EU States Allowed To Block Expats' Welfare Payments For Three Months

By Hans Esser, for 03 March, 2016

In a ruling on February 25, Europe's top court confirmed that a European Union country can exclude nationals of another member state from certain social benefits for the first three months of residence after they relocate to that country.

The European Court of Justice pointed out that, under the Citizenship Directive, EU citizens have the right to reside in another member state for a period of up to three months without any conditions or any formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport.

Since the member states cannot require Union citizens to have sufficient means of subsistence and personal medical cover for that period, in order to maintain the financial equilibrium of their social assistance systems, the Directive allows them to refuse to grant those citizens any social assistance during the first three months.

The judgment was in response to questions posed by the Higher Social Court, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, which had to resolve a dispute between a Spanish family and a German employment center. The employment center refused to grant German subsistence benefits to the father and son for their first three months of residence in Germany.

Under German legislation, foreign nationals are, in principle, excluded from such benefits for the first three months of their residence.

Tags: Court | Citizenship | Law | Legislation | Germany | Expats | Europe |


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