UK Nationals – Claiming UK Pension & Welfare Benefits in Tenerife
Last updated: 18th February 2020
Contents of this page:
1. I’m off to Tenerife – Who should I inform?
2. Can I claim my UK State Pension from Tenerife?
3. What type of UK State Benefits can I claim whilst in Tenerife?
An estimated 60,000 UK Nationals either live permanently in Tenerife or spend a considerable part of the year here. Many are elderly, disabled or seriously ill.
Most medical experts generally accept that the climate in Tenerife is particularly beneficial for those suffering from a range of debilitating conditions. But often sunshine and relaxation are not enough. What happens when you also need financial help? Will the UK government provide any assistance to UK nationals living in Spain?
Well, depending on your individual circumstances, the answer is often YES.
First and foremost, it should be noted that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement ensures that all current rights for UK Nationals visiting or living in Spain will CONTINUE UNCHANGED for the duration of the transition period (i.e. until 31st December 2020). Better still, rights to claim UK State Pensions abroad will continue even further until 30th June 2021.
What happens after those dates depends entirely on whether the UK and EU can successfully negotiate a Deal, or alternatively if the UK finally leaves with No Deal. We will publish further updates on this as soon as there is new information available.
As Tenerife is part of Spain (an European Economic Area country), UK nationals may be entitled to claim both UK based benefits AND benefits whilst staying in or living in Tenerife, depending on their individual circumstances.
I’m off to Tenerife – Who should I inform?
If you are planning to move to Tenerife (or EU countries in general), you should inform both HMRC and if applicable, your local UK Jobcentre Plus that pays any current benefits you receive. This is a legal requirement so that they can calculate your correct benefits and entitlements whilst living in Tenerife. Failure to do so may be considered ‘Benefit Fraud’ and can carry serious consequences, including possible criminal proceedings against you.
To inform HMRC and JobCentre Plus, here is a LINK with more information together the P85 Form that you will need to complete. Please note that once you spend more than 6 months outside of the UK in any tax year, you are considered a Non-UK Tax Resident. From that point onwards, HMRC are only concerned with your earnings and income that accrue inside the UK (i.e. Spanish earnings or rental income are ignored by HMRC). Instead, you will then become tax resident in Spain and will be required to declare your worldwide tax affairs to the Spanish taxman. However, there are ‘double taxation’ agreements in place to ensure that you don’t pay the same tax in both countries. See our taxation page HERE for more information on this and other taxes payable in Tenerife.
You may also have a decision as to whether to continue paying voluntary UK National Insurance contributions. Continuing to pay voluntarily and top up your contributions may be a good idea if you envisage returning to the UK in the future, or if you plan to claim a UK State Pension when you reach retirement age. For more information on how UK National Insurance works when you go abroad, click HERE
In order to claim reciprocal benefits in Tenerife, you will need to obtain a National Insurance Statement from HMRC. The procedure and forms are available HERE
Can I claim my UK State Pension from Tenerife?
The answer is YES. However, you must choose ONE country in which you want the pension paid to you. You cannot alternate between different countries throughout the year. You can choose to be paid into your UK or Tenerife nominated bank account either every 4 or every 13 weeks. If its in Tenerife, you will be paid locally in Euros, subject to the bank nominated exchange rate.
To check your current personal UK state pension entitlement and the date from which you can claim any such pension, you can apply for a certificate HERE
Which types of UK State Benefits can I claim whilst in Tenerife?
There are currently 3 types of Jobseekers Allowance, namely:
- ‘new style’ JSA
- contribution-based JSA
- income-based JSA
Upon moving to or staying in Tenerife, you can claim the first two types of JSA (but NOT income based JSA) for up to 3 months, provided that you:
- are entitled to it on the day you go abroad
- register as a jobseeker at least 4 weeks before you leave
- are looking for work in the UK up to the day you leave
- are going abroad to look for work
- register at the equivalent of a Jobcentre in the country you’re going to
- follow the other country’s rules on registering and looking for work
To claim JSA, you should contact your local Jobcentre Plus, as there may be forms to fill out. CLICK HERE
2. Maternity and Childcare Benefits
You can claim Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from Tenerife if you:
a) work for a UK based employer and you carry out that work from the UK or in Tenerife;
b) work for any EEA or Swiss employer who has voluntarily agreed to pay your UK National Insurance contributions.
To check your overall eligibility for SMP, click HERE
3. Illness, Injury and Disability Benefits
a) Statutory Sick Pay
You can claim this if:
- you work for a UK employer in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
- you work outside the EEA but your employer voluntarily pays UK National Insurance contributions for you
To check your general eligibility for SSP, click HERE
b) Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
You can claim this in Tenerife for up to 4 weeks from when you leave the UK.
If you leave the UK to stay in Tenerife or more than 4 weeks, you may be able to claim contribution based ESA for up to 26 weeks, if you are visiting Tenerife for medical treatment for you or your child.
Finally, you may even be entitled to ESA for more than a year, provided that your National Insurance contributions are high enough.
To check your eligibility for ESA generally, click HERE
c) Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit (IIDB)
If you are already claiming IIDB following a workplace injury, you can continue to claim this benefit whilst in Tenerife, Spain or any other EEA country. To check if you are eligible for IIDB, click HERE
d) Benefits for Carers & People with Disabilities
The entitlement to these benefits whilst in Tenerife depends on exactly what you are currently claiming and how long you leave the UK for. You can claim the following benefits for up to 13 weeks in Tenerife (or 26 weeks if you are in Tenerife for medical treatment):
[click on any of the above for more information]
You can also continue to claim Carer’s Allowance for up to 4 weeks in Tenerife, Spain or other EEA country out of any 26 week period during the tax year. However, you MUST tell the benefits office the details and length of your trip.
Claiming the above benefits when moving to Tenerife permanently
You or a family member may be able to claim the above benefits if you currently:
- work in the UK or pay National Insurance in the UK because of work
- have paid enough National Insurance to qualify for contribution-based benefits
- are getting State Pension, Industrial Injuries Benefit, contribution-based ESA or bereavement benefits
If you’re eligible then you may be able to claim:
- Disability Living Allowance care component
- Personal Independence Payment living component
- Attendance Allowance or Carer’s Allowance
However, you cannot claim Disability Living Allowance mobility component and Personal Independence Payment mobility component abroad.
Click HERE for more details on claiming Disability and Carer Allowances in general.
4. Winter Fuel Payments
Unfortunately, you cannot claim a Winter Fuel Payment if you are living in Spain (or in several other mediterranean countries that are considered to have milder winter climates).
5. Bereavement Benefit
If you are already receiving this benefit, your payments will continue regardless of where in the world you go to live.
For those living in Tenerife, Spain or any EEA country in general, you may also be able to commence a new claim for:
[Click on any of the above for more information]
You can obtain more information on making an application here:
International Pension Centre
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 7608