UK benefits and allowances after moving to France

« Online French language resources | Main | Panoramic tour of France »


Paul Kendall

I used to receive IB payments, but then they wrote to me and said there had been a mistake and I was no longer entitled to it because I was in receipt of an occupational pension which took my income over some threshold for receiving IB.

Does anyone know what that threshold is?

Craig McGinty

Hi Paul
Check this Google search results page and download the .pdf document at position one:

This offers info on IB payments and p.26 looks like the section for you.

All the best


I spoke to the Incapacity Benefit office and they explained as follows:
It depends on the rate of Incapcity Benefit received. For the calculation they work out the weekly payment. Then they look at the amount of private personal pension received eg £200; then.
The first £85 is taken off, the remainder is divided by 2 this gives the final figure. If it exceeds the amount of IB it will cancel it out.
The lady said a letter should go out explaining why the amount exceeds the threshold, but as I explained sometimes these letters are not very clear and leave people very confused.

If there is any doubt please ring them and they will give a personal explanation as the one I have given is a general one.

Paul Kendall

Thank you, Craig and Coral. I think that explains things!

I think that anyone who qualifies for any IB whilst living in France must be really on the breadline. If I understand the figures correctly, if IB weekly payment is £85, say, then anyone in receipt of £255 or more a week of income (before tax) would receive nothing. Is that correct?

That must make living in France a pretty tricky business! My own income is not all that much more, and I know how hard it is!

Edwige Wyer

My husband and I are in the planning stages of our move to France (a return for me after 40 years in England). I want to thank you for the very very informative column you have written. Though I am French I get completely lost in France's "Service public" websites whether in French or in English and the CAF website is just as bad! Thank you for your help I am glad I subscribed to the French Life, keep up the good work very very informative.

Craig McGinty

Hi Edwige, many thanks for your kind words about the article and This French Life.
I've forwarded your comment on to Coral as I am sure she will be delighted to read your message.
All the best

Tina Hamilton

Found this interesting report regarding DLA, AA and CA benefits, which have been blocked from export by UK government and is being challenged in the ECJ:
Would suggest that anyone affected by refusal of DWP to pay these allowances puts in an appeal against the decision, as it may be that the allowance could be reinstated if the challenge is successful.

Tina Hamilton

And there's more... according to a leaflet issued by Age Concern Espana (see link below):
"The European Court of Justice ruled on October 17 October 2007 that the care component of the Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance should be paid to people who move from the UK to another country within the European Economic Area. The Disability and Carers Service at the Department of Work and Pensions is currently considering the implications of this ruling."

Craig McGinty

Hi Tina, many thanks for the links and it will be interesting if such changes are passed on a European level.
All the best, Craig


Same happened to me. I found out when i was volunteering at Citizens Advice. Took my book into the jobcentre and said I am not entitled to this. Two years later they asked me to repay £2500. I offered to pay a weekly amount of £5 and have another 8 to go before i pay it'd have thought my employer should have made me aware of this? Particularly as it was .... DWP!You may still be entitled to DLA dependent on where you are living.

Craig McGinty

Hi Kando, many thanks for your message and there's no doubt it is a confusing system.
All the best, Craig

Trevor Scantlebury

Is incapacity benefit the same as Disability Living Allowance

Craig McGinty

Hi Trevor

They are different more here:

All the best, Craig

Tina Hamilton

UPDATE: the UK government has accepted the EU ruling and are currently working to reinstate certain elements of benefits to expats (e.g. the care element of DLA). I would suggest that anyone who was receiving such benefits, prior to leaving the UK, get in touch with the DWP to lodge an appeal. You should receive a response confirming what element of your benefit is going to be reinstated. All the government needs to do now is ensure that it is back-dated!


i would like to know if i can receive my smp and tax credits if i move to france when my maternity leave starts


You can get UK Maternity Allowance if;

you are living or working in another EEA country;
or you are looking for work there and you are getting UK contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance;
or you are already getting Maternity Allowance in the UK and you go back to the country where you usually live or you go to live in another EEA country. But you must get your Jobcentre Plus or social security office to agree that you can carry on getting your benefit;
or if the Department of Health tells you that you can go to another EEA country to get medical treatment. The “Health advice for travellers” booklet, tells you more about this. You can get a copy from any UK post office or or further information is available from the internet at, from the DH Publications Orderline on 08701 555 455 or by emailing another EEA.
If these do not apply to you, and you are going to another EEA country for a short visit, you may still be able to get Maternity Allowance. But you must be going abroad to get medical treatment for a medical condition which started before you left the UK, or you must have been unable to work for at least six months, with no gaps, before you go.

