British Consulate Newletter: 1st Quarter

Feeling the post Christmas pinch? That’s no excuse for Benefit Fraud!
Following a busy festive season filled with spending on parties and presents, many will be feeling the pinch and their pension or benefit will be an important source of income. However, no matter how much this extra bit of cash is needed, if you are living outside of the UK there are certain benefits you may not be entitled to.

If you are in receipt of a UK pension or benefit it is important that you notify the relevant authority of any change in your circumstances such as living in Spain. If you don‟t, you may find yourself in a much worse position as not doing so is considered an offence and could lead to prosecution, imprisonment and even the confiscation of your home and possessions. Information on UK benefits and which ones can be received whilst living abroad can be found on

Do you know someone who’s cheating the system?
The British Government made a resolution to target benefit thieves and in 2013 they will continue to do so. You can help with this. If you know someone who is cheating the system and committing UK benefit fraud whilst living in Spain, you can call the free, confidential benefit fraud hotline in Spain on 900 554 440 or fill in the online form available at at and help UK investigators close the net on benefit thieves.

Due to recent changes to the law, the Spanish social security office has set up a service where everyone can check if they’re still on the state healthcare system. “Asistencia Sanitaria: Comprobación del derecho” can be accessed from the home page of the INSS ( and is particularly important for those whose circumstances have changed (e.g. ex-workers).

The sooner you find out, the sooner you can apply for and receive the necessary documentation to register correctly for healthcare if you find you are no longer on the system. The good news is that if you registered with the police as a resident prior to 24th April 2012, have an annual income of less than 100,000€ and do not have entitlement to healthcare through any other way, you should now be able to access healthcare as a resident. Don’t wait until you need the doctor’s before you apply!

Please note that proof of healthcare cover is now a requirement for anyone who needs to apply for or renew their residency. Please visit the healthcare pages of UKinSpain for further details on how to access healthcare. You do not want to find yourself without access to healthcare when you most need it.

Help is out there for English speaking victims of domestic violence
The British Consulate and the Subdelegación del Gobierno in Alicante recently held an event to help English speaking residents and tourists access the extensive support network that is available in Spain for victims of domestic violence. The Consul in Alicante, Paul Rodwell, opened the event and said “As part of our objective to assist the vulnerable, I want to make sure that British nationals are aware of the support that the Spanish state provides for victims of domestic violence. It is very important that victims know, for example, that they can call the domestic violence helpline 016 and get through to someone English speaking.”

The Royal British Legion
Shoulder to Shoulder with all who serve – Join the team in Spain
Helping us to deliver our Poppy Support services to those who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, Volunteer Caseworkers and Visitors are the face of the Legion. You do not need any previous experience to be a volunteer Caseworker or Visitor, but previous knowledge, training or even an interest in a health, social services or a welfare field can be a real advantage as well as the ability to speak Spanish.

All volunteers are offered free training and out-of-pocket expenses. Volunteer Caseworkers are asked to visit with people in their own homes, and conduct informal interviews and assessments. This includes talking to people about their situation and gathering important personal information. Caseworkers are asked to write down their observations and findings in the form of a report and provide this to a Legion case manager.

The role requires a special kind of volunteer, someone with patience, who can listen sensitively and can write a clear report without judgment. If you think you possess these qualities, and you would like to undertake this personally fulfilling volunteer role we would love to hear from you.

Volunteer Visitors carry on one of the longest traditions within the Legion, offering companionship to people who are isolated or vulnerable. The role requires a willingness to donate time regularly, an ear that can be bent and the ability to offer friendship.

If you think you would enjoy a chat and carrying out regular visits to people in your local area please get in touch. We are planning to hold training courses in April 2013 (date to be confirmed). If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Legion please contact Donna Wilson – Country Welfare Officer – to find out more. Tel: +34 902 109 356 (option 6); Email:

(News: British Consulte newsletter – first quarter 2013)