husband had a Stroke, 11 years ago he worked all his life and paid all his National Insurance contributions as well as serving his country in the Armed Forces and in my opinion

    deserves any and all benefits due to him.


    Wild Geese
  5. O.M.G.

    Thanks for your prompt reply

    In my case When I said that I could not afford to pay them back from January of this year I was told that I wouldn't have to as it was an error on therir part not sending the letter out until now.


    I thought everything was going to be ok once the carers allowance was re-instated due to the ECJ ruling. There was no mention of the fact that once you leave the uk your national insurance contributions eventually stop leaving you in a position of not being able to claim sickness benefits in the uk. I think this is where the problem lies. The fact that my husband is in receipt of long term incapacity benefit doesn't alter their decision. Before our benefits were re-instated I applied to the French authorities for carers allowance and was awarded an amount slightly less than the uk as they do not allow a set 35 hrs per week. This took months to go through all the obvious paperwork and meetings etc, but eventually I was granted an award. Shortly after this the uk decided to re-instate my carers alowance so any money that was given to me from the French government was duly given back to them. Now I will have to re-apply to the French Government again which will again take months to assess, leaving us on a very low income. Also I am now worried that the same criteria may apply for my husbands DLA and that may get stopped shortly. Great Britain is really wonderfull.
  6. Hi Everybody,

    I wonder can you cast some light on this little potential ticking time bomb to come out of the UK.

    We just received this letter pasted below. So I rang on the morning of the 2nd August. I’ve been receiving Carers Allowance for my husband since 1999 when he became left stroke disabled.

    This was suspended when we moved to France on 7th October 2007 and then was reinstated on 29th April 2009 with back payments. When I rang CASTLE COURT the senior decision maker there informed me that I now do not comply with the eligibility conditions. Apparently I was entitled to carers allowance in 2007 to 2010 but now I am not. Does this mean that social security contribution credits are only awarded for three years after someone moves abroad?

    I told them that my husband was still in receipt of long term Incapacity Benefit but this does not seem to make any difference. After a couple of hour’s deliberation he rang me back and from what he said he seemed as confused as we were. He said he was going to request for a referral to the Decision Makers Services about this eligibility ruling for their clarification and confirmation. He said this will take about 10 days.

    He also dropped a little bomb shell that ALL the reinstated Carers Allowance that everyone had received after the EU ruling in October 2007 had this payment reinstated ONLY on a temporary basis to be reviewed annually by the Carers Allowance department. He said I was no longer insured for sickness benefit.

    He was very nice about it and he could not understand why NO ONE had been told at the start when the Carers Allowance payment had been reinstated that it was ONLY TEMPORARY

    Now this case may seems like it only applies to N. Ireland, but N. Ireland follow the rules of the rest of the UK in respect of benefits because N. Ireland tax and insurance earners pay into the same government treasury pot as the rest of the UK. What transpires in the rest of the UK happens in N. Ireland and vice versa. Has anyone heard of any other carers receiving similar letters?


    Wild Geese

    Copy of letter received

    An Agency within


    Department for Social Development INVESTOR IN PEOPLE





    TEL (028) 9090 6186 FAX (028) 9049 0220

    Case Ref: blank

    Customer Ref: blank

    Date: 27/07/2010

    Dear Mrs blank

    About Carers Allowance

    We have changed the decision about Carers Allowance.

    You are not entitled to Carers Allowance from and including 4/1/2010 Decision

    Carers Allowance will be paid to some people who move to live in another EEA state or Switzerland, if they meet certain eligibility conditions. Your Carers Allowance cannot continue to be paid because you do not satisfy any of the eligibility conditions. This is because you are not in receipt of State Pension, Long-term Incapacity Benefit or Bereavement Benefit, nor are you insured for sickness benefits from the UK and are not a family member of a person insured for sickness benefits from the UK.

    What information we used

    We considered the following information:

    Contribution records from Inland Revenue

    EC Regulation 1408/71

    If you disagree with or do not understand why we have made this decision

    If you do not understand why we have made this decision and you want us to explain it further, you can contact us by telephone or in writing. Our address and telephone number are shown at the top of the front page of this letter.

    If you think our decision is wrong, or you have any information that we have not taken into account, please telephone us or write to us within one month from the date of this letter and tell us the additional information. We will look at the claim

  7. Dear Tony,

    We are very sorry for you your sad loss.

    We thought we had problems, but our problems seem nothing compared to yours.  We have been having our ups and downs worrying about money, what with dla etc and thought we were in a bad way, but nothing compares with a sad loss of life. Please accept our sincere condolences.

    Geoff and Mags



  8. Thanks moonraker for your advice,

    I bought some 'sulfa collyre' from the pharmacy and have been using it as directed and have been cleaning the eye as directed and things seem to be improving, swelling has gone down a lot and not weeping as much,  It says to use the drops for eight days. so finger crossed. 

