Test for `tourist' benefits dropped
Tuesday 01 June 1999
The "habitual residence" test, introduced by the last Tory government, will no longer be applied, in response to the ruling that it was incompatible with the principle of freedom of movement in the European Union.
Under the test, any British subject who spent more than a year abroad was ineligible for social security benefits even if they had built up contributions over many years.
It was brought in by Peter Lilley, a former social security secretary, in an attempt to end so-called "benefit tourism" whereby European nationals would allegedly flock to the UK to take up welfare payments. However, the test caught out many British nationals, particularly black and Asian families, returning from temporary residence abroad.
The phasing out of the test follows the successful challenge in the European Court of Justice by Robin Swadding, one of the estimated 100,000 people left destitute by the changes. Mr Swadding was considered to be ineligible for benefits after working for 15 years in France.
The Department of Social Security has decided that the ruling, made in February, leaves no option but to issue new advice to benefit offices.
An estimated 75 per cent of cases will now be waved through unhindered.
The Government has not formally publicised the new advice, but it has calculated that the change will cost about pounds 10m a year. DSS benefits officers have been told that from the date of the ruling any claimant who "returns to resume previous residence" is automatically deemed habitually resident.
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
Syria's 'circle of hell': Aleppo residents describe children without heads, streets filled with blood and injuries never before witnessed by surgeons
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...