pensioner miniAre you retired or approaching retirement age and currently living in Spain?

Or, are you planning to retire to Spain in the near future to enjoy the year round sunshine?

If so, you will want to make sure that you are receiving all of the UK benefits that you are entitled to.

After all, you've paid into the government coffers for the vast majority of your working life and it's only fair that you receive any support you can, when you need it most.

It's important to note that not all UK benefits are exportable when you move abroad permanently and in some cases your individual circumstances may determine your entitlement to specific benefits.

Winter Fuel Payment

If you currently receive a UK state pension and were born before the 5th of July 1952, you will be automatically entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment even if you are living in Spain or another EEA country.

The payment is usually between £100 and £300 and is tax free.

Payments are usually paid between November and December each year.

If you qualify for the payment, but are not currently receiving it, you can make a claim at the following web address

You can read more about the Winter Fuel Payment here.

UK State Pension

Moving to Spain or any other country does not affect your entitlement to the UK state pension.

If you have only ever worked in the UK, you will receive your pension directly from the UK which can be paid every four or 13 weeks into your Spanish bank account.

You will need to contact the IPC (International Pension Centre) as soon as possible at the following address:-

International Pension Centre
The Pension Service 11
Mail Handling Site A
WV98 1LW
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 7777
Textphone: +44 (0)191 218 7280
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

You will also need to complete the International Pensions Direct Payment Form which can be downloaded here

If you have worked for any amount of time in Spain prior to retirement, your pension will be paid by the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS) here in Spain. The INSS office is responsible for processing your claim and bringing together records of your contributions from any other countries you may have worked in, including the UK.

We recently published an extensive article on receiving your state pension in Spain which you can see here

Bereavement Benefits and Lump Sum

If your husband, wife or civil-partners dies, you may be able to receive a one-off, tax-free lump-sum of up to £2,000.

You may also be elegible for Bereavement Allowance for up to 52 weeks if you partner dies between the age of 45 and the official state pension age.

The amount that you receive varies and is dependant on the number of years and the level at which you partner paid their National Insurance contributions.

As a guide, you may receive one of the following.

Your age at your partners death Maximum Weekly Rate
45 years £33.77
46 years £41.64
47 years £49.52
48 years £57.40
49 years £65.28
50 years £73.16
51 years £81.04
52 years £88.91
53 years £96.79
54 years £104.67
55 years £112.55

There are a number of eligibility requirements including whether your partner paid national insurance contributions, whether they were killed by their job and whether you were under the state pension age when they died.

You will need to contact the International Pension Centre at the following address to find out if you are eligible:-

Department for Work and Pensions
Bereavement and widows' benefits
International Pension Centre
Tyneview Park
NE98 1BA
Telephone: +44 (0)191 21 87608

Disability Benefits

The following benefits are are generally only available if you are living abroad for no more than 13 weeks or 26 weeks if you are abroad for medical treatment.

  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance (Care Component)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance

As the eligibility requirements for the above can be complicated, it is recommended that you speak to the Exportability Team for clarification on your entitlement before going abroad.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

If you are made disabled or have contracted a disease due to an accident at work, you may be entitled to the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or IIDB.

The amount you receive is between £33.60 and £168.00 per week.

To be eligible for the IIDB payment, you must be assessed by a medical advisor and be deemed to be a least 14% disabled.

The IIDB benefits are exportable to Spain, which means you will receive them even if living in Spain permanently.

You will need to complete one of two forms depending on whether you are disabled due to an accident at work or contracted a disease.

Accident -
Disease -

You can also contact the relevant department if you have any questions.

Barrow Benefit Centre
Post Handling Site B
WV99 1RX
Telephone: 0345 603 1358
Textphone: 0345 608 8551

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income related benefit and is available for those whose income is less than £151.20 (single) or £230.85 (couple).

Pension Credit is paid in two parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Unfortunately, Pension Credit is not available to those living abroad permanently.

Private Healthcare in Spain

Although most pensioners qualify for state healthcare in Spain under the reciprocal agreements, the vast majority of expats choose to take out extra private medical insurance with companies such as ourselves, Health Plan Spain.

There are many advantages to doing so which include:-

  • Access to over 27,000 doctors and 700 private clinics
  • Rapid access to doctors, consultants and diagnostic tests
  • English speaking doctors and medical staff
  • Policies underwritten with BUPA
  • Policies in English
  • Friendly English speaking support team
  • Policies to suit your needs and budget
  • Extra policy options for every eventuality

Image Source: Telegraph

Updated 18/5/2015

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