Help is at hand for expat pensioners in France
As a consequence of the weak pound, some pensioners in France are receiving UK pensions so low that they are now eligible for French government financial aid.
With a rate of only €1.10 to the pound, on 29th January 2009, a single Briton’s state pension of about £394 a month is worth just €433. This means that many expats can now claim for the allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées
The benefit is for people whose monthly pension does not reach the amount of a full French state pension, since, through no fault of their own, such as unemployment, sickness or living abroad, they did not work for enough years in France.
It is only available to those who have been permanent residents of France for at least six months of the new tax year (which runs from April until April). Recipients must also be registered for income tax. Normally, you would qualify for this benefit from age 65, however, in some cases, where the person is officially incapable of work you can claim from age 60.
Pensioners are only entitled to claim for this benefit if they have an income of no more than €648 a month for a single person or €1,136 a month for a couple. It works by topping their total income up to these levels. For example, if a single pensioner had an income of £400 a month (€441), they would be entitled to €207 in ASPA benefits.
Those who qualify for ASPA may also be exempt from income tax, TV licence and property tax.
President Sarkozy has announced that the maximum benefit which pensioners can claim will increase each year until 2012, when it is expected to reach 25% more. This year, the benefit is forecast to increase to €677 (for a single person).
How to claim for ASPA
The ASPA is mainly managed by CNAV nationally and locally by your nearest CRAM. You should make a claim to them if you have worked in France. To find their contact details visit www.cnav.fr/7adresse/f_reseau.htm
If you have never worked in France, you should apply to the Caisse des Dépôts
, which manages ASPA for permanent residents in France who do not have a state pension.
Your application must be via your mairie
. If they are not familiar with ASPA, they can contact SASPA www.saspa.fr
The FrenchEntrée Team
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