British Embassy Newsletter, October

Partners’ Newsletter – October 2010

Pension Benefit & Healthcare Team

Although many people move to Spain and do not encounter any problems, it is always worth making sure that you follow a few simple rules to ensure your time here remains trouble-free.

The PBH Team have come up with the following acronym
to help you remember a few key messages…

Don’t come a …

Call us – don’t leave it until it’s too late
Rights and entitlements – know what you’re entitled to in Spain
Official sources – use them and don’t listen to the rumours
Plan and prepare for the future
Padrón – make sure you’re registered with your local town hall
Engage and integrate with the Spanish way of life
Responsibility – inform the authorities if your circumstances change

Although many British people work in Spain, they are not always aware of the rights they have or the help available to
them if they lose their job or are unable to find work here.

As highlighted last month, there are a number of means-
tested unemployment benefits available in Spain. One of
these benefits is known as Renta Activa de Inserción and it is
designed specifically to help those groups of people who
may find it particularly difficult to find work, such as those
who are long-term unemployed, or who have a disability.
Even better, you do not have to have worked in Spain
previously to be eligible.

If you are under 65, on a low income (personally receive less
than €468/month) and believe you fall into one of the
groups above, you may find it worthwhile looking into the
Renta Activa de Inserción.

To be eligible as someone who is long-term unemployed,
you need to be over 45, while if you have a disability you
must be assessed as at least 33% incapacitated. In both
instances, you must also have been signing on with the
employment office for 12 continuous months.
Therefore, if you are looking for work but have not started
signing-on as unemployed already, you may find it well
worth the while to start as it could result in entitlement to
benefit further down the line.

More information available at

If you ever apply for a pension or benefit through Spain, you
may find you are asked to show a vida laboral. This is a form
which shows your work history and the insurance
contributions you have made. If you are asked to show a vida
laboral for work you have done in Spain, you can apply for
this from Spanish social security, either online (www.seg-, by calling 901 50 20 50, or visiting your local INSS

However, there are occasions when you may be asked for a
vida laboral from the UK. We do not have an exact
equivalent of this form in the UK and therefore which form
you require will depend on why you have been asked for this
information. In general, however, the following should apply:

• If you are applying for a contributions-based pension or
benefit through the INSS, it is the responsibility of the
Spanish authorities to request this information from the
UK directly and you should not have to supply the form;

• If you are applying for unemployment benefit, again the
employment office (INEM) should request the
form directly from HMRC in the UK. The form requested is
known as a U1 (previously called E301). Please note, this
can take up to 6 weeks to arrive in Spain and that the
British Consulate cannot issue this form for customers. If,
however, you need any further advice on obtaining this
from, contact your local PBH Team.

• If you are asked for a vida laboral in any other
circumstance, contact HMRC for advice.

HMRC can be contacted via the web – – or
by telephone 0044 191 203 7010

PBHT Malaga and Alicante will be attending the following outreach events:

• El Perelló, Cataluña – 26th October
• Roses, Cataluña – 27th October
• Possibility of outreach events in the Canaries – 24th/25th November – watch this space

Keep an eye out for more events in your area soon on

A customer contacted PBHT after he had trouble accessing
healthcare in Spain. As he was not yet in receipt of a pension,
and not working, he did not appear to have entitlement to free care. PBHT informed him of the possibility of applying for healthcare through social services (‘sin recusros’) and he went to make an application. After his initial application was mistakenly denied, the PBHT liaised with the health authorities to get the necessary paperwork in place. The customer is now able to access the medical care he needs.

British Consulate/Age Concern España Partnership Project (BC/ACPP)


We’ve all been affected in one way or another by the current
economic situation, especially those people who rely on a fixed income, like a pension. At Age Concern España, we’ve seen more and more elderly people struggling to get by on their pensions and savings. Naturally they are considering their options for the future and some are taking the difficult decision to return to the UK.

For those having money troubles, think about moving to the UK before your lack of funds makes this impossible. Making sure you’ve always got enough money saved to buy an airfare and to take care of moving means you won’t lose out on having a Plan B. Of course, going back to Britain might not be the only answer. By contacting a local Spanish social worker or visiting the social security (INSS) office (or their website you could find out about financial help and care support here in Spain.

But if you’re set on making the move, it’s important to plan it in as much detail as though you were moving to a foreign country. In fact, you shouldn’t be surprised if the UK feels unfamiliar – lots of things may have changed since you left, especially those of you who’ve spent decades in Spain.

Here is my top list of things to bear in mind:
Registering – When moving back to the UK, you will need to de-register in Spain. This means contacting the town hall and the INSS office to be taken off the padrón and the Spanish social security system. Also, in the same way as you should have informed the International Pension Centre and HMRC of your move to Spain, you must let them know you’ll be back
in the UK.

Pensions, benefits and housing – Be careful not to assume your right to UK benefits or housing as soon as you touch down. If you have ever taken up permanent residence outside the UK, you may have to pass a Habitual Residence Test on your return. For more information on this, please see the leaflet “Returning to the UK” on the British Consulate website,, and contact the UK local authority of where you’ll be moving to.

Pets – Finding a home for your beloved four-legged friend when you move away can be upsetting. Age Concern España Casework Service is trying to find out more about local animal charities across Spain who can help us re-house pets on either a temporary or permanent basis. That way, you’ll know that your pet is being well looked after. If you belong to an organisation which offers these services, please contact us.

For those of you who have family and friends there, moving
back to the UK will connect you to a support network you
might not have in Spain. Our partner, Age UK, also has
organisations throughout the country which can provide
local information and advice ( Here at
Age Concern España, we can give support to those leaving
Spain. Depending on the circumstances, we might be able
to provide direct assistance for older British nationals
returning to the UK.

The Royal British Legion
The information provided in this publication is given in good faith. At the time of publication, all efforts have been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate. The contributors of this document accept no liability for the content of this publication, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

The Royal British Legion is the British nation’s custodian of
Remembrance, ensuring that we remember those who have
given their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.

The poppy has become the symbol of Remembrance worn
during the weeks leading to Remembrance Sunday and
Armistice Day.

The first official legion Poppy day was held in Britain on 11th
November 1921 inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields”,
written by John McCrae.

Since then the nation has come together every year to honour
the memory of the British & Commonwealth service men and
women who fought not only in the The Great War but also in
World War 2 and all subsequent wars and conflicts.

The Legion offers assistance to its beneficiaries wherever they may be in the world and a great many living here in Spain have received help. There is a large ex service community in Spain and the number of welfare cases coming to the attention of The RBL is continually increasing. Donna Wilson, Country Welfare Officer for The RBL, says, ‘In my role, I am privileged to witness first hand the appreciation and heartfelt thanks of the ex-service community we serve’.
In the coming weeks you may see dedicated & tireless
volunteer collectors out and about in your communities-
poppy collection boxes in hand.

So, please make a donation however small and wear your
poppy with pride – in the knowledge that our beneficiaries
in need, both here in Spain and around the world, truly
benefit from your kindness and generosity.

For details of Remembrance services in your area this year – please visit the websites of The Royal British Legion, District South. For further information on Remembrance and the Poppy Appeal, visit For further information on membership and the location of your nearest Legion branch in Spain go to:

For welfare enquiries, contact Donna Wilson:

And changing to subject to a veterans’ help organisation:

cassiobury-court-logoCassiobury Court offers free help and advice for veterans who suffer with addiction and mental health problems. For more information, click here.

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