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Disability Allowance - What is the current position?


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This is a subject I know little about and am asking on behalf of a retired spinster who has just moved to France whom I feel may not have done her research very well.

She asked me about entering the French health system as she is disabled with a 'crumbling spin', she is a pensioner of some 60 plus years of age. She currently gets disability allowance on top of her state pension both of which are her only source of income.

I told her she needed to get an S1 form from DWP and then go to the local CPAM office with all her other bits and bobs to get a Carte Vitale. She told me that she got disability allowance in the UK and that if she asked for an S1 and they knew she was living in France then they would stop it and she needs the money to 'live'.

She seems to think she can use her EHIC card and get treated that way. I informed her that as far as I know she would still have to find the 30% not covered for treatment in France and because she is not in the French system she won't be able to get a mutual on the back of her EHIC card which I believe to be correct.

Now I read somewhere that cancelling the UK disability allowance for those Brits who are living in another EU country is illegal under EU law but the UK still cancels it. I also read that apparently some Expats were taking the UK (or the DWP) to court but cannot find anything further on this. Perhaps I am answering this last question myself but I assume that because they will cancel her allowance they lost?

Would I also be right in thinking that she would be able to claim disability allowance in France after she has been resident for a year and that the prerequisite for proof of a years residency these days is a tax form to prove tax resident? Am I also right in thinking that unlike the UK there is a means test for disability in France although with only a state pension of some £120 per week she would probably pass that with regards to income?

I understand some of this information may well be already on the forum and I have read other stuff elswhere but much of it is dated three or four years past so I don't know if it all still stands.

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[url]http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-services/people-with-disabilities/financial-support-for-people-with-disabilites/introduction-to-financial-support/payment-of-disability-benefits-in-other-european-countries.htm[/url]

With an income of only £6240/year, not including DLA, does she even have enough money not to be considered a burden on the French state if she starts trying to claim in France?

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I take your point and I agree. I think this is not going to end well. It is difficult really because although I have some sympathy I just don't think she has done her research. Also having used an English 'agent' who clearly has pushed (or bullied even) her into buying the property has not helped. It is all rather sad really and I don't want to get too involved. I said I would try and find out but thats as far as I am prepared to go, the rest is up to her.

Having read another thread about claiming mobility allowance on returning to the UK I got the impression that may be the one you lose. She assures me that the DWP have told her she would lose all of her benefits but then she might have misunderstood or not supplying all the facts although seeing as she claims she gets a state pension (which from her age I would assume she does) I would have thought she would at least get the DLA.

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Quillan ............

The first thing to say is that its some while since we had any contact with Govt depts on this subject, but having had a look at their websites I can at least provide some pointers.

You are quite right in saying that DLA was always deemed by the UK as 'non-exportable'. This was indeed challenged and the Govt was forced to roll over, but there remain certain conditions. Since your friend has already been in receipt of DLA and is a State Pensioner, she ought to qualify ............ but I wouldn't hold my breath over it. It would appear that once you emigrate, you only have entitlement to the Carers element of DLA.

The people to contact are:

Exportability Team Room C216, Pensions Disability & Carers Service, Warbreck House, Warbreck Hill Rd, Blackpool, FY2 0YE

Email: exportability.team@dwp.gsi.gov.uk  Best to go to them direct (no phone no I'm afraid) because they are the arbiters over this - if you contact any other dept, they will only refer any enquiry to this group (always assuming that they even know of their existence!) Be warned that they're not the fastest at responding, though things may have improved.

Over the next year or two, DLA is being gradually replaced by PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and this will normally involve face-to-face re-assessment of existing claimants - how this will work for people living abroad, I've no idea.

As for claiming over here in France, I don't know either, but I'd expect that you'd have to have been making contributions to qualify.

Hope that helps - others may well have more accurate and / or up-to-date information.

  

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Forgot to mention that, as has been covered on here on many occasions, her EHIC card is of no use in her circumstances.

As you have already advised her, she has to get her S1 issued by Newcastle pdq and get herself down to your local Secu. On receipt of that, they should issue her with an Attestation to tide her over until she eventually gets her Carte Vitale. Pending that, she will have to pay upfront for any medication and she will need to ask for and retain the invoices from the pharmacy. Once she has her Attestation, she can apply for reimbursement.

As you say, Mutuelle cover really is a 'must' for this lady. 

