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Claiming UK Benefits in Spain

- Updated: 13/01/2011
Claiming UK Benefits in Spain

You may not be aware, but claiming UK benefits in Spain is a very real possibility for some UK ex-pats in certain circumstances.

For example, if you are claiming jobseeker's allowance, a pension or certain other benefits when you leave the UK, you may still be able to get your benefits allowance transferred across to Spain.

The Department for Work and Pensions has a detailed website with more details. However, if you leave a job in the UK in order to move to Spain, you will NOT be able to claim any benefits.

If you are planning to live in Spain long term you should contact the DSS overseas department in order to get your UK NI contributions transferred to the Spanish system.

If you are planning a move to Spain or already live in Spain and are concerned what your entitlement to benefits in the UK may be, you can click here to decide Whether to make voluntary National Insurance contributions to the UK..

Comment on this Article

Hello, I am an Irish EU citizen who lives in the UK. I have lived here since 1998. I am on a small UK Gov. Pension and Pesion credit bringing me up to the minimum liveable standard of ?150 a week. Please can anyone advise me whether I would be paid a Pension benefit if I moved to live in Spain?
Roddy Justice - Sat 12th Aug 2017
I have lived and worked in the UK from MAY 1970 till April 1986. I have lost my NIN and have aplied for it in order to Claim my Pension. they say they cannot find me... can it be because of the 2 Surnames?? I,ve always paid my contributions. Could you please help me??
Rafael Dominguez Gomez - Fri 13th Jan 2017
Paul : sadly the UK (and Spanish) Governments do not generally make a habit of financing personal holidays.
Robster - Sat 6th Aug 2016
My wife, daughter and myself set off on a road trip to Portugal and Spain in December last year, I was claiming ESA when I left, this has recently been stopped as I am abroad leaving us without any income and are now in a serious financial situation, can they do this? And are there any benefits We can claim in Spain please help.
Paul Thornton - Thu 4th Aug 2016
Venesa : A more detailed explanation of Claiming Disability Benefits from the UK whilst Resident in Spain can be read via the link > HERE <
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 2th Feb 2015
my husband and I , are thinking of moving to spain. since both of us now are disabled and in receipt of Disability Mobility Incapacity benefit . Can we still Claim In Spain . we are both 57 years old and at present on a indefinite claim for our benefits due to our long term condition heath issues which prognosis will not get better over time. but would love the idea of moving to a more warmer climate
Venesa Grant - Sun 1st Feb 2015
My daughter is on disability allowance and i'm her carer we would like to move to Spain, but not sure if she's entitled over there ?
Nina Whitcroft Robison - Sun 23rd Nov 2014
when we came to spain 8years ago my husband had two knee replacements and was on dissability, but it was taken off him when we came here, can you tell me why when he still has problems if not worse now.
Pauline Edmunds - Sun 10th Aug 2014
Vera : it would be wrong of us to offer an opinion without knowing more details and we recommend that you send an e mail to the Pension, Disability and Carer’s Service (PDCS) at to confirm your entitlement.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 21st Jul 2014
I have 13 years contributions in spain and 27 in the uk. I still live in spain. I have permanent and absolute incapacidad which consists of 50 euros from spain and 440 euros from uk. I live alone, I also need some care. Should I be 1. entitled to more than this to live on and 2. should I be entitled for some kind of care allowance. I am 55 years of age.
