12.02.2019
Labklājības ministrija

New Social Security Law for no-deal Brexit

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland submitted its notification, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union on 29 March 2017.

That was the moment when the two-year countdown to Brexit and the negotiations on the process and terms of withdrawal began. Unless UK asks for an extension on Brexit and all 27 EU member states agree on such extension by a unanimous vote of the European Council, the UK will become a third country or a non-EU country on 30 March 2019.

To avoid a 'legal vacuum' resulting from a no-deal Brexit and the UK's withdrawal from the EU's social security coordination framework (the 'Coordination Regulations'), government is proposing a law on social services and social contributions of persons who had lived, or been paying social security contributions, in the UK or Latvia until 29 March 2019, and continue to reside in the UK or Latvia after 29 March.

The draft Social security law with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union without withdrawal agreement, approved by the government on Tuesday, 12 February, provides detailed guidance on pensions, allowances  and benefits. 

For example, if upon determination of pension rights a person has not accumulated sufficient insurance periods in Latvia, currently minimum of 15 years, insurance periods accrued in the UK before 29 March 2019 can be added. If a person is entitled to pension after aggregation of periods in the UK and Latvia, the amount of pension is determined only on the basis of insurance periods accumulated in Latvia. Those living in the UK will continue receiving pensions and allowances.

Persons residing in Latvia and entitled to old-age pension after adding up insurance periods in Latvia and the UK, and whose basic UK old-age pension rights  may be revoked, will receive additional allowances directly from the budget, up to the amount of social security benefit.

Persons residing in the UK, who have suffered a workplace injury or been diagnosed with an occupational disease in Latvia before 29 March 2019, will be entitled to incapacity benefits.

Latvian nationals and non-citizens moving back from the UK to Latvia between 30 March 2019 and 31 December 2020 will have access to simplified social security benefit rules.

While the UK is deciding which competent authority will be in charge of administrative cooperation, applicants will have to submit benefit claims, social assistance requests and supporting documents to the State Social Insurance Agency either in person or via electronic communication channels. This requirement applies to UK-issued documents as well.

The new law will come into force on 30 March 2019, the next day after the official departure of the UK from the EU. Transitional arrangements in several areas of EU law in force from 30 March 2019 until 31 December 2020 do not cover pensions. 

Proposed law will now have to be reviewed and approved by the parliament of the Republic of Latvia, the Saeima.

Egils Zariņš
Ministry of Welfare
Manager of Public Relations for the Communications Department
64331829, egils.zarins@lm.gov.lv

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