This guidance explains the rights of European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens to UK benefits and pensions.
The UK has left the EU. The EU Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. You must apply as soon as possible. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
Irish citizens living in the UK
You, and members of your family living in the UK, will be able to claim or continue to receive the UK benefits you are entitled to. You will also continue to receive any Irish benefits you remain entitled to while living in the UK.
Other EEA and Swiss citizens
Living in the UK by 31 December 2020
You and your family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to claim or continue receiving UK benefits for as long as you continue to be lawfully resident in the UK and meet the eligibility requirements.
You will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible to remain in the UK and be eligible to claim benefits.
Moving to the UK
If you want to move to the UK you will be able to apply for an immigration status under the skills-based immigration system. The rules on claiming certain UK benefits have changed.
You will still be eligible for a UK State Pension as long as you meet the qualifying conditions.
If you have made social security contributions in the EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 and you are covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement, you can still use these to help you qualify for a UK State Pension.
Moving back to the EEA or Switzerland
If you move back to the EEA or Switzerland and you are covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement, you may still be able to claim certain UK benefits as long as you meet all other eligibility requirements.
Frontier workers covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement
From 1 July 2021 EEA citizens, except for Irish citizens, must have a frontier worker permit to come to the UK to work as a frontier worker. You do not need a frontier worker permit to claim, or continue to receive benefits, but it may help your claim be dealt with more quickly.
For further information on benefits, contact Jobcentre Plus.
For Child Benefit or tax credits, contact HMRC.
UK workplace pensions
UK law allows for workplace pensions to be paid overseas. The government does not expect this to change because the UK has left the EU.
If you have any questions, contact your pension provider.
If your workplace pension is paid into a UK bank account, your bank should contact you if they need to change the way you receive your pension because the UK has left the EU.
Report a complaint to the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements
The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements protects the rights of EU and EEA European Free Trade Area (EFTA) citizens in the UK and Gibraltar. The EEA EFTA countries are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Its purpose is to monitor how public bodies in the UK and Gibraltar implement and apply the citizens’ rights provisions in the:
The IMA is independent of government.
If you think you have not been treated in accordance with the citizens’ rights provisions of the agreements, you can report this to the IMA for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements.
The IMA cannot resolve individual issues or overturn decisions made about your benefit or tax credit claims. You should send your complaint to the relevant government department.
If you disagree with a decision about your benefit, you can ask for the DWP to look at the decision again (mandatory reconsideration).
If you disagree with a decision about your Child Benefit or tax credits, you should ask HMRC to look again at the decision.