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Topic: Winter Fuel Allowance
User: James (view profile)24 Nov 2008 - 13:56
Can anyone assist me in enabling my wife and myself to claim UK winter fuel allowance? We permanently left UK to live in EEC before January 1998 when the allowance was first granted. We are both in our 70s, and could well do with the benefit of this allowance, as many others here in Spain appear to enjoy. I cannot see the right in making a distinction between others of the same age who are also permanently resident here simply on the basis that they were still resident in UK until after 1998. Some would argue that one does not need a fuel allowance in this climate, but winters here can still be cold and fuel costs are high. Nevertheless, this is surely missing the point. My wife and I paid our taxes and national insurance contributions during all our working lives in order to qualify for state pension rights, and I maintain that being British nationals living in EEC we should be entitled to exactly same benefits as if we were resident in UK. I fail to understand why there is a distinction. I suspect that the advice would be to return to UK and live in rented property for a period in order to permanently qualify,but this would simply be splitting hairs. As I am aware, there are enough false benefit claims being made from here, so I am led to believe, but I am only concerned in making any of mine legitimate.

User: granaina (view profile)24 Nov 2008 - 15:59
I don't think there is anything you can do about it to be honest. The fact that you lose the right to vote in the UK after you've been abroad for 10 years may have something to do with it.

You could try calling the dss overseas people to see if they have any suggestions.

User: James (view profile)26 Nov 2008 - 10:49
I posted the same question to the British Consul in Alicante and received the following reply:-
'Thank you for your email regarding Winter Fuel Allowance in Spain.

There are some benefits that you can claim outside the UK and others that you can claim only if you live in the UK as a permanent resident.

The initial purpose of the Winter Fuel Allowance scheme was to provide help with fuel bills to households in Great Britain, where there is someone aged 60 or over. It has no connection to the UK State Pension or National Insurance contributions.

The criteria for claiming Winter Fuel Allowance outside the UK is that you have to be aged 60 or over, and to have been eligible to claim it at least once in the UK. From what you have said in your email, you moved to Spain before the scheme was introduced, which unfortunately means that you cannot apply for WFA now that you are in Spain.

I hope this helps to answer your question'.
Unfortunately their answer misses the point. I would be quite happy if they could justify the continued payments to UK retirees who have become permanently resident in EEC solely because they happened to be still resident in UK when the allowance was introduced.It is surely discriminatory, and, no doubt, was a result of this corrupt Labour government to win votes from the aged menbers of the population.




User: granaina (view profile)28 Nov 2008 - 09:20
I think its unfair to say it's anything to do with corruption.

It has always been the case that if you move abraod, youdon't get pension increases after you move. It's only discriminatory in the same way that receiving a pension abroad has always been discriminatory, and it *is* colder in the UK after all.

User: foxbat (view profile)29 Jun 2009 - 02:44
Time to revive this hoary old chestnut...

[quote]granaina 'It has always been the case that if you move abraod, youdon't get pension increases after you move. It's only discriminatory in the same way that receiving a pension abroad has always been discriminatory, and it *is* colder in the UK after all.[/quote]

Not so; at least within the EU and Switzerland; the UK State pension increases the same as in the UK...

If you elect to live in Australia or the USA then it is true...no annual increases.

Mind you with the crap exchange rate through the Christmas period we actually were worse off by about 20%.

[quote]Colder in the UK...[/quote]...debateable...maybe true on the coast but certainly not inland; we regularly record temps down to -10C during the period Nov to March (OK we do live halfway up a mountain...) and even now in late June there is still snow in thew higher reaches of the Sierra Nevadas

User: foxbat (view profile)29 Jun 2009 - 02:51
Time to revive this hoary old chestnut...

granaina 'It has always been the case that if you move abraod, youdon't get pension increases after you move. It's only discriminatory in the same way that receiving a pension abroad has always been discriminatory, and it *is* colder in the UK after all.


Not so; at least within the EU and Switzerland; the UK State pension increases the same as in the UK...

If you elect to live in Australia or the USA then it is true...no annual increases.

Mind you with the crap exchange rate through the Christmas period we actually were worse off by about 20%.

Colder in the UK...
...debateable...maybe true on the coast but certainly not inland; we regularly record temps down to -10C during the period Nov to March (OK we do live halfway up a mountain...) and even now in late June there is still snow in thew higher reaches of the Sierra Nevadas

User: granaina (view profile)29 Jun 2009 - 16:48
foxbat, my point is simply that you were aware of these things when you moved. You may not have been aware of the winter fuel payment since it may not have existed, but I don't think it's particularly unfair of the UK govt to deny it to people who emigrated before 97. Spanish pensioner don't get anything like it after all

I didn't realise EU pensioners got the pension increases anyway, but doesn't change the above point.

You were also aware that exchange rates aren't fixed, and the pound was previously seriously overvalued.

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