Moving to and returning from abroad - benefits and services

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1 Guide Guide 5 Moving to and returning from abroad - benefits and services This guide explains how a temporary or permanent move abroad could affect your entitlement to benefits and health care, and what action you can take. It also provides information on how to claim benefits and health care services upon your return to the UK. This guide is aimed at people of or nearing retirement age. Last updated: August 2014 Our free advice service offers expert independent advice on social care, welfare benefits, and befriending schemes. Call to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our advisers or All our free guides and factsheets can be ordered by phone or (as above) or downloaded from

2 Contents Chapter 1: Introduction Page 3-4 Chapter 2: What you need to do before you move abroad Chapter 3: Can I keep my benefits whilst I am abroad? Page 5 Page Bereavement Allowance - Carers Allowance - Council Tax reduction and paying your Council Tax - Disability Benefits: Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance / Personal Independence Payment - Employment and support allowance - Housing Benefit - Pensions Credit - Winter fuel payments Chapter 4: Pensions when you are abroad Page Chapter 5: Healthcare abroad - If you are going abroad temporarily inside the EEA Page If you are going abroad temporarily outside the EEA - If you are moving abroad - Moving permanently to a country in the EEA - Arrangements in particular countries Chapter 6: Social care services abroad Page 23 Chapter 7: If you want to return to the UK Page Chapter 8: Returning to the UK - benefits Page 26 Chapter 9: Returning to the UK health services Page 27 Chapter 10: Returning to the UK housing Page 28 Chapter 11: Returning to the UK social care services and residential care Chapter 12: Summary: key things to remember before you travel Page 29 Page 30 Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 2

3 Chapter 13: Useful contacts Page 31 Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 3

4 Chapter 1: introduction If you are thinking about a long stay abroad, or about moving abroad permanently, it is important to know what will happen to your pension and any benefits you receive whilst you are away, and what will happen if (or when) you return to the UK. How you access healthcare and other services will also be different depending on whether you are just visiting for a while or staying in a country permanently. This guide gives an overview of what you can expect. Good to know What happens to your benefits and healthcare entitlement may be different depending on whether or not you are moving to a country within the European Economic Area (EEA). For example, inside the EEA, you can claim some benefits which you cannot normally claim outside of the UK. The European Economic Area consists of the 28 member states of the EU listed below, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 4

5 The following are European Union countries: Austria Germany Poland Belgium Greece Portugal Bulgaria Hungary Romania Croatia Ireland Slovakia Cyprus Italy Slovenia Czech Republic Latvia Spain Denmark Lithuania Sweden Estonia Luxembourg UK Finland Malta France Netherlands The UK also has benefit agreements with some countries outside of the European Economic Area. You can see details on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website ( dwp.gov.uk/international/social-security-agreements). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 5

6 Chapter 2: what you need to do before you move abroad If you are thinking about moving abroad, you need to: - tell your council, and give the council a forwarding address (e.g for voting purposes). This is especially important if you receive benefits (see below) - tell HM Revenue and Customs, to make sure you pay the right amount of tax once you go abroad ( if calling from the UK) - contact the International Pension Centre ( ) if you are already receiving a state pension or want to know how to claim it once you are abroad (see chapter 4 for information about pensions when you are abroad) - tell your GP and any other NHS departments you are in contact with. If you receive benefits and are planning to leave the UK for more than four weeks, you also need to inform the office that deals with your particular benefit(s). We give details of who to contact for individual benefits in chapter 3. To do... Try to let all the relevant organisations know well before you travel. Tell them in writing if possible, stating why you are leaving the UK and how long you are likely to be away for, and keep a copy of all your letters for your own records. If you go abroad for more than four weeks without telling the relevant benefit offices, this may create a problem in Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 6

7 the future if you are overpaid benefits as a result. You could be fined, and may have to pay back any overpayments. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 7

