Are the Tories signing the death warrants of expat pensioners?

Pensioners living in EU countries could be facing double jeopardy if the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement, as the Conservatives seem to be planning.

Not only are they likely to lose the “triple lock” system to ensure their pensions rise every year, but those with complex health needs are likely to lose their NHS-supported healthcare.

The EU has repeatedly stated that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed – and nothing has been agreed at the moment. So the triple-lock – ensuring that the UK state pension rises with the rate of inflation, earnings, or at the rate of 2.5 per cent, whichever is higher – and payments from the UK to an EU bank account may be at risk.

There are concerns that this would end with Brexit, meaning pensions for expat Brits would be frozen and they would become poorer in real terms every year.

The DWP has claimed that it is committed to uprating pensions across the EU in 2019 and 2020. After that, it seems, if you’re a pensioner in the EU, you’ll be living on the same money for the rest of your natural life.

UPDATE: I am grateful to commenters (see below) who have pointed out what may be inaccurate information in the original version of this article. I wrote that a commenter on the Vox Political Facebook page pointed out, “There are many British pensioners with complex health needs living in the EU, whose health conditions are supported in their countries of residence under the EHIC [European Health Insurance Card].

“On October 31, if no deal goes through, those people are going to lose their health care. That means they’re either going to have to buy expensive insurance in their countries of residence, bring their health burdens home to the NHS, or die.

“Many of them will die because they have complex health needs and won’t be able to just up-sticks and return to the UK.”

It seems that EHIC is only valid for two years and if a UK citizen is a permanent resident of an EU country, they must sign on for that country’s healthcare scheme, in whatever form it takes.

This means they could still be out of pocket as these schemes cost money. With pensions frozen – and the value of the pound plummeting to a point where some expats are already encountering difficulties – matters could become much worse, very quickly.

Boris Johnson doesn’t seem to care.

So it seems the government could be literally signing UK residents’ death warrants.

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11 thoughts on “Are the Tories signing the death warrants of expat pensioners?

  1. stevedavidh

    The Tories have already normalised the signing of ‘death warrants’.

    Austerity has sentenced 100s & 100s to death via the DWP, NHS, Home Office and Social Care. The Tories must have somehow managed to insulate themselves from the reality of the suffering they have imposed on the vulnerable in our society.

    Either that or they are all psychopaths.

  2. robbo

    If that should happen then apart from those countries where a reciprocal agreement allows for the pension to be index linked, some 600,000 pensioners living in the EEA countries would suffer the same frozen pensions as do another 540,000 who live in countries like Australia, Canada, South Africa, Thailand and over one hundred other overseas territories. This has been successive government policy for over seventy years.

  3. Rik

    I can just imagine the cost savings when this evil old age pension goes up to 75 plus the savings on medical prescriptions . . . one can’t even afford to die nowadays as the costs are so expensive to us “stock” . . .

    What are older people supposed to work at as a living? delivering newspapers, cleaning cars, mowing people’s lawns (as I used to do as a kid) maybe even delivering pizzas
    which requires a driving license etc

    Evil f*****s

  4. Tony Dean

    Mike you should have checked before commenting. Th EHIC card only lasts for two years if you move to Europe.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I got it from a commenter on the Facebook page. What I find interesting is that none of the 40,000-odd followers of that page corrected that person.

      1. Tony Dean

        That is 40000 ill informed people then. The EHIC card is for short stays only, NOT for residency in and EU country. (There is also a lot it does not cover, which is why I take out travel insurance when I go to Europe.

  5. John Brindley

    If you are a UK state pensioners legally resident in the EU, you should not be using a EHIC for routine health care, but, instead, the local health service or private care. This is the nub of it, if that health provision stops, many pensioners will be forced to return to UK putting a disproportionate load on the NHS and social services.

  6. Yann Maenden

    You are not entitled to long term health care with a EHIC card. Once you are resident in another country you must sign up to that country’s health care scheme.
    EHIC only covers temporary travel to another EU state.
    Once you take up residence your current EHIC becomes invalid and you have to request a replacement which is valid for all EU nations EXCEPT THE ONE IN WHICH YOU ARE RESIDENT.
    If you are a pensioner you’re probably entitled to a S1 certificate. But that simply allows your host government to reclaim costs off the UK. It is not, in itself, an entitlement to health care. You still have to join the local scheme.

    Some EU countries have residence based health care. If you are legally resident then you are entitled to health care. Regardless of whether or not you have a EHIC or a S1.
    In some places, such as France, for serious illness this cover extends to 100% of all costs.

    Childish scaremongering does nothing to enhance the credibility of your site.
    A very disappointing and misleading article.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Don’t try to mislead readers. I use the information I’m given and that was the information I was given.

  7. Anders Yuran

    No insurance company will ever insure ongoing medical conditions. So that road is closed also

  8. kipperwacker

    As others have said – socalled expats from the UK in the EU shouldn’t be using EHIC – there’s no need for it as certainly most UK immigrant pensioners I know in France already have a carte vitale. As pensioners I don’t know how their contribution status might change but why not spare a thought for those of us *under* pension age who contribute (at a far higher rate than the equivalent in the UK) to the fr. system with no ‘reciprocity’ in sight (no carte vitale either – after nigh on 10 years)

Comments are closed.