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| Siobhan Owers | Iskra Nikolic Uskokovic

Brexit: Social security rights of UK and Irish citizens

A ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario would have significant and far-reaching consequences for the social security entitlement of EU citizens ...

A ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario would have significant and far-reaching consequences for the social security entitlement of EU citizens who have worked or lived in the UK, and British citizens who have worked or lived in another EU member state.

On 4 February 2019, the UK Government agreed on a deal to protect social security rights of UK and Irish citizens living and working in each other’s state.

Key Points

One of the major principles of the Social Security coordination rules set out in EU Regulation 883/2004, is to ensure people receive the full benefit of contributions they have made.

If Brexit ends in ‘No Deal’, EU workers in the UK and British workers in an EU member state could lose their existing Social Security protections under the current reciprocal agreements, essentially becoming third country nationals overnight not eligible to benefit from free movement.

In a continued bid to honour the rights associated with the Common Travel Area, which pre-dates Irish and UK membership of the EU, 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.

The agreement ensures that the rights of UK and Irish citizens living and working in each other’s state are protected after the UK leaves the EU. The aim of the agreement is to eliminating double social security taxation and ensure that workers pay into one social security scheme at a time.

It will also help by filling the gaps in benefit protection for workers who have divided careers between the UK and Ireland and that social security contributions paid by UK and Irish citizens can be used to meet entitlement criteria for accessing benefits in each other’s state.

A provision of the agreement will also allow workers who are making social security contributions under each country’s regime, to export certain benefits between the UK and Ireland.

Outcome

Following Brexit, with this agreement the UK and Irish citizens will have access to each country ’s state benefits, providing for aggregation of the contributions required for entitlement of the benefits and being able to export these in the UK and Ireland.

 

For any social security related questions, please contact us: fragomensocsec@fragomen.com or Siobhan Owers at SOwers@Fragomen.com or Iskra Nikolic Uskokovic at INikolicUskokovic@Fragomen.com