    Thanks again,


  9. Thanks,

    I have taken your advice with the salt water and bought some 'sulfa collyre' from the pharmacy which seems to be doing the trick. Her eye was swollen and she was scratching it, it would start to heal and then she would scratch it and it would get worse, but I will persevere with the cleansing and the eye drops. It says to use the drops for eight days.  The swelling has gone down a lot and if she would stop annoying it  I think it will be ok. I know you can put a sort of bucket over a dogs head to stop it scratching, but I don't know if a cat would put up with that sort of thing.  I know I should take her to the vet but finances have been very low since Christmas and every time you go to the vet it's at least 80 euros.  Thanks again and fingers crossed.


  10. Hi,

    Could somebody please help.  One of our cats has developed a very bad eye infection  and I was wondering  if I could buy some eye drops for her from the pharmacy, if so does does anybody know the name please?

    Thanks Mags

  11. Thanks Bugsy for your prompt reply,

    Yes I agree with you, but funds are very low and I was hoping for a cheaper alternative until I can afford to take her to the vet.

    Thanks Mags

  12. Hi,

    Could somebody please help.  One of our cats has developed a very bad eye infection  and I was wondering  if I could buy some eye drops for her from the pharmacy, if so does does anybody know the name please?

    Thanks Mags


  13. Hi everyone,

    Today we received an email from the exportability team in Belfast giving us the glad tidings that they are going to reinstate our entitlements from when we left UK in October 2007.

    This is very good news indeed but because of the lack of movement from the Disability Living Allowance department in not paying us our UK benefits we had to apply to the French Government for AAH from the Caf and PCH  from the MDPH (a very steep learning curve I may add because I neither write nor speak French).  Eventually we received payments from both of these departments and are now in the process of getting Devis for ramps, a new wheelchair and bathroom facilities which will be paid for mainly by the MDPH.

    Because we will be getting benefits from the UK do we now have to pay back all of the payments we received from the French Government, that’s fine but what happens about the ramps etc. Does anybody know what the situation is in this scenario?   Are we now going up that creek without a paddle again?

    Well, at least all this has helped me to improve my French language, if nothing else.



  14. Thanks for such a quick reply Tony [:)]


    Hi all,

    Please could somebody clarify exactly what this means?

    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


    Does it mean

    (a) from when you first started to receive DLA, in my case 1999 or

    (b) from when you re-apply after leaving the UK , or

    (c) another piece of  government  Gobbledygook to confuse us yet again and not know where we stand?

    Or am I just stupid today?,  I wasn't yesterday! [+o(]









  16. Hi ali-cat,

    We also moved from N.Ireland on 6th October 2007.  After spending all the proceeds from the sale of our house to supplement Incapacity Benefit and a small civil service pension every month, we are also waiting for a decision to be made by the exportability team.  Here is the latest email from them which we received yesterday:-


    I just wanted to give you an update on the situation as I had previously indicated that the Decision Maker should be looking at your case this week.


    Additional guidance was received in respect of the exportability issue, and the Decision Maker was finally able to decide a number of cases this week. The Decision Maker considered your case carefully, however an issue has arisen in respect of your case and a number of similar ones which requires further clarification from the Department’s legal people. I can appreciate that it must be frustrating for you that we haven’t yet made a decision, and I’m sorry for any inconvenience or hardship this is causing. I can assure you however that this issue is currently being given the highest priority within the Decision Making team, and once the further advice we have requested is provided a decision will be made without delay. I will keep you updated on developments.


    Because there was no movement on the exportability of Disability Living Allowance  in N. Ireland, we had no choice but to apply to the Caf for AAH in May of this year  and finally received a payment from them in December and one in January.  We are still waiting for February’s payment but there is a hold up (nothing new), they can’t understand why the amounts of Incapacity Benefit and pension were a lot smaller in December than they were in January of last year. They must not have heard that the exchange rate has fallen dramatically in the last year.

    Anyway, I think that because we have claimed a benefit from another country, this is now another excuse to hold up on the decision.  They may even decide that we are not entitled to any Disability Living Allowance from the UK.  If this is the case I hope they will reimburse us with the amount owing up until we claimed AAH in France.


    I don’t think this will be of any help to you as you are at the appeal stage, which I hope we don’t have to go through as my husband wouldn’t be able to get on an ulsterbus as he uses an electric wheelchair (even if we could afford the flight back).  But it was good to get it off my chest.

    One good thing to come out of all this is that the wig makers could be making a fortune from us all if this carries on for much longer.

    Good luck,

    Wild Geese


  17. Hi Forum members,

         Does anybody know if there is a similar scheme in France like the motability scheme they have in the UK or Ireland, where you get tax relief on the purchase of a new car if you are registered disabled?


  18. Hi Guys,

         I think I’m getting a little paranoid but ever since I posted that link to the forum.  The government watchers have closed this loophole and amended the paragraphs that I had high-lighted to you. Web link



       I’m starting to feel a bit like Denzel Washington (the reporter) out of the film “The Pelican Brief ” finding out things that are best left alone and not uncovered.  They weren’t long about closing the loophole though      

         If you re-read the direct government web site at


           It somehow seems to be worded slightly differently to reflect the amended pdf file in the above link. Or is it just me?