8 Chapter 3: can I keep receiving my benefits whilst I am abroad? Each benefit has different rules about how long you can receive it while you are abroad. As a general rule, benefits which are means tested (related to your income) cannot be received when you move abroad. In this section, we cover: - Bereavement Allowance (page 7) - Carers Allowance (page 7-8) - Council Tax reduction (page 8-9) - Disability Benefits: Attendance Allowance Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment (page 9-10) - Employment and Support Allowance (page 10-11) - Housing Benefit (page 11) - Pension Credit (page 12) - Winter fuel payment (page 12-13). Good to know than if you leave permanently. If you leave the country on a temporary basis you are often entitled to more benefits If you are moving abroad permanently Once you know which benefits you can continue getting, you need to decide whether to continue payment into your UK bank, building society or Post Office account, or into the account of a nominated person who lives in the UK. Benefits may also be payable into a bank account held Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 8

9 abroad, but you need to check with the office making the payments. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 9

10 1. Bereavement Allowance If you move to an EEA country, Switzerland or Gibraltar, Bereavement Allowance can be paid to you while you are abroad however long you stay. You may also be able to claim it in other countries. To do... Before you move abroad, you should tell the International Pension Centre about your plans so they can arrange for you to keep getting this benefit ( , gov.uk/international-pension-centre). 2. Carer s Allowance You can continue to receive your Carer s Allowance if you go abroad for four weeks or less. This normally applies even if you are going without the person you care for, but you should check with the Carer s Allowance Unit (see below) as this can depend on your individual situation. You will also keep getting Carer s Allowance for up to 26 weeks if you go abroad in order to care for someone who gets Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (see pages 9-10 about these benefits). If you are moving to an EEA country or Switzerland, you may be able to keep getting Carer s Allowance for longer than this. To find out what you may be entitled to, write a letter or outlining your circumstances to the Exportability Team (see details below). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 10

11 To do... Make sure that you tell the Carer s Allowance Unit before you go ( ) if you are going away for more than four weeks. If you are moving more permanently, contact the Exportability Team at the Department for Work and Pensions ( or write to: Exportability Team Room C216 Pension, Disability and Carers Service Warbreck House, Warbreck Hill Road Blackpool FY2 0YE 3. Council Tax reduction and paying your Council Tax whilst abroad You may still have to pay Council Tax even if you go abroad. However, properties which are empty and substantially unfurnished may be exempt from council tax for up to six months. After that time, they may qualify for up to a 50% discount on Council Tax, depending on your local council s policy. If someone in your household goes abroad, their absence may reduce your Council Tax bill as, for example, people living alone are entitled to a 25% reduction in their Council Tax bill. For more information about exemptions and discounts, speak to your local council tax office or visit the government website ( gov.uk/council-tax/working-out-your-council-tax ). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 11

12 Council Tax reduction If you get a reduction in your Council Tax bill, you will need to talk to the council about what will happen to this reduction if you go abroad. Local councils can set their own rules about this. To do... Make sure you speak to the council tax department before you go to find out where you stand. 4. Disability Benefits: Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment If you are going abroad temporarily, you can keep claiming benefits for up to 13 weeks. If your trip is for medical treatment, you may be able to be away for up to 26 weeks without your benefit being affected. If you are moving permanently to an EEA country or Switzerland, you may be able to continue to receive Attendance Allowance, the care component of your Disability Living Allowance, or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). In some cases, this may also be possible if you move outside of the EEA. To do... If you are going away temporarily, contact the relevant benefit helpline to let them know before you leave the UK. You must get agreement in advance from the DWP if you want your benefit to be paid Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 12

