Complaint from Spain with a reply from UK minister for pensions

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February 23

Hola CB News,

I am a UK pensioner living in Spain. I have lived and worked here for 25 years.

I also paid voluntary NI payments in UK so I had 44 years in the system. I was chatting to my elderly aunt in the UK and she mentioned Cost of Living Payments.

I had no idea what this entailed so had a bit of a delve. I wondered why UK pensioners living in Spain don’t receive any. Two missives were sent to what would still be my MP in Shipley.

I cannot fault the man as he sent both my letters to the relevant minister and then forwarded the replies. The first reply was a load of waffle, but there again, I did moan a bit.

The second was a more direct question. I asked, “are there any UK pensioners in the EU who receive both Winter Fuel Allowance and Cost of Living Payments?”.

I know we don’t qualify in Spain for Winter Fuel Allowance and very grudgingly accept that.

However, to link the Cost of Living Payment to the Winter Fuel Payment is just not on. There is no connection at all between the two.

Another case of expat pensioners who just happen to live here being diddled. I came to live and work here 25 years ago as a benefit of being in the EU. I bought my house 42 years ago. It’s gone a bit awry for us after Brexit.

I really feel strongly over this and will be taking it further. I thought it would be of interest to you. I attach the reply from HM Government,

Saludos cordiales,
David Hardiman

Dear Philip,
Thank you for your further letter of 13 February on behalf of Mr David Hardiman about Winter Fuel Payments paid alongside Cost of Living Payments, to UK pensioners residing in the EEA.
Winter Fuel Payments for 2022/23 and 2023/24 were paid at an increased amount for winters 2022/23 and 2023/24 to include a pensioner Cost of Living Payment of £300 per household. This increased Winter Fuel Payments to £500 to a household with someone of state pension age and £600 to a household with someone aged 80 and over.
Winter Fuel Payments can be paid to people in the EEA and Switzerland as long as they have a genuine and sufficient link with the UK and moved to an eligible country before January 1, 2021.
As you are aware, Winter Fuel Payments are no longer payable in EEA countries (and associated territories) where the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK (South West England), which includes Spain.
Similarly, Cost of Living Payments are made within these same guidelines.
Yours ever,
Paul Maynard MP (Minister for Pensions)

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