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Long term UK Incapacity Benefit for Healthcare???


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I am attempting to thoroughly research the possibility of moving permanently for a better life in France with my wife (no kids and no work!).

One of the most important points for us is access to healthcare. If we have to pay, we do not have a problem with that, but my initial enquiries may possibly suggest that my wife and I may be entitled to healthcare paid by the UK until our 5 year residency kicks in.

I simply cannot find a definitive answer on the net and about to resort to contacting the UK DWP (not before I try for an answer on here first!!).

Our situation is this....I receive high mobility and care DLA, Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit and have my NI contributions paid by the DWP. I do not receive any monetary Incapacity Benefit as my public service pension amount )Police ill health pension/Injury on Duty Award) is above the threshold for payment of Incapacity Benefit.

My wife is my carer and receives Carers Allowance.

Prior to my recent retirement from public service recently at 49 on health grounds, I was almost fully paid up with 30 years of NI contributions, however as stated, the DWP continue to pay this for me.

My wife (38) has had to give up employment to look after me, but again, had always fully contributed NI contributions during her working life (22 years work to date).

I realise I would lose the Mobility element of my DLA, but would now export DLA care element, and Industrial Injuries. My wife would still receive her Carers Allowance.

As far as Healthcare in France is concerned, would we both qualify for the E121 form in our circumstances.

As I said, I cannot find an answer anywhere. There is not even an answer on the DWP website.

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience in this field? I do not want to contact the DWP as yet until I know some of the basic facts.

Thank you in advance....and we hope to be over there soon.
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I am not qualified to comment on whether or not you would qualify for an E121, but think it unlikely.

If you do not qualify, it is not just a question of paying for French healthcare, as to become legally resident, as you have to take out comprehensive private medical insurance. The catch 22 with this, is you cannot obtain comprehensive private medical insurance if you have pre-existing health problems, as appears to be the case in your situation.

These rules were brought in to prevent early retiree Brits moving to France and becoming a burden on the French health system and there is no guarantee that at the end of a 5 year residency in France you would qualify for health care , as it could be argued that in the abscence of comprehensive medical insurance you had not met the qualifying five year test.

Regardless of the helath issues, you need to budget carefully as with the weak £, France is an expensive place to live, for those dependent on a UK source fixed income.
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If you are planning to move to France and do not intend to work when there, and I take it from what you have stated you will not be, the only way you can legally do it is by having an E121 issued to you.

This would cover both yourself and your wife's healthcare.

The only UK benefit that will enable you to obtain an E121 is Incapacity benefit.

As Sprogster correctly states you cannot just pay to join the French system, you must take out insurance for healthcare and with your conditions you will not be able to.

By French law you must have healthcare cover to legally live in France.

As you state you do not receive any payment for incapacity benefit, it really is a matter of phoning Blackpool to check if you will be entitled.

None of the other benefits you or your wife receive will entitle you to an E121.

Please also be aware, just getting through to speak to someone is not easy, ALWAYS take the persons name you are talking to and find their extension number for future use.

Good luck.
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Sorry folks but that just isn't so nowdays and this has been raised and discussed previously in the Forum.  In October 2007, DLA was classified as an exportable health benefit by the ECJ and as such it should attract an E121.  However, the current actions of the UK Government in their implementation of the benefit means that they may not be allowing people who get DLA to obtain an E121 in contravention of UK and European law.

As somebody involved in the campaign to have the UK government brought to book on this, I would advise the OP to speak to one of the specialists at CPAG or Age Concern's International Dept in London, where they are taking test cases on the law to the Lower and Higher Level Tribunals in the UK.  Additionally, the EU people have instituted infringement proceedings against the Uk government for their failure to apply parts of the ECJ's decision and others will surely follow, if the E121 situation is that they're not being issued, that will certainly be another action against the government.

As things are at the moment, as a recipient of DLA and CA you will be allowed to bring them to France with you, that's not an issue.  One of the other campaigners may have more information about the E121 situation but refusal of an E121 for an exportable health benefit is illegal in European law and any such decision should be challenged at Tribunal but be warned, people are waiting months for Tribunal dates because of the huge number being brought against the DWP who are stalling awaiting decisions in the test cases.

BTW, Incapacity Benefit is not technically means tested, tho you loose it on an offset basis if you have pension or other incomes - government double speak!

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As stated above an E121 "SHOULD"  be given with other exportable benefits apart from IB, but it is not being granted.

