Bringing NI disability payments with you

QUESTION

QUESTION

MY BROTHER aged 50 has lived in Northern Ireland all his life but now wants to sell his house and move south, closer to me. He is deaf from birth and receives Incapacity Benefit and the care component of Disability Living Allowance. Will his benefits be affected if he comes to live in this jurisdiction?

ANSWER

THERE are no legal barriers to prevent your brother from living here. As long as he still satisfies the medical conditions attached to the payment, he can continue to receive Incapacity Benefit. Before he moves, he needs to complete form BF5 and hand it into his local Job Centre Plus office.

He can also continue to claim for the care component of Disability Living Allowance thanks to a European Court of Justice ruling. He should notify the office dealing with his claim and explain in writing his intention to move and confirm that his medical circumstances have not changed.

If he decides to leave his benefits behind, it may be possible for him to claim Disability Allowance here, although there are a number of qualifying conditions, including the habitual residence condition. The following five factors will be examined to find out if he is habitually resident in Ireland:

· Length and continuity of his residence in Ireland or other parts of the Common Travel Area

· Length and purpose of any absence from Ireland

· Nature and pattern of his employment

· His main centre of interest

· His future intentions to live in Ireland as it appears from the evidence.

It is important to note that Disability Allowance is a means-tested payment. This means that your brother’s total means must be below a certain amount to qualify for the Allowance. When his means are assessed, any income from other payments will be taken into account. However, the proceeds from his house sale (up to €190,460.71) may not be taken into account if certain conditions are met with regard to his future housing.

When your brother applies for Disability Allowance he will have to submit a doctor’s report to the Department of Social Protection to back up his claim. Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Co Offaly Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public at the Bridge Centre, Tullamore. Tel: 057 93 52204.

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, Lo-call 1890 777 121 or (021) 4521600.