No-deal Brexit: Citizen rights during transitional period
The Danish Government has put forth a plan for a transitional period concerning citizens in the event that no withdrawal agreement is concluded with the UK before the British withdrawal from the EU. Britons in Denmark and citizens returning to Denmark from the UK will, with the suggested transitional period, hardly notice any difference in their rights. Citizens will also be able to continue to enjoy the right to access certain benefits like pension in the UK and other EU Member States.
Alongside the negotiations for an orderly UK withdrawal, the Danish Government has prepared a transition law concerning the rights of citizens in the event that Britain withdraws without an agreement ('no deal scenario'). The transition law enters into force 30 March 2019. It will apply until replaced by a permanent law. The transitional period will be temporary and await a clarification of the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
It is a priority of the Government that the permanent law should continue the scheme of rights under the transition law. In the upcoming work on the permanent solution, the Government will take into account which rights the UK will offer Danish citizens, e.g. if they will be granted a permanent right to export pension from the UK to Denmark. The Government will also work with the EU27 Member States on common priorities and possible solutions.
Rights to cash benefits under the transition law
It is a priority of the Government that citizens are to be affected as little as possible in case of a hard Brexit.
UK citizens residing here and those Danish and unions citizens returning to Denmark from the UK will therefore essentially not experience any difference in their rights during the transitional period.
On the whole, the transitional period extends all existing rights to cash benefits for UK citizens in Denmark and for Danish citizens returning from the UK.
However, there will be limitations on the right to access certain benefits from Denmark in the UK and other EU countries (where “EU citizen” or “EU country” is mentioned in the following the same rules apply to EEA citizens and citizens from Switzerland, and EEA-countries and Switzerland). Persons who currently enjoy Danish old-age pension or invalidity pension (førtidspension) in the UK according to EU law will retain their eligibility to the same pension.
Rights to cash benefits in Denmark for UK citizens residing in Denmark
UK citizens residing or working in Denmark as of March 29, 2019, and their family members, will basically retain all existing rights. This means that when a Danish law requires that a person has lived in Denmark for a certain period, in order to be entitled to a benefit, UK citizens and their family members can include periods of residence in the UK and EU countries even though they are no longer EU citizens. This principle applies to EU citizens according to EU law and will thus be continued during the transitional period.
In addition to periods of residence, some laws require membership of an unemployment insurance fund for a certain period (insurance period) or periods of employment before obtaining rights to benefits. The same principle of right to aggregate periods from the UK and other EU countries will apply to those periods. This only applies to periods in the UK and EU countries dating back to before the date of withdrawal. However, family members who permanently reside in the UK as of 30 March 2019 and arrive in Denmark later may include periods until the date of arrival.
Rules on the inclusion of periods of residence or insurance are relevant when assessing the right to the following Danish benefits:
- Sickness benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Parental benefits
- Child allowance for single parents (børnetilskud)
- Invalidity pension (førtidspension) and old-age pension
- Early retirement
Work periods in the UK under exposure to hazardous risks will also be taken into account when determining if a disease can be recognized as an occupational disease under Danish law. In order to recognise certain diseases as occupational diseases under Danish law, the injured person must have been exposed to hazardous risks at work during a given minimum period.
UK citizens in Denmark will also enjoy the same rights as EU citizens when their right to social assistance or advance payment of child support (børnebidrag) is assessed. Finally, UK citizens in Denmark can earn the right to pension and early retirement pension in line with EU citizens.
UK citizens who reside in Denmark and enjoy pension from the UK will retain the right to housing benefits on equal terms with pensioners who receive a pension from Denmark or an EU country.
Child allowance for single parents (børnetilskud) will only be granted if the child resides in Denmark even though UK citizens would possibly have been eligible to the full benefit when counting periods from the UK. Similarly, the child must reside in Denmark if there is to be an advance payment of child support (børnebidrag).
UK citizens remain entitled to benefits with no earning requirements on equal terms with Danish citizens.
Rights to cash benefits in Denmark for Danish and other EU citizens residing in the UK who return to Denmark in the transitional period
Like UK citizens already residing in Denmark as of 29 March 2019, Danish and other EU citizens who reside or work in the UK as of 29 March 2019 will be entitled to have their insurance-, residence- and employment periods from the UK taken into account.
The principle of inclusion of periods also applies to periods after 29 March 2019 for Danish and other EU citizens who return to Denmark after this date. They will also be treated as if they returned from an EU Member State when determining their right to social assistance and advance payments of child support (børnebidrag).
Finally, Danish and other EU citizens who reside in Denmark and receive their pension from the UK will retain access to housing support (boligstøtte) in line with pensioners who receive their pension from Denmark or another EU member state.
Rights to Danish benefits for Danish and other EU citizens in the UK and to UK-citizens in the EU (export of benefits from Denmark)
Whether there is a right to continued disbursement of benefits after the UK withdrawal 29 March 2019 depends on the benefit in question.
Since there will be no free movement between Denmark and the UK or coordination according to EU rules after the UK withdrawal, Denmark cannot unilaterally extend all existing rights.
Benefits to which citizens have accommodated their future and which Denmark can decide to continue to disburse one-sidedly will be retained.
Invalidity pension (førtidspension), old-age pension and early retirement benefit
Danish, UK and EU citizens who currently enjoy Danish invalidity pension (førtidspension), old-age pension or early retirement pension in the UK will continue to enjoy these benefits during the transitional period.
This also applies to those citizens currently residing in the UK who will acquire a right to either of these benefits during the transitional period.
Those who have been granted invalidity pension (førtidspension) or old-age pension can move to the UK and enjoy their pension as if the UK were an EU Member State.
On similar lines, Danish, UK and EU citizens who have acquired rights, fully or partly, to either of these pensions by the time of the UK withdrawal from the EU, will retain their right to the disbursement in the UK as if the UK remained a member of the EU.
UK citizens who have not obtained the right to Danish pension when the UK withdraws from the EU must fulfil the eligibility requirements of the old-age and invalidity pension (førtidspension) as third country nationals.
Danish, UK and EU citizens who are eligible to early retirement can enjoy this benefit and its disbursement also after the UK withdrawal from the EU.
Child allowance for single parents (børnetilskud)
Danish child allowance for single parents (børnetilskud) will not be made available for children residing in the UK after 29 March 2019.
Unemployment benefits and sickness benefits
Danish unemployment benefits and sickness benefits will not be available to citizens in the UK after 29 March 2019. Current beneficiaries residing in the UK will retain their right to receive sickness benefit as long as they continue to meet the criteria until the benefit period expires.
This applies to all citizens (Danish, EU and UK citizens) who reside in the UK and to UK citizens residing in another European Member State.
Frontier workers who work in Denmark but reside in the UK or an EU Member State by 29 March 2019 are eligible to sickness benefits even though they do not reside in Denmark. Naturally under condition that all other eligibility criteria are fulfilled.
Parental leave benefits (barselsdagpenge)
Current beneficiaries of parental leave benefits residing in the UK will retain their eligibility and the disbursement after 29 March 2019 and future beneficiaries will similarly retain this right provided that they resided in Denmark at the beginning of the leave.
Frontier workers, however, are eligible even if they did not reside in Denmark at the beginning of the leave provided that the other conditions for receiving the benefit are fulfilled.
Disbursements of Labour Market Supplementary Pension (ATP) and compensation for permanent injury or loss of earning capacity
These are no residence requirements under Danish law and disbursement of the benefits can accordingly continue in the UK.