Changes have been made to welfare payments as a result of Brexit. These changes took effect from the 1st January 2021 and are impacting things such as Universal Credit, Child Benefit and pensions.
Universal credit is a benefit payment for people who are either unemployed or receive low income.
Due to Brexit, a benefits ban has been put in place. This means that anyone coming to the UK from abroad will not be able to claim Universal Credit for five years.
This ban will affect non-EU migrants as well as EU migrants. However, it will not affect citizens from the EU that were already living in the UK before 1st January 2021.
Child Benefit is a payment made to any adult responsible for bringing up a child who is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 20 if they stay in approved education or training).
The ban that has been put in place for Universal Credit has also been put in place for Child Benefit, meaning that anyone coming to the UK will not be eligible for Child Benefit for five years.
Again, this ban will affect non-EU migrants as well as EU migrants but will not affect EU citizens that were living in the UK before 1st January 2021.
According to the DWP, if you are a UK citizen already living in the EU and are claiming a UK State Pension, you’ll still be entitled to receive these payments as normal.
The same goes for anyone moving from the UK to live in the EU, EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland after 1st January 2021. They’ll still be able to make a claim or continue to receive their UK State Pension.
Social Security contributions that have been made in EU countries will also be considered when applying for a UK state pension.
For those in the EU, pensions will be increased yearly in line with the rates that are paid in the UK.
Winter Fuel Payment
Winter Fuel Payment is a benefit paid to people who were born on or before 5th October 1954. If you’re eligible then you can receive a one-off payment of between £100 and £300 each year to cover heating costs throughout the winter months.
You don’t need to apply for it, as you’ll automatically receive it if you already get the state pension or are in receipt of another Social Security benefit (not including Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Child Benefit).
However, the DWP have confirmed that EU migrants who arrive in the UK after 1st January 2021 will not be eligible for this benefit.
The rules around benefits have also changed for people living in the UK who are thinking of moving to the EU. In this instance, the benefits you might be eligible for are:
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Maternity Allowance
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Statutory Paternity Pay
- Bereavement Support Payment (and other bereavement benefits)
- Industrial Injuries Benefits.
If you continue to pay National Insurance contributions while you are working outside of the UK, you may still be eligible for benefits for the duration of time you are back in the UK. You can find out more about Social Security contributions here.
How can you protect yourself
There are some things you should consider doing to protect yourself during this time.
- If you decide to move to the EU, make sure the government office that deals with your benefits or pension is aware that you are moving.
- Be sure to find out what the Social Security rules are in the country you are moving to. You can find more information on that here.
- Get information on which benefits you’ll be entitled to if you move abroad.
- Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. The deadline is 30th June 2021. To apply you must have been living in the UK before 1st January 2021.
- If you weren’t living in the UK before 1st January 2021 but are wanting to move to the UK, then you can apply via the skills-based immigration system.
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