The only other thing is whether her medical condition will qualify her as a person with an 'ALD' (100% for anything connected with that condition). She should start that process with her GP over here.  There used to be a thread on here about the conditions covered, but its also probably 'googlable'.    

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See thats the rub really. As soon as she gets her S1 and applies to join the French system it would seem her UK allowances will stop as she is no longer resident in the UK. There are other issues like tax d'habitation and Froncier (probably spelt those wrong) she has to pay both and in full. If she were properly register for health and tax in France these also would be drastically reduced because of age and income. As Betty said in reality with just an OAP at £6,240 a year she won't pay tax but then she won't be able to live either. It is all rather sad.

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I really hope someone can answer on whether this lady can ask for a disability payment in France after a year (as you sort of suggest Quillan). I do know that to claim APA (allocation Person...d'autonomie - spelling rubbish) for my mother she seemed to have had to be here five years Luckily she had been, this would seem to equal the number of years to get entry to health system if no S1.

An email to the relevant dept. with ALL** the facts would see to be in order then she has it in writing. **They need not be told she is already in France!

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[quote user="Gardian"]

Forgot to mention that, as has been covered on here on many occasions, her EHIC card is of no use in her circumstances.

As you have already advised her, she has to get her S1 issued by Newcastle pdq and get herself down to your local Secu. On receipt of that, they should issue her with an Attestation to tide her over until she eventually gets her Carte Vitale. Pending that, she will have to pay upfront for any medication and she will need to ask for and retain the invoices from the pharmacy. Once she has her Attestation, she can apply for reimbursement. 

[/quote]

She could make use of her EHIC right now to claim reimbursements, she doesnt have to wait for her S1 which it sounds like she may not be pursuing anyway.

If she takes her EHIC and other documents, passport, utility bills etc to the local social securité office they will register all the details specifically the EHIC number and expiry and she will get a French social securité number beginning with a 5

She will have to pay up front as you say but you can negotiate with clinics and hospitals for them to get direct payment from the secu leaving her just the 30% to pay although most times its 100% prise en charge, most of the time she would be paying out 100% for doctors visits, prescribed medicines etc, filling out the social securité number on the feuilles de soins and sending them off will result in a repayment of the 70% direct to her French bank account.

I have no idea about her long term options regarding benefits but the above will work until the expiry of the EHIC and the UK government are more than happy to issue a new one (to a UK address) giving her a further 5 years cover and who knows maybe ad-infinitum?

The mutuelle remains a stumbling block, I dont have one and over 9 years it has worked out far cheaper for me, even in the years when I had multiple hospitalisations.

Whilst I am not advocating that she should follow the above course it may be of some help dependant on her benefit situation, it does sound like without it she is going to be very hard up, but no worse toff han any other pensioner who is not entitled to disability benefit would be.

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[quote user="Quillan"]

See thats the rub really. As soon as she gets her S1 and applies to join the French system it would seem her UK allowances will stop as she is no longer resident in the UK. There are other issues like tax d'habitation and Froncier (probably spelt those wrong) she has to pay both and in full. If she were properly register for health and tax in France these also would be drastically reduced because of age and income. As Betty said in reality with just an OAP at £6,240 a year she won't pay tax but then she won't be able to live either. It is all rather sad.

[/quote] Well all that may well be so, but she's here isn't she and she can't just do nothing !! It's just possible that the Exportability people will be able to effect a 'seamless change' for her, albeit with some possible reduction (the mobility element). Anyway, she's got to get her S1 organised, because that's the starting point for everything. It's not optional.. She needs help from the sounds of it - your reward will come in Heaven
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Firstly thanks for all the help and suggestions, I am well out of my depth and comfort zone.

All I can do is pass on the information and re stress how important it is to get into the system. Unfortunately she seems the loss of disability allowance as a massive make or break thing and has said quite firmly that she would not apply for an S1.

It seems from all I have read s far it is only the mobility allowance that is not transportable. The transportable alowances, according to the nidirect website are DLA, Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance although being a spinster from what I have read she would not get the latter anyway.

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This lady really needs to understand that entering in to the system 'properly' is the only way forward.

The possible loss of up to (I'm guessing now) £100/mth on DLA, has to be weighed against a need to ensure that she has legitimate healthcare cover from the UK, to which she is almost certainly entitled. If she takes the S1 route, it costs her nothing and is worth € hundreds / mth, if she ignores it then she exposes herself to almost limitless cost.

