Will Brexit affect expat British state pensioners’ winter fuel allowances?

Published:  13 Dec at 6 PM
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Now that Brexit in one form or another seems certain, what will be the fate of the UK’s winter fuel payment?

Given that the winter fuel payment made to British expats living in some EU member states is possibly the least of British expat concerns at this moment, for those intending to stay in Europe and who are receiving the payment it’s yet another problem. Winter is already here and forecasts suggest it will be severe all across the continent, with British retirees on the UK’s ungenerous state pension rightly concerned that Brexit may see the end of the financial lifeline.

Those expats who qualify for the one-off annual payment need to have been born before or on April 5, 1984, and have a sufficient link to the UK. The link, regarded as ‘genuine and sufficient’ can include having family in Britain or having lived and worked there, but British expat citizens at present in hospitals, care homes or in prison aren’t eligible to receive the allowance.

The bad news is that those living in certain EU countries aren’t allowed to claim the payment as their selected countries aren’t considered to have cold enough winters. For those whose retirement havens are in Gibraltar, Portugal, Cyprus, Spain, Greece, Malta or France, the British government has disallowed the payment, thus fully demonstrating its significant lack of geographic and climate-related awareness.

For lucky British expat retirees who chose other European destinations and have claimed the allowance, the amounts received vary between £100 and £300, dependent on year of birth and whether they’re living alone or with another person who also qualifies. The above notwithstanding, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the payment will continue as part of the state pension or will be lost in the maze of the 2020 Brexit negotiations.
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