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The long-established EU Social Security Co-ordination Regulations provide a reciprocal framework to protect social security and healthcare rights for people moving between EEA states (and Switzerland). The regulations:

  • Clarify which state a person is insured in for contributions and benefits purposes;
  • Require equal treatment in access to certain benefits;
  • Allow periods of insurance in different countries to be aggregated; and
  • Enable certain benefits (including state pensions) to be ‘exported’.

EU co-ordination of the provision of social security includes reciprocal healthcare arrangements, and there are rules on the reimbursement of healthcare costs between states:

  • For visitors using the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC);
  • For state pensioners and their dependants who have moved abroad;
  • For a person undergoing planned medical treatment in another Member State.

A well-established system of administrative co-operation underpins these rules.

The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) allows the existing co-ordination rules to continue to apply to people after the end of the transition period, if they come within the scope of the Agreement.

This briefing looks at possible scenarios for social security co-ordination for people moving between the UK and the EU after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, and for others not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. Specifically, it looks at:

  • What will happen at the end of the Brexit transition period regardless of whether there is a Future Relationship agreement covering social security co-ordination;
  • What might happen if there is no deal with the EU covering social security co-ordination; and
  • What could happen if there is a deal covering social security co-ordination, based on what we know about the UK and EU positions in the Future Relationship negotiations.

Documents to download

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