Turn up at any hospital in France with only an EHIC card for anything other than 'urgences' and what do you think will happen?

"Errrrr - how do you propose to pay Monsieur / Madame?"

However .................. you can lead a horse to water, ...........

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My mother has a 'crumbling spine' ( which of course covers a multitude of sins) she now cannot stand unaided and has to have numerous aids and two carers four times a day....unfortunately my feeling is that the best thing this lady can do is turn right around and go back to the UK or get in the system......the future may be far from rosy as it is, without the added problems of not having the S1 and /or being poverty stricken.....sorry to be negative.

What a pickle!

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Q, whatever do you mean that by "being a spinster", she would not get Carer's Allowance?

I'm not saying if your friend will get it or not but just on this point of CA, doesn't it just mean that a disabled person gets that to pay for a carer to look after them?  So what has being a spinster (nice old-fashioned word that I haven't heard in years) got to do with getting it or not?

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This is outside my experience, so forgive me a genuine bewilderment.

Does someone living in France expect to get benefits from the UK for any length of time?

I understand that an OAP continues to be paid, but surely once you choose to leave the country you enter the social security system in the new one.

This may or may not be advantageous but that is the choice you make.

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[quote user="NormanH"]Does someone living in France expect to get benefits from the UK for any length of time?
[/quote]

Well actually yes Norman. But there are a few conditions (in truth, not totally unreasonable ones) and you have to follow the procedure in order to get it / them.

It boils down to which country is determined to be one's 'competent state' and in the case of most people emigrating to France, its the UK.

Its not that hard once you've got on top of it, and most grapple their way through it. Others however, either 'wing it' with an EHIC card or try to pretend its not happening. This lady is probably a mix of the last two and needs help.    

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[quote user="Russethouse"]My mother has a 'crumbling spine' ( which of course covers a multitude of sins) she now cannot stand unaided and has to have numerous aids and two carers four times a day....unfortunately my feeling is that the best thing this lady can do is turn right around and go back to the UK or get in the system......the future may be far from rosy as it is, without the added problems of not having the S1 and /or being poverty stricken.....sorry to be negative. What a pickle![/quote]

Sorry about your mother RH. I have a minor neck problem with severe arthritus between C5 and C7 which was diagnosed yesterday after a scan and will be back to the doctors with the result today to see what happens. The pain is very bad in my shoulder and arm so I can only imagine what state your mother could be in without the right care and treatment.

Anyway that aside your right, I don't think she should ever have bought the place and moved to France which is why I said I have a feeling that this will end badly. She is alone with no friends and in my opinion fallen in to the cowboy trap. She has a two up two down house and has had it rewired which cost her €10k. Wood delivered for €90 a m2 from another English bloke which is double the size for her fire and also wet so she is having to use electric fan heaters to keep warm. A guy who set up her Internet and in the process screwed her computer (which I will collect today and try and fix) and I am sure there will be some more 'stories' as we talk.

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In one way things could get worse for this lady, in some areas house prices in the UK are going up quite steadily....she may find herself stuck,not able to afford to come back to a propertty she likes in her budget...

Of course her 'cr umbling spine may be entirely different to yours or my mothers ( my mother's is lower back )
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[quote user="sweet 17"]

Q, whatever do you mean that by "being a spinster", she would not get Carer's Allowance?

I'm not saying if your friend will get it or not but just on this point of CA, doesn't it just mean that a disabled person gets that to pay for a carer to look after them?  So what has being a spinster (nice old-fashioned word that I haven't heard in years) got to do with getting it or not?

[/quote]

As I understood it there are two type of allowance, one for somebody who has a partner or spouse who looks after you and the other for people to come in and look after you. As I said I am out of my depth here but I seem to remember my parents both got the CA for looking after each other and my mother got the Attendance Allowance for somebody to come in and clean etc. As she has nobody at home to look after her I think she does not get the CA. As I said I am well out of my depth with all this.

Anyway after spending some time on the phone with her last night It seems she gets all four allowances (the forth being mobility) and that it is the mobility allowance that she will loose according to Betties link and from the post Stan made back in 2012 and is also the biggest element of her allowances.

She has told me that somebody she spoke to at the DWP told her she would loose all her allowances which reading seems not to be correct, just the mobility one. If you think about it logically I can understand that, I mean how do you get your car, left hand drive, replaced yearly or whatever from the UK? Certainly down here there is no ‘pass’ system for public transport either but then everything is a Euros per journey anyway nt that there is any real public transport.

