Expats could be due £6,000 every year they’re abroad – how to check your entitlement

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Boris Johnson 'needs to step up for British expats' says expert

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Moving abroad permanently is a complicated and expensive procedure, but Britons are cautioned to not leave their benefits entitlement behind. Immigration expert and founder of Obaseki Solicitors, Jennier Obaseki, shared a comprehensive look at what benefits expats can access abroad.

Many look and plan for a holiday or retirement abroad, usually with the intent of returning to the UK at some point. 

However, following the boom of remote working, more and more working individuals find themselves looking to stay abroad permanently. 

Whether it be to get closer to family, afford a better lifestyle or following work or passion across the globe, there are a variety of reasons that Britons immigrate. 

That doesn’t mean the process becomes any simpler or cheaper though, with visas, permits or complying with naturalisation costs mounting in the thousands, not including the costs of physically getting to the next country. 

Ms Obaseki noted that a simple way to offset this can be claiming benefits whilst abroad. 

Those who receive benefits whilst in the UK could still be able to stake their claim if they move abroad, depending on the type of benefit they are claiming. 

Ms Obaseki noted that there are a few things migrants should do before leaving the UK: “The first thing to do is ensure that you inform your Local Job Centre Plus or the office that pays your benefits that you are going abroad. You must also tell the HMRC, if you are leaving the UK.”

She continued: “If you are going to or living in a European Economic Area(EEA) country or a country with a special agreement with the UK, you may be able to claim UK based benefits and benefits provided by the country you are going to.”

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The following benefits can be claimed in the EU and Switzerland:

  • Bereavement Support Payment and other bereavement benefits
  • Industrial injuries benefits
  • Maternity Allowance.
  • Statutory Maternity Allowance.
  • Statutory Paternity Allowance.
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Universal Credit

Ms Obaseki added that it is best for Britons to check their entitlement online and notify every department necessary before they depart. 

She explained this can be done on the GOV.UK website.

With the commencement of Brexit, Britons who were living lawfully in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by December 31, 2020 are covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Ms Obaseki explained: “You continue to have broadly the same rights to live, work, study and access benefits and services as you had before Brexit. You retain your right to healthcare in the EU country you live in.”

As it currently stands, the UK has benefit arrangements with the following seventeen countries:

  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Canada
  • Channel Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Kosovo
  • Mauritius
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • The Philippines
  • Serbia
  • Turkey
  • USA

Ms Obaseki concluded that UK Nationals living in America can claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance, House Benefit, Income Support, Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance after spending two of the previous three years in habitual residency. 

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