13 for more than 13 weeks because you are going away for medical treatment. - Attendance Allowance helpline: Disability Living Allowance helpline: Personal Independence Payment helpline: If you are moving more permanently, contact the Exportability Team at the DWP by ( or by post: Exportability Co-ordinator, Room C216, Pension, Disability and Carers Service, Warbreck House, Warbreck Hill Road, Blackpool FY2 0YE. 5. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Employment and Support Allowance has replaced Incapacity Benefit. Wherever you go, you can keep getting ESA (either income-related or contribution-based) for up to four weeks. You could get contribution-based ESA for up to 26 weeks if you are going abroad for medical treatment. If you are moving to an EEA country or Switzerland, you could keep getting contribution-based ESA as usual, as long as you have made enough National Insurance contributions. This may also apply to some other countries with have a social security agreement with the UK. You can contact the International Pensions Centre for advice ( ). If you live abroad permanently and receive ESA, The International Pension Centre will write to you when your claim for ESA is going to be reviewed. It will send you a medical questionnaire to reassess your condition. If they then decide that you must attend a face-to-face Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 13

14 assessment with a medical professional, they will arrange an appointment for you in the country where you live. You can also choose to return to the UK for the assessment. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 14

15 To do... However long you are going for, tell the DWP before you go ( , gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus). Good to know Employment and Support Allowance is expected to be replaced by the new system of Universal Credit by Housing Benefit If you receive Housing Benefit and you go abroad, you can continue to get this as long as you intend to return home within 13 weeks, and you do not sublet your property while you are away. This can be extended to up to 52 weeks if you are receiving medical treatment, convalescence or care abroad. If the council believes that you have been away for over 13 weeks (or 52 weeks for those receiving medical treatment), your benefit may stop. To do... benefit. You must contact the housing department at your council before you go. You will need to tell the council if your income will decrease when you go abroad so they can adjust your Good to know Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 15

16 Housing Benefit is expected to be replaced by the new system of Universal Credit by Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 16

17 7. Pension Credit If you are going abroad temporarily, you can get Pension Credit for up to 13 weeks. If you are going abroad for medical treatment under the NHS, you can keep getting Pension Credit for as long as you are being treated. You cannot continue to get Pension Credit if you move abroad more permanently. To do You should tell the Pensions Service if you go abroad ( ). This also applies if you are receiving Pension Credit as a couple and your partner goes abroad without you. Depending on the circumstances, this could affect how much Pension Credit you get. 8. Winter fuel payments If you qualify for this benefit and you are moving to another country within the EEA or Switzerland, you can keep getting payments when you have moved. In some circumstances, you can also receive winter fuel payments if you move to Gibraltar. If you have never claimed before, you can make a new claim once you are abroad (in the EEA or Switzerland), as long as: - You were born on or before 5 July 1952 (for winter ) Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 17

18 - you have a link to the social security system (for example, you have lived and worked in the UK, or receive a State Retirement Pension or other benefits). For winter 2014/15, make your claim before 31 March To do... If you already get winter fuel payments, you should contact the organisation that usually makes these payments to tell them about your plans to go abroad. You should find their contact details on any letters that they have sent to you. If you need any help or advice, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Team at the International Pension Centre if calling from the UK To make a new claim for winter fuel payments from outside the UK call +44 (0) From within the UK, call You can also find a claim form on the government website ( gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/how-to-claim). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 18

19 Chapter 4. pensions when you go abroad Once you start receiving State Retirement Pension, you can receive it abroad for as long as you wish. However, you will only be entitled to an annual increase in your State Pension if the country you are going to is: - a European Union (EU) country, or in the European Economic Area (EEA) see pages any other country with which Britain has an uprating agreement to give an annual increase, e.g - Guernsey, Jersey, Malta, the USA, Turkey, Mauritius, and the former Yugoslav states. To do... Contact the International Pension Centre ( , gov.uk/international-pension-centre) to talk about your plans and find out how your pension will be affected in the country you plan to move to. The International Pension Centre can advise the local Pension Service offices of your plans when necessary. Make sure you have your National Insurance number when you call. If you are not yet claiming your state pension If you are living abroad before you start receiving your state pension, you should be sent a form to fill in four months before you reach state pension age. If you do not receive this form, contact the International Pensions Centre (+44 (0) ). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 19