Nobody has heard from her for a couple of days till last night and it transpires she has been in bed with a bad back caused by moving packing cases around. Bit lucky really as I feared the worse and was just on the verge of calling the Gendarmes. This has made her realise how important it is to sort out her S1 which she tells me she will now do especially after I passed on the information people have given in the thread about her allowances.

Anyway thanks for the help and suggests from everyone. I will keep the thread updated as it may be of help to others if only to remind them not to let the heart override the brain.

 

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[quote user="NormanH"]This is outside my experience, so forgive me a genuine bewilderment.
Does someone living in France expect to get benefits from the UK for any length of time?
I understand that an OAP continues to be paid, but surely once you choose to leave the country you enter the social security system in the new one.
This may or may not be advantageous but that is the choice you make.

[/quote]

I am a bit bewildered as well Norman, mainly because I dont really understand these things but this thread has educated me, here is the thing that I am struggling to get my head around, I am not questioning the rights or wrongs of any of these benefits, I can understand that someone who does not work because they have to care for an elderly relative etc will get support etc.

I guess what I am saying is that apart from being a spinster, is this ladies disability (I am only using her as an example) and specifically transport needs any different to many other pensioners, most if not all of us eventually will have difficulty getting around, will no longer be able to drive, most pensioners especially those in rural France have to have a car to get to shops and access services, why would she be paid for this but not say Quillan when he is retirement age with his back pain?

Why would someone be paid to care for their partner in retirement when I'm sure Mrs Quillan would look after him, like Sweet17 for her husband and like 99.99 of others would do, I just dont see where the extra money element comes into it.

I dont see French pensioners being paid to get a new car every few years even if they can only walk a few steps, my father like every other retiree who had been employed and not lived on benefits had to fund his own transport in retirement, when he got older he really was dependant on it yet what chance would he have had of having it paid for other than me taking care of the servicing and paying his fuel bills? The young families that were housed next door who knew how to work the system got a new vehicle every few years and presumably will continue to do so in retirement.

So am I right in thinking that you need to get into the system whilst at a working age and as a consequence you will have financial advantages in retirement even in other countries?

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That poor woman sounds to be in a very difficult position, what a good

thing she has someone to help out - and hope you get treatment to help

with your problems Quillan.

I don't know much about the topic, but here's a link to

another allowance which over 65s in UK

can claim, which I hadn't heard of but is obviously very useful to many:

 

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/claiming-benefits/attendance-allowance/

 

A

relative has recently started receiving this allowance, as her health has

seriously deteriorated and she's receiving the higher of the two rates.

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I dont know really how to express this, I am not having a rant and I dont really want to use this lady who sounds like she is in for a rough time for an example but cant see any other way.

I really dont get why a retired person should get an allowance for caring for their partner if both are recieving a government pension other than for specific cases of financial hardship, Q said that his parents got it for looking after each other, unless he meant at different times and when they were of working age then the system seems twice as daft as I thought, although more fool me.

Q said that the lady was recieving all 4 allowances does that mean a carers allowance as well? I can understand it being paid to a carer, someone without other means who has had to give up their job to care for someone, but paid to someone who doesnt have a carer and who moves abroad? OK a tetraplegic like Steven Hawkins would presumably be eligible but then he would not have the ability to move him-self abroad, also paying benefits abroad means that the money does not recirculate many times over in the British economy, it is lost for all time.

I cant help but feel that many people are able to move abroad because of the benefits that they recieve whereas those that arent entitled,dont claim or who dont work the system, having otherwise the same resources would never be able to.

Perhaps the answer to the following 2 questions might enlighten me.

I am thinking of my elderly neighbours in the UK both pensioners, she after years of being one of the most active women I have ever known has had severe arthritus, a hip replacement, cannot stand unaided, can only walk a short distance with a stroller, I'm sure were she on her own she would need someone around more than 15 hours per week and they according to their circumstances would qualify for carers allowance. The question is, her husband who is there all the time anyway, would he qualify for carers allowance? and if so what is the money actually for?

Question number 2, our own dear Norman, a UK pensioner living in France, never a benefit claimant, recieving a UK pension, following his hospital treatment he was left in a situation I suspect far worse than the lady who has moved abroad with all 4 of her benefits, he is reliant on a mobility scooter to be able to get out and buy food and otherwise remain independant, what UK benefits is he entitled to? 

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