UK And Spanish Benefits In Spain For Expats Expat Tips

As a greater number of UK nationals are considering the option to move abroad to countries such as Spain, it proves wise to take a look at some of the social security benefits they can expect to receive. For the sake of clarity, we will split this article up into two sections; the first regarding what domestic UK benefits can be claimed, and the second section covering what Spanish benefits are available for those who choose to live in Spain permanently.

What Social Security Benefits am I Entitled to When Living in Spain?

As it may take some time to obtain Spanish residency, the first main question is, what UK benefits entitlement can you expect when living in Spain?

Can I Receive a UK Pension in Spain?

As many who will migrate to Spain are retirees, it is important to note that the UK basic state pension is available in Spain. It should be noted that this applies only if you have lived, but not worked in Spain. However, if you have worked in Spain previously, the pension must be applied for through the Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (the Spanish equivalent of the Social Security Administration).

Can I Get Disability Benefit or Personal Independence Payment in Spain?

If you are aged between 16 and 64 you are able to receive the new PIP (Personal Independence Payment) (Formerly Disability Living Allowance/DLA) while living in Spain. If you are claiming for someone under the age of 16, you will need to claim DLA for Children.


In order to be eligible to claim PIP you will need to be aged between 16 and 64 years of age and have a disability or health condition where:-

  • You have had difficulty in everyday living or getting about (or both) for at least 3 months.
  • Expect your conditions to persist for at least another 9 months. (Unless you are terminally ill and have less than six months to live)

You may also claim PIP if you are also:-

  • Living abroad in the EU, EEA or Switzerland
  • Are a member or family member of the armed forces.

The amount that you can receive when claiming PIP and DLA ranges from £22.65 to £145.35 per week.

How to Claim PIP

You can make a PIP claim by calling the PIP Claim Line below.

DWP - PIP claims
Telephone: 0800 917 2222
Textphone: 0800 917 7777
Calling from abroad: +44 191 218 7766
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
You may also apply in writing to the following address. You will then be sent an application form.

Personal Independence Payment New Claims
Post Handling Site B
WV99 1AH

How to Claim DLA for Children

To make a DLA claim for a person under 16 years of age, you will need to download and complete the form at

Or you may call the DLA helpline at

Disability Living Allowance
Telephone: 0800 121 4600
Textphone: 0800 121 4523
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Once you have called the claims line or requested the application form in writing. You will need to complete it and send it back.

You will then be invited to attend a meeting to discuss your claim or if outside of the UK your health or social care worker will be contacted in order to obtain the necessary information.

Attendance and Carers Allowance

If you are over 65 and have a severe disability and need someone to look after you, you may also be entitled to Attendance Allowance to help with the costs.

Attendance Allowance is paid weekly at two different rates which are:-

  • Lower rate - £57.30 - If you require frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night
  • Higher rate - £85.60 - If you need help or supervision throughout both day and night, or you’re terminally ill

It is important to note that you are only entitled to Attendance Allowance if you are going abroad for up to 13 weeks or 26 weeks if you are getting medical treatment.

To see if you are eligible, please see the further information page below for Attendance Allowance.

If you have sufficient disability to require a carer, they may also be entitled to Carers Allowance at £64.60 per week.

How to Claim Carers Allowance

Further information can be found at

DLA for Children - 
Carers Allowance -
Attendance Allowance -

Can I Get Child Benefits From the UK if I Live in Spain?

In some cases a UK citizen is entitled to receive child benefit in Spain as long as the child is below 16 years of age (20 years if they are continuing their education) and you are either a Crown Servant or are currently paying your National Insurance in the UK.

If you already receive a form of child benefit in the country in which you are living and it is less than the UK child benefit, this can be topped up to match the UK child benefit.

It is also worth noting that if you are leaving the UK temporarily for up to 8 weeks for example for a holiday, your child benefit will not be affected and you will not need to inform HMRC.

If you are leaving the UK to seek medical treatment abroad for you or your family, you should be able to continue to receive child benefit for up to 12 weeks. Likewise, if you are leaving due to the death of a family member abroad, you can also receive child benefit for up to 12 weeks.

If you are leaving the UK for more than 52 weeks then you may still qualify for child benefit and may be dependent on whether you are going to be living in an EEA country or whether you are already receiving UK national insurance related benefits.

Other rules also apply and depend on where you live and work. If you are in any doubt, please contact HMRC for clarification. For further information, please visit the HMRC page at

Can I Receive Unemployment Benefit While Living in Spain?

According to the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth office, unemployment benefits can only be claimed if one has been working in Spain and paying tax contributions. The necessary forms can be found at any employment office in Spain, and one should also state any prior contributions that may have been paid in the UK.

Can I Receive UK Tax Credits When Living in Spain?

There are a few conditions where this is possible. If you are either a Crown servant working abroad or a cross-border worker, tax credits may be possible. Alternatively, if you are currently receiving a state pension or have a child under 16 (20 if in university), you may also be able to claim.  More detailed information including individual stipulations can be found at

What Other Benefits Can I Expect to Receive?

You can qualify for statutory sick pay if you have been off work for more than 4 days and this pay is provided by your employer. This must be applied for before leaving the UK and will provide financial assistance for up to 28 weeks. Statutory maternity pay is also a possibility however, once again this pay must be applied for before leaving the UK at least 15 weeks before a mother is due to give birth. An employer is legally obliged to write within 28 days to confirm the approval.  

Further details on SMP can be found at

Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) is unavailable if your stay is permanent. It would then fall under the Spanish contribution-based system, as we will see shortly.  A winter fuel allowance was previously available, but is no longer the case as the average winter temperature in Spain is higher than in the UK.

Which UK Benefits am I Unable to Receive in Spain?

There are a number of UK benefits that you cannot apply for under any circumstances when living in Spain. These include, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Pension Credit, Income Support and Means-Tested Incapacity Benefit.

If you are still unsure as to whether you are able to claim any of the above when living in Spain permanently, you can use the following page and selecting the benefit to see if you are eligible.

Just select which benefit you are interested in obtaining and follow the steps.

What are Some Spanish Contribution-Based Social Security Benefits?

Working in Spain provides additional benefits for the UK national, and we will take a brief look at the four most common benefits to receive.

Unemployment Benefits

These benefits can be claimed if you have been working in Spain. As long as you have been paying contributions (tax and social security) to the Spanish government for at least 12 months, you will be entitled to receive these benefits. However, the time period you may have had to work before qualifying for these benefits may vary, so it is best to consult the local Spanish employment office to learn more.

Further info can be found via SEPE here

Disability Benefits

This benefit follows the same rules as the unemployment benefits listed above. Additionally, any previous contributions should also be stated while you lived in the UK. An application for a statement of National Insurance Contributions from HM Revenue & Customs should be obtained to assist with this claim.

Further information on Spanish disability benefits can be found at

Spanish Pensions

If you have lived and worked in Spain, you will be able to claim a Spanish pension if you have been a resident for at least ten years between the ages of 16 and pension age, and are over 65 when filing for the claim and have a low income. Note that the last two years of employment must be directly prior to filing for this benefit.

In order to claim a minimum state pension you will have needed to have paid Spanish social security contributions for at least 15 years (minimum of 25 years by 2027). To get the full state pension, it is a minimum of 35 years (38 years by 2027) contributions.

The current pension age in Spain is 65 years for both men and women although this will be increasing to 67 years by 2027.

Expat Health Insurance In Spain

If you are an expat living in Spain or hoping to move here and are looking for private health insurance, please check out our range of expat health insurance products.

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Image courtesy of ATsociety.

Updated: 12/7/2018