20 To do... If you are planning to go abroad before your retirement age, you may want to find out how much State Retirement Pension you will receive before you go. A pension forecast is available if you live in the UK and are more than 30 days away from your State Retirement Pension age. You will need to fill in the State Pension Forecast form (BR19), which you can get from your local Job Centre or the Future Pension Centre ( ). You can also apply for a pension forecast online ( gov.uk/state-pension/what-youll-get). Once you are living abroad, you can contact the Future Pensions Centre ( ) for a State Pension forecast and information about your National Insurance contributions, as long as you are up to four months away from reaching your UK pension age. War Pensions You can usually continue receiving a War Pension if you decide to go and live anywhere in the world. When you live abroad you receive the same amount of War Pension and the same general increases as war pensioners who live in the UK. To do... Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 20

21 If you receive a War Pension and intend to live abroad for more than three months, you should inform Veterans UK ( , veterans-uk.info). You will need to complete form WPA0168. They will then tell you how they will pay your War Pension to you once you are abroad. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 21

22 Chapter 5: healthcare abroad Staying temporarily in countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) If you are temporarily visiting a country in the EEA (see page 3-4), you can get medical treatment should you need it using a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to the same state healthcare as a resident of that country. To do... Make sure you have an EHIC before you go. Contact the NHS application service ( ) to get a form, or fill in the form online ( nhs.uk/nhsengland/healthcareabroad/ehic/pages/aboutthe-ehic.aspx). You should then receive your EHIC within seven days. The EHIC is valid for five years so it is important to check it is still valid before travelling out of the UK. If you lose your EHIC while abroad, you can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) which will provide the same level of entitlement to healthcare until you return to the UK. To apply for a PRC while abroad, contact the Overseas Healthcare Team ( ). Good to know Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 22

23 Some EEA countries expect patients to pay something towards their treatment, although it is sometimes possible to receive a refund for this extra cost once you are back in the UK. You may still need to take out private medical or travel insurance to cover some of those aspects of healthcare which are not covered by the EHIC. Staying temporarily in countries outside of the EEA The cost of healthcare for visitors to non-eea countries depends on whether the UK has a healthcare agreement with that country. Where there is such an agreement, the cost of emergency or immediate treatment is covered. Healthcare in any other part of a hospital is not covered and you will have to pay for this yourself. It also does not cover the cost of returning you to the UK after medical treatment or routine monitoring of pre-existing conditions. If there is no healthcare agreement between the country you are staying in and the UK, you must pay for all healthcare provided. To do... Check whether the UK has a healthcare agreement with the country you are planning to travel to. You can see details on the NHS Choices website ( nhs.uk/nhsengland/healthcareabroad/countryguide/nonee Acountries/Pages/Non-EEAcountries.aspx). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 23

24 When you stay in any non-eea country, it is recommended that you take out private medical or travel insurance make sure you check exactly what is covered in the policy. Good to know You cannot generally travel to another country with the intention of having medical treatment, unless this has been pre-arranged. Contact your local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group or NHS England ( , england.nhs.uk) before making any arrangements. If you are moving abroad It is worth finding out about the healthcare system of the country where you plan to settle. Even if you move within the EEA, the healthcare system may not cover all the costs or provide all the services you would normally expect from the NHS in the UK. The UK has special healthcare agreements with some countries (such as Gibraltar), but again, this may not cover everything that you might expect of the NHS. To do... Have a look at the information about healthcare in each country on NHS website ( nhs.uk/nhsengland/healthcareabroad/movingabroad/pages /Introduction.aspx). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 24

25 Or if you re planning to move to an EEA country, you can contact the Overseas Healthcare Team ( ). If you're planning to move to a non EEA country, you can contact the HMRC Centre for non-residents ( ) for information about any healthcare agreements that the UK has with that country for people who move permanently. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 25

