EU Exit and benefits

There is an agreement on social security between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The agreement allows for existing reciprocal social security rights for UK and Irish citizens (and for certain of their family members and surviving family members) under the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements and the law of the European Union protected following EU Exit.

There will be no change to the shared social welfare arrangements between the UK and Ireland that are currently in place.

Common Travel Area (CTA)

In May 2019 the UK and Irish Governments signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on the CTA which guarantees there will 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.

This means that no matter what happens when the UK leaves the EU:

  • the rights and entitlements of both Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in Ireland to social welfare payments will remain as they were before the UK’s exit from the EU
     
  • Irish and British citizens living in either country will maintain the right to benefit from social insurance contributions made when working in either country and to access social insurance payments in either country

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.

Republic of Ireland Government information on Brexit is available at gov.ie/brexit. It has clear information on how Brexit may impact individuals in the Brexit and You section and on how Brexit may impact businesses in the Brexit and business section.
gov.ie/brexit  is being updated regularly.

Refer to gov.ie/brexit if you need more information on a social welfare payment from the Republic of Ireland.

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 subject to 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 subject to 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 subject to 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 ensure that these rights will continue to be protected. 

If you are an EEA or Swiss citizen living in Northern Ireland before 31 December 2020 you can only access social security benefits if you have been granted settled status or pre-settled status.  Even if you have permanent residency you need to apply for EU Settled Status before the deadline of 30th June 2021.
 

Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland do not need to apply for EU Settled Status.

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 ensure that this will continue.

 

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