UK Expat Pensioners To Lose Winter Fuel Allowance

By Editorial 01 July, 2013

UK Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed that from autumn 2015 expat pensioners living in "hot countries" will no longer be eligible to receive a Winter Fuel Payment.

Osborne made the announcement as part of his Spending Review 2013 speech, in which he announced a number of spending cuts which he said were based on principles of "reform, growth and fairness."

The Chancellor stated that the cost of the payment was rising "in a way that no one ever intended." This was a reference to a European Court of Justice decision last year which overruled the denial of WFP to a British citizen living in Spain because she had left the UK before she had begun claiming the welfare benefit. The Court decided that the citizen had shown a "genuine and sufficient link" to the UK social security system through her personal and family circumstances, and through having been credited with National Insurance contributions.

Obsorne complained that the result would mean payouts to "people from all nationalities who may have worked in this country years ago but no longer live here." Therefore, future claims would be subject to a "temperature test."

The Government is considering making WFP a means-tested benefit. The suggestion has the support of Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, although some Labour figures are against the move on the grounds that it would be an erosion of the universality of the benefits systems.

Tags: Expatriates | Investment | United Kingdom | European Union (EU) | Expats | Welfare | Europe |


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