26 Private medical insurance Wherever you are moving to, you are advised to take out private medical insurance to pay for any costs not covered by the healthcare system of that country. This might include dental treatment, ambulance services, prescription charges or medical repatriation to the UK. Good to know Once you have moved permanently to another country, you will no longer be entitled to non-emergency medical treatment in the UK. This is because the NHS is a residence-based healthcare system. You will lose your entitlement to NHS treatment once you have been gone for three months (or six months if you are a pensioner and you have moved to a country in the EEA). Moving permanently to a country in the EEA Once you have moved permanently to an EEA country, you will no longer be able to use your EHIC card to get healthcare treatment. If you are moving to a country within the EEA and you are getting UK State Retirement Pension, you will need to complete an S1 form to access the healthcare system. If you are living in Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you will need an E121 form. You should then be able to receive the same level of free or reduced cost healthcare as other pensioners living in your adopted country. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 26

27 If you are not receiving state pension, you are not able to complete an S1 or E121 form. This means you will not have access to the healthcare system like other residents of that country. To do if you are receiving state pension... You should contact the International Pension Centre ( ) to ask for the form you need before you go. You should then hand in the S1 or E121 form as soon as possible to the authorities who run the health insurance scheme in the country you have moved to. To do if you are not yet receiving state pension... Contact the Overseas Healthcare Team for advice ( ). It will even more important to have private medical insurance if you move abroad before you are receiving your state pension. Arrangements in particular countries France If you will not have an S1 form, you can contact the Caisse Primaire Assurance Maladie (CPAM) for advice, using their English language service ( if calling from UK, or if calling in France; ameli.fr). Or you can call the Overseas Medical Benefits helpline (+44 (0) ). French healthcare is generally paid for in advance and the patient is then reimbursed by CPAM for about 70% of the cost. The balance is paid by the patient or by private health insurance. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 27

28 Gibraltar The UK has a special agreement on healthcare with Gibraltar, which is outside the EEA. If you receive a UK State Pension and are planning to live in Gibraltar, then any medical treatment will be paid for by the Gibraltarian authorities without requiring insurance contributions. However, you will have to pay prescription charges. Switzerland Switzerland is not a member of the EEA, but you are allowed to access Swiss health care as a UK national. You should ask if the doctor is registered with the Swiss public health service when receiving treatment, and show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You will normally have to pay the full cost for treatment and services, and claim a refund afterwards. You can get further advice by phoning the Overseas Health Team ( or if calling from abroad ), or from the NHS Choices website ( nhs.uk/nhsengland/healthcareabroad/countryguide/pages/ healthcareinswitzerland.aspx). The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man There is no longer a reciprocal health agreement between the UK and the Channel Islands (including Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney), or with the Isle of Man. This means that UK visitors to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man now need to take out private health insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment on the islands. Differences in Spain Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 28

29 If you are planning to move to Spain, you will not be entitled to free healthcare until you have a S1 form, which is registered with the local social security office. However, the social security and health authorities may not register your S1 form until you have received your residency permit. You may need to provide a copy of the residency application form when you register your S1 form. Temporary healthcare would be provided until a decision is made on the residency application. You will need to apply for an official medical card at the local Spanish social security office before treatment, if you wish to be treated under the EEA rules and if you have applied for the S1 form. To get a refund of any costs incurred in the meantime, you will need to claim from the Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (INSS) once you have your forms. You can find a list of local social security offices in Spain on the website seg-social.es and by requesting the English language information page. Questions about accessing the Spanish healthcare system can be directed to the Pension Benefit and Healthcare Team in Spain ( ). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 29

