Expats lose disability payout fight

Geoff Meade,Pa
Thursday 05 May 2011 11:08 BST

Britons fighting to keep full disability benefits despite moving abroad lost their legal claim in the European Court of Justice today.

The Luxembourg judges ruled that part of the Disability Living Allowance cannot be "exported" when recipients move to another EU country.

Under EU rules on social security, invalidity benefits cannot be stopped simply because the recipient is living in another member state - but "special non-contributory benefits" may be linked to residency and withheld.

Originally the UK Government declared the whole of the Disability Living Allowance - made up of "care" and "mobility" components - as a special non-contributory benefit and therefore not exportable.

Then in 2007 the European Court ruled that the "care" element, along with the "Carer's Allowance" and "Attendance Allowance", counted as a sickness benefit and was therefore payable to Britons elsewhere in the EU.

But the judges also ruled that the "mobility" part was not exportable.

Today's case challenging the distinction was brought by three recipients now living abroad and named in court documents as Ralph James Bartlett, Natalio Gonzalez Ramos, and Jason Michael Taylor.

Their entire Disability Living Allowance was stopped when they left the UK and partially reinstated under the 2007 EU ruling.

But today they learnt they would not be getting full reinstatement of payments.

The verdict said EU rules "allow the award of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance to be made subject to conditions as to residence and presence in Great Britain".

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