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Benefits when returning from abroad

concerned_Mum
concerned_Mum Member Posts: 5 Listener
My 34 year old son, who has mental health issues, has been living in Germany for over 10 years.  For the last couple of years he has been unable to work and has been living on benefits.  He has had problems getting treatment locally and is returning to the UK in the hope of getting treatment and when possible getting work.  He will initially be staying with me but we are unsure what benefits he will be entitled to and how he goes about claiming them. He has no savings and the German benefits end as soon as he leaves the country.  Any advice would be most welcome. 

Comments

  • lainie1966
    lainie1966 Member Posts: 10 Connected
    Apply for esa. Try and get him to get his medical file from german gp as its evidence. It will be income based he will need to apply for as he wont have paid NI conts for the time he was in germany
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,528 Disability Gamechanger
    My 34 year old son, who has mental health issues, has been living in Germany for over 10 years.  For the last couple of years he has been unable to work and has been living on benefits.  He has had problems getting treatment locally and is returning to the UK in the hope of getting treatment and when possible getting work.  He will initially be staying with me but we are unsure what benefits he will be entitled to and how he goes about claiming them. He has no savings and the German benefits end as soon as he leaves the country.  Any advice would be most welcome. 
    As he's been living abroad for 10 years coming back to the UK won't automatically entitle him to claim any benefits, even if he's a British citizen. In order to claim benefits then he's have to satisfy the Habitual Residence Test. See this link for a full explanation. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/coming-from-abroad-and-claiming-benefits-the-habitual-residence-test/

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,528 Disability Gamechanger
    This will also apply to any means tested benefits.
  • concerned_Mum
    concerned_Mum Member Posts: 5 Listener
    It looks as though he won’t be eligible for anything for 3 months.  He will be devastated if I tell him this.  I am having to pay his removal costs to bring his belongings back home as he has no money.  I thought I was doing the right thing by persuading him to come back to try and get treatment and be nearer his brothers and sister but now I not so sure.  I’ve never had any dealings with the benefits system apart from job seekers allowance when I was made redundant a couple of time. (I am now 70 and no longer work.)


  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering
    concerned_Mumconcerned_Mum

    As Poppy says, your son will have to satisfy the habitual residence test. However, that doesn't necessarily mean he has to wait for 3 months. It is possible to be habitually resident immediately for a benefit like income-related ESA, if you can show that you are picking up links from when you lived in the UK before.

    You should check your postcode before he comes over - this is because in some areas of the country, income-related ESA doesn't exist any more and has been replaced by Universal Credit for new claims. You can check your postcode here.

    There is a habitual residence test for Universal Credit too, so the advice above is still relevant.

    You son may well be habitually resident immediately, because, for example, he will be staying with you - this helps. He should register with a doctor as soon as possible too. If he has friends and other family in the UK, perhaps he is still in touch with them - all of this is relevant. So I think he has a strong argument that he is habitually resident immediately, as long as he now intends to make his home in the UK, and is picking up links from when he lived here before.

    If you get a decision that he is not habitually resident, I think it would be worth asking for a mandatory reconsideration and then appealing. He can also try claiming again a bit later, but I don't think you should assume that he isn't habitually resident when he first returns. From what you say, he may well be. 

    As he has previously worked in Germany, the DWP should check his national insurance record too - however, it may be that he hasn't worked recently enough for this to give him any entitlement to contributory ESA (he would need to have worked within the 2 complete tax years, which are 2015/16 and 2016/17). Whilst we are in the EU, your son should not lose out by moving from one EU state to another, so his work in Germany can count. If he is currently getting a German benefit based on his work history, I would query whether it is correct for this to stop when he moves to the UK. This is because of EU co-ordination rules.

    I would probably avoid claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA) until your son feels well enough to look for work - partly because it requires work seeking, and partly because habitual residence tests can be harsher with income-based JSA - it does have a requirement of 3 months (although this may be challengeable by using EU law in your son's case). Income-based JSA has also been replaced by UC, in the areas where UC is available for new claims.

    UC doesn't apply the 3 month rule in the same way as income-based JSA, but in practice, the DWP are very likely to use this as guidance and you may have to challenge a decision.

    The other benefit to think about is PIP. PIP is a benefit for disabled people who have problems with tasks in the home or getting around outside the home. It can apply to people with mental health issues. Normally, you have to have been here for 104 weeks to get PIP. However, where EU co-ordination rules apply, you can argue that your son's time in Germany should count towards the 104 weeks, and so he is able to apply immediately.

    So my advice is that in fact, your son may well be entitled to ESA (or UC) and PIP, although both will depend on how his condition affects him. However, you may need advice if initial claims for benefit are refused. I'd encourage you to get advice locally if that happens. The Scope helpline can help you find organisations near you who can help.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • concerned_Mum
    concerned_Mum Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thank you for this most useful advice.  My son has been returning to the Uk regularly in the last 18 months and has already registered with my Dr because he was moving back.  He was home with me for my birthday in November and again Christmas and only returned in January to sort out his flat etc.  He is on the German equivalent of long term sickness benefit and has been under the care of a psychiatrist.  I’m sure it is longer ago than two years since he last work so it must be income based.  It looks as though we might have more of a fight on our hands with the English system.  I have checked and there is no Universal Credit in our area yet so that could be a blessing.  Thank you again. 
  • concerned_Mum
    concerned_Mum Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Does he have to be assessed by a Dr before applying for ESA or does he apply and then get assessed?
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering

    Hi,

    When you claim ESA, you initially need a sick note from your own GP, and will then be paid during the 'assessment phase' until the DWP assess you and decide either to put you in the work-related group, the support group, or that you are "fit to work".

    So yes, he'll need a sick note from his doctor to apply.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • concerned_Mum
    concerned_Mum Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Ok. Thank you. 

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