30 Chapter 6: social care services abroad You may need to check what social care services you could expect to receive in your adopted country should you ever need care at home or in a care home. There are no arrangements for receiving social care abroad like there is for healthcare. State social care varies greatly from country to country and may not exist in some countries where families remain the main providers of support. Private care homes may be expensive, or you may find that staff and residents speak little English and the culture could be very different from what you are used to. You may want to consider whether you would move back to the UK if you thought you were going to end up needing social care support (see chapter 11). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 30

31 Chapter 7: if you want to return to the UK If you are returning to live in the UK, you will need to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and sort out your tax affairs both in the UK and the country you are leaving. Changes to your residence status may affect the tax you pay. To do... Call the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Residency Helpline if you re going to return to the UK after living or retiring abroad ( from within the UK, from outside the UK). Accessing services in the UK If you need to access benefits or certain council services when you return to the UK, you may need to have a Habitual Residence Test. The test is to check that you intend to stay in the UK, and are not simply coming back to make use of certain services. If you are not a UK national, then the test is also to check whether you have the right to live in the UK. Habitual Residence Test your intent to stay in the UK It can be difficult to prove that you intend to settle in the UK. The sort of things that the decision maker will look at include: - how long you have been in the UK, and how long you intend to stay (usually, you need to have been back in Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 31

32 the UK for at least three months to be consider habitually resident, but this depends on individual circumstances) - your reasons for returning - how much your life is based in the UK (such as whether you own property in the UK, you have family in the UK, and you ve registered with a GP and dentist). You will be given a form to fill in, and it is important that you give as much evidence as possible to back up what you say in this form. This could include: - proof of when you arrived in the UK, eg. travel tickets - proof that you've sold a property abroad or given up a tenancy - documents to show you own or rent property in the UK. The Habitual Residence Test can be carried out by your local council, the Department for Work and Pensions, or HM Revenue and Customs. Good to know Government guidance suggests that UK nationals who have strong connections with the UK, such as family ties or past work history, should be treated as habitually resident without needing to go through the test, but this may depend on your individual circumstances. To do... If you are asked to complete a Habitual Residence Test and feel that you need support with this, you can contact your local Citizens Advice, or call their national Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 32

33 phone service ( in England, in Wales, in Scotland). If you fail the test, you have the right to appeal. Make sure you get advice from a local Citizens Advice, or you can call the Independent Age advice line on Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 33

34 Chapter 8: returning to the UK - Benefits If you have just returned to the UK and wish to claim benefits, your eligibility to do so will depend on one or more of the following: - the National Insurance (NI) contributions you have paid during your working life - the NI contributions you have paid for a particular period of time - whether you live in the UK now - whether you usually live in the UK - why you have come to or returned to live in the UK - whether your entry to the UK is subject to limitations or conditions. If you apply for benefits within two years of returning to the UK after living abroad, you may be asked to complete Habitual Residence Test (see chapter 7) to establish whether your return to the UK is intended to be permanent. This applies if you wish to claim for any of the following benefits: - Income Support - Income-based Jobseeker s Allowance - Pension Credit - Housing and Council Tax Benefits. - Attendance Allowance - Carer s Allowance - Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment - Income related Employment and Support Allowance - Universal Credit. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 34

35 Chapter 9: returning to the UK health services People who do not live permanently in the UK are not automatically entitled to free NHS hospital treatment, even if they have a British Passport or have lived in the UK and paid National Insurance and taxes in the past. If you have lived abroad for more than three months (or six months for pensioners living in another EEA member state), you may lose your entitlement to free NHS treatment until you can show evidence that you intend to resettle in the UK. To do... As soon as you have a permanent UK address, make sure you register with a GP as soon as possible so that you can access health services as a resident. If you are just visiting the UK If you usually live in an EEA country and are visiting the UK, you should show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If your EHIC is lost or stolen, contact the Overseas Healthcare Team ( ) If you are visiting from a non-eea country, with which the UK has no healthcare agreement (see chapter 5), you will usually be expected to pay for medical treatment. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 35

