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Social Security Benefits: EU Nationals

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the likely increase in the number of claimants of (a) disability living allowance (care component), (b) attendance allowance and (c) carer’s allowance after 5 April 2008 when they become exportable within the european economic area; (175505)

(2) what estimate he has made of the likely additional costs of (a) disability living allowance (care component), (b) attendance allowance and (c) carer’s allowance after 5 April 2008 when they become exportable within the european economic area;

(3) what estimate he has made of the likely number of staff needed to handle extra cases of (a) disability living allowance (care component), (b) attendance allowance and (c) carer’s allowance after 5 April 2008 when they become exportable within the european economic area.

As I reported in my statement of 13 December 2007, Official Report, column 68WS, we are still involved in ongoing discussions with the European Commission to clarify the extent of the Government’s responsibilities following the judgment in the European court on 18 October 2007. Until we understand the full implications of the judgment we cannot estimate the additional costs, staffing requirements or the number of additional customers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 13 December 2007, Official Report, column 68WS, on Disability Benefits (European Court of Justice), what matters he expects to be discussed in future meetings between officials from his Department and European Commission officials on European legislation on the exportability of benefits. (175516)

In its judgment of 18 October 2007, the European Court of Justice decided to remove the care component of disability living allowance, attendance allowance and carer’s allowance from the list of non-exportable ‘special non-contributory cash benefits’ in Annex IIa to the EC Regulation 1408/71. The Court decided that these benefits should be classified as sickness benefits (as defined by Regulation 1408/71). We are working with the European Commission to clarify how our disability benefits, which are long term residence-based benefits, fit into a regime originally designed to cover short-term contributions-based sickness benefits.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 13 December 2007, Official Report, column 68WS, on disability benefits (European Court of Justice), what legal advice his Department sought ahead of the European Court of Justice’s judgment; and at what cost. (175517)

In addition to legal consideration by internal legal advisers, Her Majesty’s Government instructed external counsel to represent the United Kingdom in the proceedings before the European Court of Justice at a cost of approximately £19,000.