From the 31st January 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) is no longer a member of the European Union (EU).
From the 1st February 2020, the relations between the UK and the EU are governed by the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) which provides for a transition period until the end of 2020. The WA establishes the terms of the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU. As such, the agreement does not contain regulations on future relations between the UK and the EU.
The WA secures lifelong rights of EU citizens residing in the UK and of UK citizens residing in EU countries in terms of residence, work and social security rights, providing their residence in the UK/EU countries has started before 1st January 2021. Their positions and rights are secured as they are on 31st December 2020 according to central EU legislation. The movement and rights of persons moving between these areas after 31st December 2020 will be restricted.
Coordination of Social Security Systems
The provisions of Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009 on the coordination of social security systems will continue to apply until the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020 and, under certain conditions, even after the end of transition period.
This means that the rules and the procedures for determining the applicable legislation (which State’s social security legislation an individual is subject to) will continue to apply during the transition period and in certain cases they will continue to apply after the end of the transition period.
Periods of insurance, employment, self-employment or residence and facts and events that took place in the UK before the date the UK left the EU, as those that will take place during the transition period shall be taken into consideration for the purpose of acquiring entitlement to a benefit.
The export of short-term benefits (illness, maternity, paternity, unemployment, employment injury) to the UK will continue until the end of the transition period (31/12/2020) for cases with date of entitlement before the end of the transition period. For cases with date of entitlement after the end of the transition period the export of short-term, benefits will continue after the end of the transitional period if the person falls within Article 30 of the WA.
The WA ensures the application of Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and (EC) No 987/2009 for as long as the situation concerned remains unchanged or the persons continue to be in a situation involving both the UK and an EU Member State at the same time without interruption.
The export of pensions (widows, statutory pension, and invalidity pension) in the UK will continue in all cases, irrespective of the date of entitlement even after the end of the transition period.
What happens after the end of the transition period?
After the 1st January 2021, the WA provides for the maintenance of the principles and objectives set out in the existing legal regulations, i.e. in Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 987/2009, regarding persons falling within the scope of the WA. The WA covers the following two groups of people:
EU nationals, UK nationals and other persons (their family members, survivors, third country nationals) who, at the end of the transition period, will be in a situation involving both the UK and an EU Member State
It should be emphasized that the WA will apply to the above-mentioned persons, if they remain in a situation involving both a Member State and the United Kingdom.
They will retain the right to healthcare, pensions and other social security benefits, and if they are entitled to cash benefits from a Member State, they will be able to continue to receive them, even when residing in another Member State.
The provisions of the WA in the field of social security coordination will apply to the rights of EU and UK nationals in cross-border situations, between the UK and at least one EU Member State at the end of the transition period and afterwards.
Example 1: Maltese citizen residing and working in the UK at the end of the transition period (December 31, 2020) will continue to be subject to UK legislation, will retain UK healthcare and will be able to claim a UK pension in the future.
Example 2: Maltese citizen posted to the United Kingdom under the conditions specified in Art. 12 of Regulation 883/2004 for a six-month training ending after the end of the transitional period (will be subject to Maltese legislation pursuant to Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 – PD A1 will remain valid for the entire posting period).
Maltese and EU citizens who were subject to UK legislation before the end of the transition period (including family members, survivors) and UK nationals who were subject to the legislation of an EU Member State (their family members, survivors) before the end of the transition period, but are no longer subject to that legislation.
It should be emphasized that the WA will apply to the above-mentioned persons, if they were in a situation involving both a Member State and the United Kingdom before the 31st December 2020.
Example 1: Maltese citizen who worked in UK and returned to Malta before December 31, 2020 will have the periods of insurance completed in the UK taken into account for the computation of the Maltese retirement pension and vice-versa (Maltese insurance taken into account for the computation of the UK retirement pension).
IMPORTANT: The Withdrawal Agreement will also provide protection in the field of social security persons even though they do not meet the condition of continuing to be in a situation relating to both a Member State and the United Kingdom. The provisions of the WA will provide these persons with both the protection of acquired rights and the future rights of this group of persons resulting from periods of insurance, employment, self-employment and residence in the UK and in EU Member State. The WA ensures that EU citizens who have had previous periods of insurance in the UK and vice versa will be able to claim benefits and, if necessary, add up periods to qualify for social security benefits. This provision applies to all kinds of social security benefits based on periods of insurance, employment, self-employment or residence, such as pensions, invalidity benefits, accidents at work, sickness benefits or unemployment benefits.
FAQs about Brexit and social security
What happens to my A1 certificate after Brexit?
Question: I am working in the UK at the moment. I have an A1 certificate issued by Malta that is valid until the end of June 2020. What will happen to my certificate after Brexit?
Answer: Your A1 certificate will remain in force. Under the withdrawal agreement, EU regulations will be applied until the end of 2020. It follows that you do not have to do anything regarding your A1 certificate.
I am an employer of a worker who works in several EU countries, including the UK
Question: Our employee works in several EU countries, including the UK. Do we have to take any action regarding Brexit? He has been granted an A1 certificate from Malta for work in several EU countries. The certificate is valid until the end of 2021.
Answer: An already granted A1 certificate will be valid for your employee at least until the end of the transition period, that is, until the end of 2020. At this stage, you do not need to take any action regarding the A1 certificate. Brexit does not affect the validity of the A1 certificate for the other EU countries as the A1 certificate is valid until the end of 2021.
Posted to the UK – What should I do?
Question: I have been posted to the UK as of the beginning of February 2020. What should I do? What if I am posted again after April 2020?
Answer: You can apply for an A1 certificate from the Department of Social Security. The certificate will be valid until the end of the transition period, that is, until the end of 2020.
Posted to Malta from the UK – What happens to my A1 certificate?
Question: I came to Malta in September 2018 to work. My A1 certificate issued from the UK is valid until September 2020. Will I remain covered by UK social security throughout the validity period of my A1 certificate?
Answer: Yes, your certificate will remain valid. You can ask for more information from the UK authority that issued your A1 certificate.
How will Brexit affect my pension paid from Malta?
Question: I live in the UK and receive a pension from Malta. Will Brexit affect the payment of my pension?
Answer: Brexit will not affect the payment of your pension. Maltese pensions are paid to all countries in the world, including the UK (regardless of Brexit).
What should I do in order to have my records in order?
Question: I lived and worked in the UK and will relocate to another EU country. Are there any documents I should request before leaving the UK?
Answer: You should request a statement of your insurance record from the UK authorities in order to confirm that all your payments are recorded before leaving the country.
Future relations between the EU and the UK
On the 24th December 2020, the EU and the UK reached an agreement on their future relationship. This agreement will apply to persons moving between the EU and the UK after the 1st January 2021.
The free movement of persons will no longer apply to UK nationals meaning that they will not have the freedom to work, study, start a business or live in the EU. Any request for entry of UK nationals in the EU will be subject to an employment and residence permit. Nonetheless, in cases where such permits are granted, the coordination of certain Social Security Benefits will continue to be applicable for UK nationals (old-age and survivors’ pensions, pre-retirement, healthcare, maternity / paternity, accidents at work) making it easier to work abroad and not lose acquired rights.
More information available here.