The Common Travel Area and social security benefits
There is a social security agreement between the UK and Ireland allowing existing reciprocal social security rights for UK and Irish citizens (and for certain family members and surviving family members) under the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements and law of the European Union to be protected following EU Exit.
There will be no change to the shared social welfare arrangements between the UK and Ireland that are in place.
Common Travel Area (CTA)
In May 2019 the UK and Irish Governments signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on the CTA which guaranteed there would be no changes to the rights of British citizens in Ireland/Irish citizens in the UK as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.
Further information is available on the Irish Government Getting Ireland Brexit Ready
Accessing social security benefits in the Common Travel Area (CTA)
If you are a British or Irish citizen residing or working in the other’s state, working in both states or working across the border you are under only one state’s social security legislation at a time.
You can access social security benefits and entitlements, including pensions, from whichever state you are under the social security legislation of, regardless of where you are living.
When working in the CTA, you pay into only one state’s social security scheme at a time and are entitled, when in the other state, to the same social security rights, and are under the same obligations, as citizens of that state.
You also have the right to access social security benefits on the same basis as citizens of the state you are in. The UK and Irish governments have concluded a bilateral agreement to make sure that these rights will continue to be protected.
Existing payments will not change and there will be no change in the way new applications to social security for British citizens in Ireland and Irish citizens in the UK are assessed.
Accessing social housing support in the CTA
If you are a British or Irish citizen residing in the other state you have the right to access social housing, including supported housing and homeless assistance, on the same basis as citizens of that state. Both governments have committed to taking steps to make sure that this will continue.
If you are an EEA or Swiss citizen living in Northern Ireland you can only access social security benefits after 30 June 2021 if you have been granted settled status or pre-settled status.
The deadline for applying for most people was 30 June 2021. You can still apply if that deadline did not apply to you, or you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by the deadline.
Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland do not need to apply for EU Settled Status.