HEALTHPLAN MAGAZINE

UK And Spanish Benefits In Spain For Expats Expat Tips

Are you living in Spain or considering moving here and wondering which benefits you may be able to claim?

Or maybe you’re curious as to whether you can get certain benefits in Spain such as child benefit, disability or housing benefit?

If so, read on and let us explain which UK and Spanish benefits can be claimed while living in Spain.

You will find out about:-

  • UK benefits in Spain
  • Spanish benefits for expats
  • Receiving UK benefits in Spain after Brexit
  • Child benefits in Spain
  • Disability allowances such as PIP, DLA and Carer’s Allowance
  • Contact information and links to apply
  • And more

Let’s take a look.

As a greater number of UK nationals are considering the option of moving abroad to countries such as Spain, it proves wise to take a look at some of the social security benefits you can expect to receive.

For the sake of clarity, we have split this article up into two sections; the first regarding which domestic UK benefits can be claimed in Spain, and the second section covering the Spanish benefits that are available for British citizens who choose to live in Spain permanently.

UK Benefits In Spain

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?

BREXIT: Receiving UK Benefits in Spain after 31 January 2020

There will not be any changes before December 31, 2020, to the rules on making a claim for any UK benefits in Spain and other parts of the EU, EEA or Switzerland due to the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in Spain prior to December 31, 2020, you can continue to receive your existing UK benefits. This will continue as long as you live in Spain and continue to meet eligibility requirements.

If at any point you work and pay into the Spanish social security system, the social security contributions that you paid into the UK will be taken into account when you apply for any Spanish contribution-based benefits. This will also apply if you make a claim for contribution-based benefits in Spain after December 31, 2020.

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).

The following link provides you with a list of your local INSS offices in Spain.

http://www.seg-social.es/wps/portal/wss/internet/OficinaSeguridadSocial

Can I Get UK 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.

Eligibility

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 £23.20 to £148.85 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, from 9 am to 5 pm
 
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 
Wolverhampton 
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

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disability-living-allowance-for-children-claim-form

Or you may call the DLA helpline at

Disability Living Allowance 
Telephone: 0800 121 4600 
Textphone: 0800 121 4523 
Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm

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 - £58.70 - If you require frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night
  • Higher rate - £87.65 - 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 £67.25 per week.

How to Claim Carers Allowance

https://www.carersallowance.service.gov.uk/allowance/benefits

Further information can be found at

PIP - https://www.gov.uk/pip
DLA for Children - https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children 
Carers Allowance - https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance 
Attendance Allowance - https://www.gov.uk/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 https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit-abroad

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

https://www.gov.uk/tax-credits-if-moving-country-or-travelling/you-live-outside-the-uk

Can I Continue To Receive Universal Credit In Spain

Many people who were previously receiving tax credits are now being moved to Universal Credit which roles all benefits into one payment.

Although Universal Credit cannot be claimed by those who live abroad permanently, you can continue to receive it for up to four weeks if out of the country.

This may also be extended to six months if you are travelling abroad for medical care or convalescence, or if you are accompanying your partner or child for treatment.

Contact your case manager for advice.

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 https://www.gov.uk/employers-maternity-pay-leave

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. https://www.gov.uk/uk-benefits-abroad/y/going_abroad

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

Spanish Benefits For Expats In Spain

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.

Child Benefit In Spain

There are two forms of child benefit in Spain, contributory which are dependent on whether you have paid into the Spanish social security system or non-contributory where you have not.

Non-Contributory Child Benefit

A non-contributory payment is available to anyone who has a child under the age of 18 or over the age of 18 and they have a disability of more than 65%.

The yearly payment is currently €341 a year per child or €28.41 per month.

There are income limits for this payment of €12,424.00 for smaller families plus 15% per child or foster child, starting from the second child.

For larger families, with at least 3 dependent children, the limit is €18,699.00.

The amount you may receive will vary depending on how much you earn above these thresholds.

