EU citizens in the UK: benefits and pensions in a ‘no deal’ scenario

This guidance explains the rights of EU citizens in the UK to benefits and pensions if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement (a ‘no deal’ scenario).

I am an EU citizen living in the UK. Will I be able to keep claiming benefits?

Yes. EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31 October 2019 will be able to continue receiving UK benefits on broadly the same terms as now.

Will EU citizens still be able to transfer benefits abroad?

Yes, as long as the benefit is already in payment to recipients living in EU countries and recipients still meet entitlement criteria for the benefit concerned. This entitlement may be different in future if domestic policy for UK nationals changes.

Will EU citizens who have private occupational pensions in the UK still be able to receive them abroad?

There is nothing in UK private occupational pensions legislation that prevents occupational pension schemes from making pension payments overseas. We do not expect that this will change as a result of the UK withdrawing from the EU.

Will EU citizens wanting to move to the UK after 31 October 2019 be able to claim benefits?

As set out by the Home Office, EU and Swiss nationals arriving after the UK leaves the EU will be automatically granted entry for an initial 3 months.

Those wishing to stay longer will need to obtain European Temporary Leave to Remain for a further 36 months. Once that leave expires anyone wishing to remain longer will need to apply for, and qualify for, leave to remain under the future immigration system.

This means EU and Swiss nationals arriving after exit (and at the ending of freedom of movement) who have 3 months’ or 36 months’ leave will be entitled to access to social security payments on the same basis as they would have now. This will apply until the future immigration system is introduced by the Home Office in January 2021.

UK and Ireland agreement

The UK government has announced an agreement on social security with Ireland, guaranteeing continued access to State Pension and benefits for UK and Irish citizens and their qualifying family members when in the other’s state.

This means the rights of UK and Irish citizens living and working in each other’s state are protected after the UK leaves the EU – including transferring certain benefits like child benefit and disability benefits – if there’s no deal.

Published 18 December 2018
Last updated 26 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated information about claiming benefits for EU citizens wanting to move to the UK after 12 April 2019.
  2. Added information about the UK's agreement with Ireland on social security rights.
  3. Updated the question about private pensions to clarify these are private occupational pensions.
  4. Updated the answer to the question about whether EU citizens wanting to move to the UK after 29 March 2019 will be able to claim benefits.
  5. First published.