Vera - Mon 21st Jul 2014
The answer is no to both questions. Thank you for your reply it is very reasuring. I will now take legal advice to resolve this. Once again thank you, Mary
Mary - Sun 13th Jul 2014
Mary : Did you ever live at the property in question with your husband, or did your name ever appear on any rental contract ? If the answer to both of these is no, I can't how you could be liable for anything.
Tyler - Sun 13th Jul 2014
Hi, My husband and I both live in the Canaries and separated 8 years ago. We both live on the same Island but have not co habited since the separation. I have recently been contacted by a mutual friend who has informed me that my husband is in the care of Canarian social services in his home due to ill health. He has rent arrears and substantial unpaid medical bills. His passport has expired and he does not have any medical cover. He has a military pension and is receiving his old age pension. The friend seems to think that I will be liable for his rent arrears and his medical expenses. I have had no money from my husband since sepatating and I work full time. Am I liable to pay his debt ie rent arrears and medical bills?
Mary - Sat 12th Jul 2014
Jean : No. Sickness benefits and unemployment benefits are NOT exportable to Spain, and Spain will not be able to assist you with any Mortgage or Housing benefits, given that you will not have made sufficient contributions into the Spanish state system.
Tumbit - Admin - Tue 24th Jun 2014
Hi, i'm retired and want to move to Spain - my husband is on the sick and I am unemployed just receive my pension. I also have a mortgage in Spain - will I get any help if I move out there ?
Jean Nicklin - Tue 24th Jun 2014
Alan : No - You find yourself in the unfortunate position of being caught between 2 different systems : JSA in NOT a benefit that is exportable from the UK and is dependent upon residency, whereas in Spain it is only payable if you have ever contributed into the Spanish Social Security System.
Tyler - Thu 14th Nov 2013
I was claiming JSA before I came out to Spain, took a chance to find some thing but it hasn't worked out, Can I claim out here now ? Meny thanks
Alan Robinson - Thu 14th Nov 2013
HI, I am an ex nurse, OAP retired living alone with a low pension. I will have an operation in January 2014. and for 3 weeks will be unable to dress of shower on my own. I am asthmatic with cardiac problems and really will need someone to help. Thanks.
Mrs. M. Flores-mcchesney - Wed 4th Sep 2013
Steven : As far as continuing to claim benefits from the UK when living in Spain is concerned, generally your benefits cease. Under certain conditions carers / disability allowances can continue, but you should speak with your local Benefits Office to discuss your induvidual circumstances. As far as claiming benefits from the Spanish Government are concerned, this is based on your contributions : If you haven't paid into the system then you are not eligible to claim anything out.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 24th Jun 2013
I am a uk resident & thinking of moving to spain. im on income support, carers allowance, DLA., child tax credits, housing benefit. What can I claim over in Spain ? Is there any DSS for housing over there ? Whats the allowances ? Thank you.
Steven Ellis - Mon 24th Jun 2013
It is not easy you go to your local social security office and fill in a complicated form you have yo supply so much info helps if you speak good Spanish. I'he been doing it for 4 months they keep asking for more info. Good luck
Magel - Thu 14th Feb 2013

