EU-treaty and the restriction of the Winter Fuel Payment to certain pensioner residents in the EU.
One of our colleagues has corresponded with the EU on this issue and has received the following reply: -
EU Reply is as follows:-
“Thank you for this enquiry. As you will already know the EU comprises an area in which the free movement of EU nationals is ensured. This freedom of movement is supported by rules which provide for common
treatment of social security rights and equal treatment on the provision of social security benefits. These rules are set out in Regulation 883/2004. These rules provide, in outline:
That you are subject to the social security legislation of one member state at any time (Article 11).
2. Cash benefits
payable under the legislation of one member state should not be reduced on the fact that the recipient is residence in another member state (Article 7).
3. The United Kingdom has, until recently, provided a "Winter Fuel Payment" to UK pensioners resident in the UK only. This was prohibited under EU law (case C-Case C‑503/09, Stewart). The UK appears to have amended the rules in order to provide the benefit to pensioners resident in a number of countries only, ostensibly based on the weather in those countries. The EU rules
do not provide for any available justification for this, and this does look, at first sight as though this is unlawful discrimination.
4. We would recommend that you either look to obtaining a political solution through the EU institutions, such as by contacting your local MEP or making a complaint to the European Commission:
you should consider a legal solution by contacting the DWP in the UK and making a legal challenge. However, this would not be an effective solution until September 2015 [the reply actually states December 2015 which was an error] when the legislation comes
We hope that this assists,
Your Europe Advice”
of us believe that this effectively put the British Government on the back foot and that there is a case for them to answer. Remember, they have got this wrong before and had to put it right!
It is clearly essential that this Statutory Instrument laid by the DWP [2014 No. 3270] is suppressed.
What can we all do?
Action: -Complete a complaint to the EU (link is below) - This will be
difficult except for the most informed but not impossible! I have done it. I have also written (last month) to the EU committee on Social Security co-ordination on expat pensioners behalves.
AND/OR: - Send another message to the Works & Pension Select committee. email@example.com
(Clerk's name is Mrs. Carol Oxborough)
You may quote the passage below if it helps you or write something in your own words.
"There is increasing evidence that the Statutory Instrument 2014 No. 3270 issued by the DWP infringes treaty agreements between the
UK and the EU on the matter of Social Security co-ordination. It would be wise to suppress the SI before it causes embarrassment."
Please send it to: - firstname.lastname@example.org
The committee clerk is Mrs. Carol Oxborough.
Footnote: The campaign for justice over the Winter Fuel Allowance goes on. Those of us who give our time to this cause ask for no financial support but we do need your support
to beat this Discrimination against us expats – some who are living on the breadline and depend on this allowance to get through the bitter winter nights suffered here in “so-called” hot countries. Please help us by writing to the DWP along
the lines suggested above. There is nothing to fear from expressing your opinion! Please help to send this divisive piece of legislation to the dustbins of time.