         Has anyone living in France, since and after the Oct 18th 2007 EEU ruling, been getting their government benefits?  As I am being told know one since then is in receipt of anything since the ruling  

         I’m only trying to get what is rightfully mine after a lifetime of paying tax and insurance faithfully and without fail.  I jut wish I had been paying the insurance into a private pension scheme then this would all be a non-issue and I would be getting my entitlement.

         I have done everything right all these years and kept my nose clean and I served in the army and did my bit for Queen and country overseas.  You would think they the government would do the right thing by me and give me what is rightfully mine without all this petty bickering and childish behaviour

    Geoff  (A seriously browned off Geoff, and that’s putting it nicely, and as good as broke for the first time in my life)
  19. Hello Gite owners,

         My wife and I now live in the Domme area of France.  I know I’m only a home owner and not a Gite owner but I have a problem that I’m sure some of you must have encountered at some time or other. My toilet is blocked and we have tried all the usual remedies to the point of cutting new 100mm pipe  to size, and 100mm plastic pipe cementing and replacing all the soil pipe work from the toilet to the soil stack or rather should I say my wife has under my directions.  You see I’m a stroke disabled ex-plumber so I know the score.  It's still blocked.  There is only so much myself and my wife can accomplish before we call the French equivalent of “Dyno Rod” in to sort it out, on the French holiday fortnight lovely. 

    Our sewage is connected to a mains at the main road but like most houses built in 1985 the codes of practice about how deep to bury the soil pipe in the ground on your property, and how to connect to the sewer was sort of guess-tim-ation on the builders part.  A case of, yeah, that looks about right, I think.  And we found the main pipe going from our house off our property  to the main sewer on the road just 12” below ground level at the side of the drive while planting a shrub

    Much as it goes against my better nature I feel able bodied professionals need to be called now, this is our only option so who should I call in this area and better still what, in French spelling in the yellow pages, are the equivalent guys like “Dyno Rod” to call?  Help someone please please ahhhhhh???? 



  20. Hi  Guys,

    I found this pdf file in a government site at this link 


    could make some interesting reading as it was only published in June this year. This is a clip below from the start of the file.  It may help some people.


    Wild Geese

    Memo DMG 14/08





  21. Hi Freddy,

         That picture/link seems to be exactly what I'm looking for, as you say a bit on the pricy side but it's a one off payment I'll not be buying one every week.  Look on the bright side I can use the bottom two steps as a step exerciser witout having to pay for one ("step ups" ahh 'orrible memories of army days but without the combat gear/snow/rain/sleet  and some sadistic PTI screaming down your ear).  Many thanks Freddy I'll be on to that tomorrow 



  22. Hi folks,

         I have a bit of a problem, I am stroke disabled on my left side and late last autumn we moved to the Sarlat area from UK for the warmer dryer weather on my joints.  The pool came with the house which was one of the main reasons we bought it.  We are pretty well spent up at the moment (getting the house and all) so as per normal cash is tight again.  

         Our intention is to use the pool for some hydrotherapy to help me with my mobility.  Although the water is only 19C at the moment I’ve been in twice already this year and love it.  The pool is only 44 inches deep up to mid skimmer height (quite adequate for my purpose)  my problem is not getting in (a controlled fall with a sharp intake of breath when I eventually surface on one leg works fine at the moment)

         My problem is getting out of the pool I’ve looked into corner stairs and hand rail to get out (I have limited mobility so that should work ok) and with assistance from HWMBO I could manage ok. Standing on a submerged plastic garden chair works but a bit rickety

         But the prices these shops are after is serious cash they seem to want my remaining good working arm, and the family jewels and they aint getting either.  So what I really want is a cheap set of step type piscine escaliers with a hand rail. New or second hand I’m easy, l don’t mind.  Can anyone help me please?



  23. Hi Andrew,

         Thanks for your advice I shall give what you say a try.  Where would you get one of those pool robots from?  It sounds a lot simpler than the vacume hose that we have at the moment.  I never was too good with the Hoover it never was good enough (you’ve missed a bit there and there, you just can’t win), but with robots now that sounds nice and technical, a set and forget it cleaner yeah that sounds real good.

    Geoff  [:)]
  24. Hi pool people,

         We are just new-bees in France (moved into house in mid December) we have a pool and with the good weather over this last week curiosity got the better of me and I took the pool cover off.  I reckon this is the first time the pool cover has come off in 2years.  What with it being up for sale for a while, time elapsed before we saw it and the notaire doing his time consuming thing. 

         The water was very murky with long 2 inch x ¾ inch rolls of dirt/algae rolling on the bottom and in various heights of suspension in the pool water I tried filtering but that just mixed it all up, now I can only just about, see to the bottom of the 5 ½  foot depth.  Is this filterable or is it a waste of time and do we need a total refill because that sounds expensive.  But we don’t really know as the first water bill hasn’t come home to roost yet?

         Any ideas all you pool owners? Thanks in advance

     wild geese

  25. Hi Bob T,

    Thanks I’ll get on it today and let you know how it pans out

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