36 Good to know If you are a UK pensioner who lives for at least half of the year in the UK, and spends the rest of the year in another EEA country (as a non-resident), you are entitled to free hospital treatment when you are in the UK. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 36

37 Chapter 10: returning to the UK - housing Housing can be provided by councils, housing associations and private landlords. Councils and housing associations may be unable to give priority to people returning from abroad due to the heavy demand and shortages of housing in many areas. Councils have to provide emergency accommodation to certain homeless people, but the law excludes some people from having access to council housing if they have just moved to the UK from abroad. Contact your local council when you are back in the UK to see where you stand. You may have to rent accommodation privately or move in temporarily with friends or relatives if you no longer have a home in the UK. To do... If you need help to find suitable housing, you can contact the Elderly Accommodation Counsel ( , housingcare.org). They can provide you with details of care homes, sheltered housing schemes and extra care housing schemes across the UK. You could also contact the Abbeyfield Society ( , abbeyfield.com), which is a charity which provides housing with care for older people. See our guides for more information about types of housing available in the UK: Housing decisions and options in later life (Guide 7) and Extra care housing (Guide 30). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 37

38 Chapter 11: returning to the UK social care services and residential care If you need help arranging or paying for social care support in the UK, you need to show that you are ordinarily resident in a council s area. This means having a local address and being registered as a resident with the council and/or a local GP. You can then contact your council s social services department and ask for a needs assessment. Good to know If you are in need of an urgent help from social services before you have settled in an area permanently, the council in the area where you are staying has a duty to carry out an emergency assessment. For more information about assessments, social services and residential care, see our guides: Assessment and services from your local council in England (Guide 12), Care Home Fees: Paying them in England (Guide 16) and Help at Home: what may be available in your local area (Guide 14). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 38

39 Chapter 12: summary key things to remember before you travel - Find out as much as you can about the country you are moving to, including what healthcare you are entitled to, what accommodation is available, and any customs you should be aware of. - Inform all the offices that will need to know that you are going away, for example, local council and DWP offices that pay your pension and benefits (see chapter 2). Try to do this well in advance. - Take out the travel insurance you will need, including separate health insurance to cover your health needs if you are moving permanently (especially to a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). - If you are travelling within the EEA, make sure you have applied for a European Health Insurance Card, or filled in the S1 or E121 form if you are retired and are moving permanently. Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 39

40 Chapter 13: useful contacts General information about moving abroad For more information about moving abroad on a permanent basis, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office produces a booklet called Going to Live Abroad ( , fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/living-overseas/) The government has also produced lots of online information for people considering a move abroad: - For benefits information gov.uk/claim-benefits-abroad - For pensions information gov.uk/state-pension-if-you-retire-abroad - Health information nhs.uk/nhsengland/healthcareabroad Information about a move to a particular country The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also produced some useful guides about living in particular countries ( gov.uk/government/collections/overseas-living-in-guides). If you are unsure about anything that you have read in this guide and would like to talk to someone about it, ring our advice service to speak to one of our expert advisers ( ). Guide 5: Moving to and returning from abroad 40

41 This guide is not a full explanation of the law and is aimed at people aged over 60. If you need any of this information in another format (such as large-print or Braille), please contact our Information Manager on or If you have found our advice useful, please consider supporting us by raising money, volunteering or making a donation. We receive no state funding and rely on support from individuals, trusts and other sources to continue providing our services to hundreds of thousands of people in need. For further information on how to support us, please see our website independentage.org or call Independent Age Independent Age 6 Avonmore Road London W14 8RL View our page on Facebook T E Advice line Follow us on Independent Age is the operating name of the Royal United Kingdom Beneficent Association Registered charity number

Moving to and returning from abroad - benefits and services

Moving to and returning from abroad - benefits and services Factsheet Moving to and returning from abroad - benefits and services This factsheet explains how a temporary or permanent move abroad could affect your entitlement to benefits and health care, and what

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