If you have your baby in any other EEA country, the rules for deciding if you may get UK Maternity Allowance are just the same as if you were living in the UK, unless you can get the same sort of Maternity Allowance from the EEA country you are living in.

If you are getting Maternity Allowance and you are going to another EEA country, check with your Jobcentre Plus or social security office well before you leave. Read the Medical services part of these pages (sections 28-39) that tell you about healthcare, so that you can sort things out in good time.

Maternity benefit from another EEA country
If you have been working in another EEA country, you may have become insured for sickness since the last time you arrived there. If you have, and you claim maternity benefit under that country's scheme, your UK insurance may help you get it. The authorities there will ask HM Revenue and Customs Centre for Non Residents for details of your UK insurance record.

HM Revenue and Customs Centre for Non Residents will send on to them form E104. They will usually need to get in touch with the employer you used to work for in the UK before they can send form E104. The authorities who run the foreign maternity scheme will decide your claim using their own rules.

UK Maternity Allowance in the UK
If you are insured under the UK scheme while you are working for your employer, you can usually get Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). If for any reason you cannot get SMP in the UK, you may be able to get UK Maternity Allowance instead.

If you claim UK Maternity Allowance in this country, the sickness insurance paid in another EEA country may be used to help you get UK benefit. But this is only if, since coming to the UK, you have worked and earned at least a certain amount a week or, if you are self-employed, you have paid insurance contributions or hold a Small Earnings Exception.

Before you return to the UK, get a record of your sickness insurance from the authorities in the other EEA country. Ask them for form E104 and keep it in case you need it. If you do claim UK Maternity Allowance, give the form to the Jobcentre Plus or social security office dealing with your claim.

If you have not paid any UK NI contributions or have not earned a certain amount since you last arrived in the UK, you may still get UK Maternity Allowance if you:

worked in another EEA country for a UK employer and for the first 52 weeks of your employment abroad you either paid, or were deemed to have paid, employed-rate UK contributions;
or paid contributions to the country where you were working;
and you were “ordinarily resident” in the UK for the whole time you were abroad and immediately before the start of your employment.
For further information, contact The Pension Service

Benefits from two or more EEA countries
If you could claim maternity benefit from more than one EEA country, you can usually get it only from the country your baby is born in. If you cannot get benefit in that country, you can claim it from the country where you were insured last.


Does this mean if I move to France I will STILL get my DLA paid to me there? high rate mobility and middle rate care

Helen Ley

Hi, i am recieving DLA high motability and Low care, we also get IB and i would like to move to France, can we still get our benefits there?? I am desperate to move as its so damp in the uk and i need some sun for the bones.

Tina Hamilton

Hi Poppy and Helen,
According to the letter we received "The European Court of Justice decided on 18 October 2007 that certain UK disability benefits are to be considered sickness benefits. This means that they will be paid to some people who leave the UK to live in another EEA state or Switzerland. The decision affects: DLA, AA, CA. The mobility component of DLA has not been affected by this judgement and the usual rules will continue to apply" (i.e. you will not get the mobility component, just the care component.
For those already living abroad the letter stated "we (DWP) cannot yet make decisions on claims from customers who are already living in another EEA state or Switzerland. The DWP is continuing discussions with the European Commission on eligibility conditions for people who are already living in another EEA state or Switzerland who wish to claim from abroad, either for the first time or from people who have received a disability benefit in the past which stopped when they moved to another EEA state or Switzerland."
The letter finishes by saying "We will contact you again when further information is available, you do not need to contact us again."
However, given that we have not heard anything in three months we will be putting pen to paper again in the coming week.
Regards, Tina

Tina Hamilton

Re my msg above, for full details see:

Craig McGinty

Hi Tina, many thanks for those pointers and helpful advice. It is clearly quite a challenge to work out.
All the best, Craig

Joy Langford

Excellent information - will be using site often! Are ex pats entitled to claim benefits under the french system? I am entitled to pension credit in the UK but cannot claim it because I live in France - do the french have an equivalent I could claim?


Hello Joy

I wrote about how you cope from the UK point of view and am trying to put together something from the French side.

I am disabled myself and going through the mill not knowing how things will stand for me at the moment.

I now have a great contact and will be approaching him and asking if he can give me some assistance/advice etc.

