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Internal Market: Norway to be brought to Court for restrictions on child benefits

28.3.2012

PR(12)17

Norway must remove restrictions on the payment of child benefits in cases where one parent is working in Norway, while the child is living with the other parent in another EEA State. The EFTA Surveillance Authority decided today to bring this issue before the EFTA Court.

According to Norwegian law, a person working in Norway is entitled to family benefits only when the child lives with him or her. The Norwegian authorities do not examine whether the child living abroad is actually dependent on the parent who lives in Norway when the parents are separated. This is in breach of EEA law, which gives a right to receive benefits if the child is actually dependent on the parent, independently of whether or not they are living together.

The EEA Agreement coordinates the social security systems of the EEA States in cross-border situations. Accordingly, the provision of family benefits is primarily up to the state where a parent is economically active, even for a child that lives outside the territory of that state. This principle applies independently of the marital status of the parents.

As Norway failed to take satisfactory measures after receiving the Authority's reasoned opinion in this case, the matter now will be brought before the EFTA Court.

For background information on the regulation of social security at EEA level, see the Authority's Q&A here.

 

For further information, please contact:

Mr Trygve Mellvang-Berg
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob.: (+32)(0)492 900 187




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