If you have a child under the age of 18 and who has at least 33% disability, you are entitled to a payment of €1,000 per year or €83.33 per month.

For over 18-year-olds who have 65% or more disability, the benefit amount is €4,747.20 or €395.60 per month.

You can see the current child benefit amounts at the link below including tables with the thresholds that apply.

http://www.seg-social.es/wps/portal/wss/internet/Trabajadores/PrestacionesPensionesTrabajadores/10967/27924/27936

To apply for child benefit in Spain, please visit the following Seg Social link below which is in English.

http://www.seg-social.es/wps/portal/wss/internet/Pensionistas/Servicios/34887/40968/41091

Tax Allowances For Childen

If you are employed or self-employed in Spain, you are entitled to a tax allowance which will depend on how many children you have. You can find out more via our other article here.

https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/306-how-to-file-an-income-tax-return-in-spain.html

To make a claim for any of these benefits, you will need to visit your local INSS office. See link below.

http://www.seg-social.es/wps/portal/wss/internet/OficinaSeguridadSocial

Alternatively, many of the procedures can be done online via the Seguridad Social website here.

http://www.seg-social.es/wps/portal/wss/internet/InformacionUtil/44539/

Maternity and Paternity Leave

There are two different forms of maternity and paternity leave in Spain, contributory and non-contributory.

Under the contributory scheme, working mothers are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave with the first 6 weeks after the birth being compulsory. Mothers receive 100% of their normal salary during this time which is paid for by the social security office.

Fathers are entitled to 5 weeks paid paternity leave which is paid at 100% of the usual salary. The government recently made proposals to increase this in line with the mother’s allowance of 16 weeks.

For further information on maternity and paternity leave entitlements, please see the following page.

https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1129&langId=en&intPageId=4789

Contributory Unemployment Benefits in Spain

If you become unemployed and have previously contributed to the social security system for a minimum of 360 days over the past 6 years, you will be entitled to contributory unemployment benefit.

If you have been dismissed or if due to cut-backs at your employer’s company, your working hours have been reduced meaning a reduction of between 10 and 70% of your income, you will be able to claim.

The current benefit in 2020 is 70% of the calculation base for the first 180 days and 50% of the calculation base thereafter.

There is a minimum amount of 80% of the IPREM for those without children which is €501.98 per month with a maximum of €1,098.09 a month.

For those with children, the minimum amount is 107% of the IPREM or €671.40 per month with a maximum of €1,411.83 per month.

You will need to claim unemployment benefit in Spain via the SEPE (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal) website here.

https://sede.sepe.gob.es/contenidosSede/generico.do?pagina=/sede_virtual/sv00A.html

For more info on unemployment benefits please see the web page here which is in English.

https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1129&langId=en&intPageId=4800

There are a number of other benefits that be claimed by those who are eligible. These include:-

  • Death and survival benefits
  • Temporary disability benefit
  • Permanent disability benefit
  • School insurance
  • Medical assistance
  • Benefit for risk during pregnancy
  • Benefit for risk due to breastfeeding

See the following link for further information on each of these.

http://www.seg-social.es/wps/portal/wss/internet/InformacionUtil/44539/45659

Spain 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 https://www.sepe.es/contenidos/personas/prestaciones/quiero_cobrar_paro/baja_incapacidad_temporal.html

Housing Benefit in Spain

Housing benefit is available in Spain for those who are eligible. In 2019 the minimum payment was €525 per year.

https://www.imserso.es/imserso_06/prestaciones_y_subvenciones/solicitud_complemento_titulares_pnc_en_vivienda_alquilada/index.htm

Minimum Income Entitlements

There is certain support available for those who have not paid enough social security contributions. For further information, please see the following link.

https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1129&langId=en&intPageId=4799

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.

Our policies are underwritten by BUPA and provide you with access to our English speaking support team.

If you found this article of benefit (excuse the pun), please share with your friends and family.

Image courtesy of ATsociety.

Updated: 11/06/2020