When I was ill a few months ago the pharmacist told me I could get a home help but we didn't need anyone but that is a useful piece of information to have. I am not sure if I would have to pay as I didn't persue it so perhaps I will ask.

I have looked at some areas but it is like Topsy it grows and grows and will need a lot of research. If you can bear with me I will get some information together. The law changed in 2005, other alterations were made in 2006/2007 and something this year so by the time we find out, like UK it will be out of date!

I will bombard my contacts and see how I get on.

Tina Hamilton

Since my previous post, we have been in contact with our UK MP. He has followed-up our requests to DWP in regard to why DLA is not payable to expats (who moved abroad prior to the ECJ decision). Like ourselves, our MP has also been fobbed off with the issue of the "legal implications" of paying expats. It seems that the government is determined not to adhere to the ECJ ruling, except in the case of people who are moving abroad now! As such we are currently considering setting up an online pressure group to force this issue to be debated in "open court". Details to follow.

Tina Hamilton

UPDATE: I have set up an e-petition on the No 10 Downing Street website. To support this petition, which demands the reinstatement of benefits to existing expats, please follow the link:
In addition, I have also written to David Cameron, Conservative Leader, asking for his assistance in this matter.

Valerie Wood

Very interesting information. Myself and husband live in the South of France and I stopped receiving DLA, Full rate Mobility and low rate CA from April, 2007 when we came to live here. I have MS. I have applied to sign the petition. I will keep up to date with you in the foreseeable future. Keep up the good work.


I saw this today I hope it's ok to post the whole thing.
The web address is at the bottom, sorry I didn't know how to do it as a link..

CDLA/2864/2007, joined with CDLA/2002/2006, CDLA/2106/2006, CDLA/496/2006 – Exporting DLA/AA/CA within the EU following C-299/05

Prior to June 1992 DLA/AA/CA were classified as invalidity benefits which could be exported within the EU by claimants who were covered by EC Regulation 1408/71. From 1/6/92 DLA was listed by the UK as a “special non-contributory benefit” which meant it could not be exported.

Following a number of decisions by the European Court of Justice which held that listing a benefit as a special non-contributory benefit was not conclusive of its status, the European Commission brought forward legislation which would have made all three benefits fully exportable again. This was blocked by the UK and the European Commission brought a case against them in the European Court of Justice.

Please see articles in WRB no 201 and no 204 for further details of the background.

In C-299/05 the ECJ held that the care component of DLA was a sickness benefit. Sickness benefits can be exported within the EU in certain circumstances.

These cases will look at how the decision in C-299/05 is to be applied in UK law and in particular at the status of the mobility component of DLA, which is still listed as a special non-contributory benefit.

These cases were heard on 18th and 19th December 2008. A decision is awaited.


I found this post rather late! But perhaps there is help out there! Friends of my mum moved to the Charente about two years ago from Jersey in the Channel Islands. From what I hear they are having awful problems with the French social security regarding their medical cover. I left France five years ago so am not much help - as far as I know they must get a mutuel and apply to the CPAM in order to get their carte vitale - is that right? I fear that coming from Jersey they will have/are having loads of problems (between you and me, I don't know why they didn't look into this before leaving ...)

Tina Hamilton

Many thanks to Elaine and Louise for their recent comments on the benefits debacle. I have been keeping interested parties up to date on the more recent article "Fight to reinstate benefits" (
MP Roger Gale has just received yet another non-committal (and frankful shameful) response to his latest PQ in respect to the government's continuing avoidance of implementing the judgement given in respect to case C-299/05. The British Expats Association (Spain) are currently in communication with the European Commission in a bid to force the UK to comply with the ruling asap.


I have spoken to the Social Security people in Jersey and they tell me they are not sure exactly what the French authorities would require from them. So the couple should write to them at

Social Security Department*
P O Box 55
Philip Le Seuver House
La Motte Stree
St Helier

Telephone 0044 153 445505

You don't say if the people are retirees, early retirees, working or disabled so it would depend on their status as to the paperwork required. They would need to speak to CPAM to find out the sticking block as why they are not able to issue the carte vitale, although they can get a Mutuelle. Jersey do not issue the same paperwork as the UK so it is up to them to find out what is needed.

It is very short sighted not to have looked into this, although I know it can take a while for a carte vitale to be issue as my daughter waited 18months but that was because she hadn't worked for some time before she came here to France as she had two small children.

Get this couple to start sorting things out now and contact the Jersey authorities to issue the paperwork needed.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Free weekly newsletter