European Commission introduces long-term care as a distinct entitlement in social security coordination

older couple in hammock In December 2016 the European Commission proposed a revision of the legislation on social security coordination. This legislation clarifies which social security system covers a citizen that moves to another European Union country and their rights to services and benefits.

Until now, access to long-term care benefits for European citizens living in another European Union country (both cash benefits and services) were treated as sickness benefits. Now the European Commission has proposed to treat them as a separate, distinct branch of social security systems. With this aim, it has proposed a definition of what long-term care benefits are and the equivalences between European Union countries.

According to the text of the proposal, “there is a need to develop a stable legal framework appropriate to long-term care benefits within the Regulation to include a clear definition of such benefits (…) “Long-term care benefit” means any benefit in kind, cash or a combination of both for persons who, over an extended period of time, on account of old-age, disability, illness or impairment, require considerable assistance from another person or persons to carry out essential daily activities, including to support their personal autonomy; this includes benefits granted to or for the person providing such assistance”.

This proposal shows the prominence achieved by long-term care provisions in social security systems across Europe, and can contribute to clarifying the rights to services and cash benefits of older persons with long-term care needs who move or have moved to a European Union country other than their country of origin. The European Commission illustrates this with an example:

More information on the overall European Commission proposal is available here. You can also consult the factsheet on the specific changes affecting long-term care here.

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