Roy : It would be difficult to comment without knowing more about your circumstances, but you may find a few answers to any questions you may have by clicking the link >> HERE <<.

Tumbit - Admin - Thu 14th Feb 2013
HELP PLEASE I am about to officially retire in May, I've lived in Spain for 10 years and paid in to the system for that amount of time too, when I spoke to the UK about my pension they said I should make the claim in Spain where do i go?? does anyone know, live in La Marina in betweem Alicante and Torrevieja.
Roy Harris - Thu 14th Feb 2013
Part Time contracts - in Spain if you work one hour a day Monday to Friday this will count as full time for your pension or any benefits that you want to claim. You must be working at least 5 days a week or more, doesn´t matter how many hours a day. In your vida laboral you will only see a percentage, but when you claim a benefit they must take into account the fact that the contract was for 5 days or more, but it must be e.g.. Mon, Tues, Wed, Thus, Fri. If you work e.g. Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat then only the persentage of the hours that you have worked will be taken into account e. g. C. T. P.39% Si la jornada se distribuye en 5 o más días de trabajo a la semana,el periodo de cotización será equivalente al periodo de duración del contrato o de vigencia de la relación laboral. Si trabajas al menos 5 días a la semana cuentan como cotizados los 7 días de la semana, o que es lo mismo, todo el tiempo que estés contratado cotizas. Look at your contracts and claim .
Gaynor - Sun 2th Sep 2012
My Teaching contract finished on 18th June... I was submitting a weekly baja for chemo. My employer said I would be paid by mutulia but they have said I only have a contribution of 117 days and need 180 - so not entitled to anything. At end of July I will be homeless. What do I do? I don't understand how they calculate the days? I have had a full time contract since Christmas and part time contracts for over a year in the last two years. I'm not enitled to anything in ULK because been here 8 years. I've always worked never claimed anything in Spain or Uk. So what do i do now ? Treatment doesnt finish till August. Please help with any advice !
Kate - Fri 22th Jun 2012
Magel : There is big difference between Sickness benefit and Incapacity benefits in terms of what you may be eligible to claim, how much, when and how etc... (both in Spain and in the UK) and the exact nature of your personal circumstances will decide this. ALSO, you may like to read this Guide - Claiming Sickness Benefit as an Autonomo... (Whilst it may not answer your question directly it should explain the situation to anyone taking an interest in your comments in future...)
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 18th Dec 2011
Hi If anyone can help. I worked here in Spain for nearly 5 years & paid autonomo. I have been ill with cancer for over 2 years, my Gestor didn't tell me I was entitled to sick pay (my Bank Manager told me!) but I lost 6 months pay. I was paid for a year but now don't receive anything even though I am not well enough to work. Does anyone know if there is anything I can claim & if so how?
Magel - Sat 17th Dec 2011
Helena : It really depends upon the exact nature of the benefits you are currently claiming - only a small number of benefits issued in the UK are exportable to Spain. The best thing to do would be to speak directly with your local benefits office about what the move that you ' MIGHT ' make in the future, and take your decison from there.
Tumbit - Admin - Tue 12th Jul 2011
hi my mum and dad has lived in spain for 8 years now and i am thinking to move over there with my daughters will i still be able still claim my benefits
Helena Huby - Tue 12th Jul 2011
Special evening Open Day organised by the British Consulate in Alicante Chance for Britons to get pensions, benefits and healthcare questions answered British residents will have an opportunity to find out more about their pension rights in Spain, as well as the rules and regulations on working in the country, by attending an Open Day event in Orihuela Costa, Pension, Benefit and Healthcare staff get asked each day. There will also be a member of the Consular team to give residents a better idea of how the Consulate can help. The open day will be held in the Salon de Actos of the Orihuela Costa town hall on 24th February at 7pm.
Dwp Spain - Thu 3rd Feb 2011
Thank you for your recent communication. Very interesting reading. As I explained in my previous comment, my husband retired early and paid up all his Nat.Ins. contributions for his State Pension. As a few of the people who we know in Spain were receiving benefit for their spouses, who were not of penionable age. They were in the same circumstances as ourselves, but I think may not have told all the truth when applying because they receive the dependants allowance. However my husband has now reached pensionable age so it no longer applies to us. It just seems most unfortunate that some people get the dependance allowance and some not! Once again thank you.
B Hallisey - Thu 2th Dec 2010
Mrs Hallisey, did your husband manage to get his pension arranged for payment to Spain this September without any problems ?
Tumbit- Admin - Thu 25th Nov 2010
My husband and I have worked all our lives, because the job my husband had was affecting his health we sold and moved to Spain as we could not longer afford to live in the UK. Unfortunately over the last 8 yrs we have now used all our saving as a consequence I applied for my husband as a dependant on my State Pension (many friends here are getting this for their spouses). The result was that he is not eligible because he has not received any benefits of any kind during his life. Because of this I applied for Pension Credit as my husband does not receive his pension until September of this year but this was refused also. I would be most grateful if anyone could let me know if there are any benefits we could receive. Many thanks.
B Hallisey - Sun 13th Jun 2010
Judith, there are a number of factors that could affect your situation that you haven't told us about. If you haven't already done so it would be best if you called the International Pensions Centre in the UK on 44 191 218 7777 and they will look at your situation and advise you best course of action.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 12th Apr 2010
Why can't I get pension credits as a pensioner living in spain? I thought it was an EU regulation that the minimum living allowance was £130 a week I am living in an EU country so surely its illegal not to pay me this? I am seperated and cant get divorced as I cant find my husband so get hit for both.
Judith. Gay. Brown - Sun 11th Apr 2010
Generally, You are 'supposed to' inform the Government when you leave the UK and then your benefit will come to an end (I suspect your friend is meaning that you should have kept quiet), however, there are a few cases when child benefit can continue to be paid overseas - click here to take a look at our article "Claiming Child Benefit in Spain"
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 24th Mar 2010
I would be grateful if you could inform me as to whether I should have continued receiving child benefit payments here in Spain when I moved from the UK in 2000. I have been advised that this is the case. Many thanks
Catherine Howard - Wed 24th Mar 2010