24th October 2008

In July it was much reported around the world that film-star Angelina Jolie had given birth to twins in France. It meant that she and fellow film-star Brad Pitt now have six children, the family dividing their time between their homes in Correns in the Var and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The big question here: should such a megastar couple be allowed to claim France's generous family benefits? Getting out the calculator, even with their income levels, as parents of 6 children they are probably entitled to welfare benefits of 1,724 euros per month. Such a shame, though, that they'll miss out on the prime a la naissance because their income as a couple is above the threshhold of 80,234 euros p.a. But they can claim 648 euros towards the cost of a nanny. That's all right, then. It has long been known that France is a great place for large families, famille nombreuse, as the combination of high family allowances and other benefits (including lower taxes) encourage couples to have more children - as we've seen above! As well as maternity benefits, France even offers a 'school start allowance' and a 'parental education allowance', amongst many others. In direct contrast, much to our gloom, there are absolutely no benefits to which we, as English retired French-residents, can claim. We aren't eligible to claim a French pension or any other French welfare benefits, because we've never contributed to the French social security system, but neither can we claim English pension credits because we no longer live in the UK! That means that, although we must be grateful to receive the standard, miniscule, UK pension (having paid UK national insurance all our working lives), there are no top-ups at all - not even winter fuel allowance. Oh well. Onwards and upwards.

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