Payment of disability benefits in other European countries

Disability benefits may be paid if you leave the UK to live in another EEA state or Switzerland. Find out if you can get disability and benefits while living abroad.

Disability benefits which may be paid

The following benefits may be paid to you if you leave the UK to live in another European Economic Area (EEA) state or Switzerland:

The mobility component of both Personal Independance Payment and Disability Living Allowance cannot usually be paid to people living abroad.

Who can get disability benefits while abroad

You may get these benefits while abroad if you or a family member:

  • work in the UK or pay national insurance in the UK because of work, but live in another EEA state or Switzerland and are a frontier or posted worker
  • have paid enough National Insurance contributions to be able to claim a UK contribution-based sickness benefit
  • receive a ‘relevant benefit’

‘Relevant benefits’ include:

The Department for Communities can check your National Insurance records for you.

Conditions for entitlement

When you are living in another EEA state or Switzerland, you must still meet the usual entitlement conditions for the benefits you wish to claim.  The only difference is that you no longer have to:

  • be habitually resident in the UK
  • be in the UK

Usually you must have spent at least two of the last three years in the UK, unless:

  • you are a posted frontier worker
  • you are a family member of a worker in the UK, including posted or frontier workers
  • you are claiming Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance (care component) or Attendance Allowance under the special rules for terminally ill people
  • you can prove you have a genuine and sufficient link with the UK social security system, for example you have lived and worked in the UK for a significant period

You may not be able to take your benefit with you if you cannot prove a genuine and sufficient link with the UK social security system.

Please contact Disability and Carers Service for more information about Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer's Allowance. Please contact the PIP Centre for more information about Personal Independence Payment.

Affects on your entitlement – things to be aware of

Your entitlement to these benefits may be affected if you or your family:

  • can get a sickness benefit from another EEA state or Switzerland
  • work or have worked in another EEA state or Switzerland

If you receive a pension or invalidity benefit from another EEA state or Switzerland you may be entitled to a disability benefit from that country. This will be instead of getting your disability benefit from the UK.

You may not receive Carer’s Allowance if you receive other benefits which are paid at a rate higher or the same as Carer’s Allowance. This might include your State Pension and any benefits you may receive from other member states.

How long the benefits will be paid for

You will be paid as long as you receive a ‘relevant benefit’ or for the length of time of your disability benefit award; whichever is shorter.

If you have paid enough national insurance contributions you can claim a contributions-based sickness benefit. Your benefit will be paid for as long as you stay insured from these contributions, or for the length of time of your award if this is shorter.

When claiming as a family member

If you are claiming as a family member of someone who:

  • is working in the UK
  • has paid enough National Insurance contributions for them to be able to claim a contributions-based sickness benefit
  • receives short-term Incapacity Benefit or the assessment phase rate of contributions-based Employment and Support Allowance

Then your benefit will be paid for:

  • as long as that person continues to work in the UK, or for the length of time of your award if shorter
  • as long as that person remains insured form their contributions, or for the length of time of your award if shorter
  • as long as that person receives that benefit, or for the length of time of your award if shorter

What to do next

Contact Disability and Carers Service if:

  • you are receiving Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Carer’s Allowance and plan to move to another EEA state or Switzerland
  • you live in another EEA state or Switzerland and want to make a claim

You will need to tell Disability and Carers Service your national insurance number and your family member’s national insurance number – if you are entitled as a family member.

Contact the PIP Centre if:

  • you are receiving Personal Independence Payment and plan to move to another EEA state or Switzerland
  • you live in another EEA state or Switzerland and want to make a claim

You will need to tell the PIP Centre your national insurance number and your family member’s national insurance number – if you are entitled as a family member.

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