It may well be that legal action may be brought against the UK government for withholding E121's, but none of this has happened and at present you will not get an E121 with any other exportable benefit than IB.


If you have the time and the will to take on the UK government on this, again I wish you good luck.


When this whole saga of changing the health rules in French took place a couple of years back, I contacted all my local MEP's, the only one who replied within the first month ( a 45 minute phone call)  was Tom Wise from UKIP, and look where he is now!!!!!

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I've checked a couple of other sources since posting earlier this morning and some claimants ARE being awarded E121s on the back of DLA.

The OP is entitled to an E121 under current Euro legislation, failure of the UK to issue one to him is a clear breach of the rehgulations and he should contact the office of Jackie Morin in Brussels when he is refused one.  But, his first port of call should be Age Concern or CPAG who are co-ordinting the legal challenges to the UK's conduct.

EBN, have you applied for DLA and an E121 and been refused either or both?

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O/H receives DLA at higher rate (both components), and has for years. She is unable to receive IB as when her illness struck she was not paying Nat Ins stamps as she was a mother with young children, and was looking after them all day.

We have been in touch with Blackpool within the last nine months and told quite clearly that receiving DLA does not entitle you to an E121.

Are you sure that other people who you know of who are receiving an E121 are not being granted it as they have another benefit which does qualify?

Still not of great importance at present to ourselves as with such a weak pound it would be madness to move at present for us.

But still wise for us to keep up to date with what is happening.
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Thanks Tony....I made an initial call to the DWP today and the lady i spoke to did not know much and suggested I called back to speak to someone else.!!

As I did receive Incapacity Benefit initially following my retirement, then received no payments as my pension was above the threshold, she suggested that I may still have an underlying entitlement to Incapacity Benefit (but no money) and therefore a route to Form E121. The DWP also pay my NI contributions which suggests that I may have this underlying entitlement.

I will call the DWP back tomorrow and hopefully speak to someone a bit more helpful who can clarify this for me.

Thanks again for your assistance.
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I contacted DWP today re the question of E121 entitlement, being in receipt of DLA. The advisor I spoke to did not know and asked me to put my query in writing for an estimated 12 week response time!!!!

I then spoke to a very helpful lady from Incapacity Benefit who confirmed I indeed had entitlement to form E121 as I had an "underlying entitlement" to Incapacity Benefit, although i do not get payments.

I will still try to have DWP acknowledge the issue of the form E121 with regard to my exportable DLA benefit...but will not hold my breath.

Thanks to all who contributed.....France seems just that little bit closer....
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dmackay41 I don't want to muddy your already very murky waters, and sincerely hope you are able to obtain an E121 either via IB or DLA. If you are able to obtain an E121 via IB are you aware that the new Welfare Reform Bill is now law, and within the bill it states that all existing IB claimants will be migrated onto ESA within three years. Basically the new ESA benefit is split into three different groups for claimants who are tested under the new medical test. You either fail the medical completely and are deemed fit for work, and placed on JSA which isn't exportable to France, placed in the limited capability for work group, or the support group.

I really do not know what will happen to somebody living in France on IB at the moment if they are re-tested and placed in the limited capability for work group. Obviously the government will expect you to try and find a job, but as you will be living in France I don't see how that would work. I think about a third of the weekly payment in the limited capability for work group is based on the claimant looking for work, the other two thirds are paid as IB is now. So it could be the case that you may receive the two thirds of the benefit that is not linked to finding a job, but this could also mean that the all important E121 is taken away, and thus your healthcare cover.

So if you are able to obtain an E121 via DLA, I think this would be a more secure method of obtaining healthcare cover in France, as the government has just recently backed down from taking DLA away from the under 65's in the recent green paper on social care. The conservatives supposedly opposed the abolition of AA and DLA, so however forms the next government DLA and CA should be safe for the foreseeable future.

Once again I wish you luck in trying to obtain your all important E121, and hope soon you and your wife will be able to move to France.

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Thank you Grecian. I do not receive any Incapacity benefit, only an underlying entitlement to it, hence an E121.

That being said, there must be many UK residents in France who receive, or have received IB and used that as a route to an E121. What are they expected to do? be forced to return to the UK, simply to receive their IB, or return to work?

I do not really see how the UK Govt can simply pull the plug on their healthcare like that.

Having said all that...nothing surprises me.
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