Clause 13: Co-ordination of social security systems
198 The EU Social Security Coordination Regulations1 protect the social security position of persons who move and work around the EU. The Regulations coordinate the application of different Member States’ social security systems to avoid conflict or duplication, as well as providing for aggregation of periods of work, insurance (National Insurance contributions in the UK) or residence to help meet benefit entitlement conditions and for the payment of certain benefits to or in respect of a person living in another Member State (‘export’ of benefits). Individuals within scope will continue to benefit from coordination rules as set out in the Agreements.
199 These rules ensure that a worker (and their employer) or a self-employed worker only pay contributions into one Member State’s social security scheme at a time and determine which Member State is responsible for the payment of benefits and the cost of healthcare. They set out certain rights to healthcare cover in the UK, reimbursed by the Member State responsible for that cover, and equivalent rights for healthcare cover in Member States, reimbursed by the UK.
200 The EU Social Security Coordination Regulations will apply directly to those within scope of Title III of Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement by virtue of clause 5. They will also apply directly to those within scope of Title III of Part 2 of the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement and Part 3 of the Swiss Citizen’s Rights Agreement by virtue of clause 6. Future updates to these Regulations, where added to an Annex of the Agreements under a Joint Committee mechanism, will also apply directly.
201 Clause 13 provides Ministers of the Crown or a devolved authority (separately or jointly) with a power to implement these sections of the Agreements and supplement the effect of the Agreements as applied in domestic law and any matters which arise out of this, for example to remedy any unforeseen inconsistencies with domestic legislation.
202 This power will also be available in relation to future changes to the EU Social Security Coordination Regulations that are added to the Agreements and so take effect in domestic law directly by virtue of clauses 5 and 6. This will ensure that the UK can react to future changes and continue to meet its obligations under the Agreements.
203 The power may also be used to make changes to administrative and operational systems that implement the co-ordination of social security systems domestically. This could include, for example, providing for the sharing of data either with other states or between appropriate authorities in the UK, where it is necessary to give full effect to the Agreements (should provision be needed beyond the data sharing articles of the EU Social Security Coordination Regulations).
204 The power also enables a Minister or a devolved authority to supplement the effect of Article 7A of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in relation to Title III of Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement. Subsections (2) and (3) allow equivalent provision to be made in respect of Article 7B of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in relation to Title III of Part 2 of the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement and Article 23(4) and Part 3 of the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.
205 This power may also be used to give effect to amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement, and the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement, adopted by the Joint Committee falling within the scope of the matters provided for by this clause.
206 Subsection (4) defines the social security co-ordination provisions in the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.
207 Subsection (5) states that the power to make regulations may be used to modify any provision made under an enactment.
208 Subsection (6) defines ‘appropriate authority’ for the purposes of this clause. Subsection (7) references Schedule 1 which makes further provision concerning the powers of the devolved authorities.
1 Regulations (EC) 883/2004 and 987/2009, and Regulations (EEC) 1408/71 and 574/72 in respect of third country nationals.