British Embassy News Letter

Upcoming Events
While some may think of Spain and its Costas simple as a retirement destination, the reality is that it is also a popular choice for couples and young families.

Something to Bear in Mind
You may well be aware that when you move country within the European Union, you can take certain social security benefits with you. For example, you can receive UK benefits such as contributions-based incapacity benefit/ESA, Bereavement Benefit, the State Pension, as well as others, even if you move to Spain.

However, there are certain benefits that are ‘non-exportable’. You can only receive them if you are resident in the UK. These benefits are known as ‘means-tested benefits’ and include pension credit, income support, housing benefit, council tax benefit and income-related incapacity benefit or ESA. If you are resident in Spain and in receipt of any of these benefits, you should inform the authorities immediately.

For more information on which UK benefits you can and cannot receive as a resident in Spain, see our website

Healthcare in Spain
Many people who live in the UK do not think twice about going to the doctor and accessing state-run healthcare. This is because the UK’s health system is residency-based. What some people do not realise when moving to Spain, however, is that the health system here is different, it is contributions-based.

In other words, to have entitlement to use public doctors and hospitals, a person must either be working and making national insurance contributions into the Spanish system, be in receipt of certain Spanish or UK benefits or in receipt of a state pension. Unfortunately this does mean that some British residents in Spain do not have immediate access to public healthcare and more information on the options available to you if you are in this position can be found on our website.

But what if, like many other British residents in Spain, you are in receipt of a UK State Pension?

Well, if you are not in receipt of a pension from any other country, you can apply to the International Pension Centre (IPC) for form S1 (previously known as an E121). Once you receive this form, and have your residency and padrón certificate, you must take all copies of the S1 form, along with some form of official ID, to the INSS (social security) office.

They should take the forms and issue you with an accreditation document, either there and then or through the post. Once you have this document, take it to your local health centre to register with a doctor. They will then apply for a Spanish health card on your behalf. (NOTE – this is a different card from the EHIC which is for use outside Spain)

So if you’re a pensioner but have never applied for an S1/E121 or have the forms but never registered them, make sure you follow the steps above to make sure you have your right to healthcare in Spain recognised.

To request an S1 form, call the IPC on 0044 191 218 7777. In September, look out for accessing healthcare as a ‘dependant’.

UK Child Benefit
If you or a member of your family cares for young children, you may want to find out if you are entitled to some form of benefit.

To receive UK child benefit in Spain, you must either:
* Be employed or self employed in a job in which you have to pay national insurance contributions to the UK, OR
* Be in receipt of a UK contributions-based benefit such as a pension, incapacity benefit, ESA or Bereavement Benefit.

However, if you are resident in Spain and your child was born here or you are paying Spanish insurance contributions, you should make enquiries with the social security office regarding your entitlement to Spanish child benefit. See for more information.

For more information on UK Child Benefit, call the Child Benefit Department in the UK on 0044 161 210 3086 or see

Keeping Your Cool
It has been a long winter so I«m sure that you are glad that summer is on its way! However, high temperatures and humidity can present a risk to health and so it is important to protect yourself from the heat and recognize the signs of heat related illnesses.

How to avoid heat related illnesses

(1) Keep out of the heat – stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day and if you are outside make sure to stay covered and take water with you.

(2) Avoid strenuous activity – limit chores such as gardening to the mornings or evenings when it is cooler.

(3) When you are indoors stay in the coolest part of your home and draw curtains and blinds closed in rooms that get the sun.

(4) Wear loose fitting, lightweight and light coloured clothing.

(5) Take cool baths and showers.

(6) Drink lots of fluids even when you«re not thirsty and eat cold foods such as salads and fruits that contain a lot of water.

Get Registered!
If you’re resident in Spain you might have heard of the Padrón. The Padrón is simply a list kept by your local town hall which allows them to know how many people are in the locality, so that they can provide sufficient services for the community.

But did you know that registering is a really simple process and that it’s free of charge? All you need is:

* An address where you habitually live.
* A form of official identification.
* Your NIE or residence card.
* Details of your home (deeds/rental contract).
* A recent utility bill in your name.

Go to your local town hall with the above documents and fill in a form. It really is that simple!

Unfortunately, we at Age Concern España see an increasing number of people coming to us for help and our hands are tied because we cannot link them into state provided services. For example, if you are not on the Padrón you may not be able to enter a state residential care home, nor access local services such as home help. You will also not be able to claim income-related Spanish benefits. Access to many of these services depends upon the length of time you have been registered on the Padrón. Therefore, the sooner you register the better!

For further information about registering on the Padrón visit the “Living in Spain” section on the UK in Spain website. .

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