Under EU law, a person need not work as an employed person in a Member State in order to be entitled to family benefits for his children living in another Member State.
In its recent February 7 ruling, the CJEU interpreted the EU Social Security Coordination Regulation and found that a person is entitled to receive family benefits, under the national law of the competent Member State, and this can be extended to his/her family members residing in another Member State, as if they were residing in the same Member State. Furthermore, the entitlement to family benefits is not limited to cases where the claimant was previously in receipt of a contributory benefit.
Facts of the case
In January 2009, Mr. Bogatu, a Romanian national living in Ireland since 2003, submitted a claim to the Irish authorities for family benefits for his two children living in Romania.
Mr. Bogatu worked as an employed person in Ireland between 2003 and 2009. After losing his job in 2009, he received a contributory unemployment benefit (2009-2020 [sic]), then a non-contributory unemployment benefit (201 [sic]-2013) and finally a sickness benefit.
The Irish authorities notified Mr. Bogatu of their decision to approve his claim for family benefits, excluding the period from 2010-2013. The refusal was based on the fact that, in their opinion, during that period the claimant did not meet any of the criteria needing to be satisfied in order to be entitled to family benefits for his children living in Romania, since he was neither working as an employed person in Ireland nor receiving a contributory benefit there.
It is not necessary to work as an employed person
The CJEU held that it is clear from the context and the objective of the Regulation that family benefits for children living in another Member State may be payable on a number of bases and not solely on the basis of working as an employed person.
Therefore, the Court found that, in order to be eligible to receive family benefits in the competent Member State for children living in another Member State, it is not necessary for a person either to work as an employed person in the same Member State or to be in receipt of cash benefits from that Member State because, or as a consequence, of such activity.
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