September 2020 – Habitual Residence and Disability Benefits


The DWP has issued new guidance to decision-makers in relation to whether the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP) or the care component of disability living allowance (DLA), attendance allowance or carers allowance can be paid to a claimant habitually resident in another EEA Member State or Switzerland.

The new guidance clarifies the effect of changes brought about by the decisions made by the Upper Tribunal in a number of cases, including advice that once a person has started working in another member state, the UK is no longer the responsible state (known as the competent state) for paying cash sickness benefits to that person. 


Once an individual has switched their permanent residence to another member state the UK is no longer competent for new claims from that person for cash sickness benefits, where residence is the determining factor for competence.

If a person in receipt of UK cash sickness benefits becomes permanently resident in another member state then the UK continues to be competent for paying those cash sickness benefits for the length of the award, so long as there is not another reason for the competency to switch.


The guidance highlights that the method of checking whether a claimant is covered by GB contributions in relevant income tax years that allowed claimants to export benefit, or make a first claim from abroad solely on the basis that they are insured for UK sickness benefits, can no longer be used. Instead, the DWP advises that decision-makers must establish which of the work, state pension or residence rules apply to determine the competent Member State, when a change in habitual residence occurs

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