27th December 2008

Talking about the poor yesterday - and I should know! - it came as a surprise to read that help is now at hand. It looks as though UK pensioners in France may now be eligible for benefits as the low pound puts them under the poverty line. A report in the January edition of the Connexion newspaper, hot off the presses, reports that UK expats now qualify for French state financial aid of up to 467 euros p.m. for a couple. They may also be exempt from income tax, taxe d'habitation and TV licence (audio-visuelle) - a potential saving of thousands. For those who have reached the doddery age of 75(!) you are also exempt from taxe fonciere.
If you receive 100% of the current UK state pension (which I don't because of the years I took off work to have children), it's currently about £394 or 418 euros p.m. This makes many UK pensioners eligible for the allocation de solidarite aux personnes agees (aspa) - similar to the UK's pension credit scheme (to which expats are not eligible). If successful, aspa tops your income up to 648 euros p.m. for a single person, or 1,135 euros p.m. for a couple.
But, just as I was about to get out the French dictionnaire to try and work out the right phrases to make a claim, I spotted a clause: you must be 65. Here's a website anyway for further info: www.saspa.fr, before you make your application directly to your local mairie.
Oh well, I'll just have to struggle on for another few years yet. The carrot looks tempting though.

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