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PR(06)46: The EFTA Surveillance Authority brings Liechtenstein before the EFTA Court regarding the helplessness allowance (“Hilflosenentschädigung”)

14.11.2006

The EFTA Surveillance Authority decided today to bring Liechtenstein before the EFTA Court regarding the helplessness allowance. The helplessness allowance is a social security benefit granted to all residents in Liechtenstein who permanently require a considerable degree of surveillance or help to carry out daily tasks.In the Authority’s view, EEA law requires Liechtenstein to grant the same benefit to a beneficiary when he/she resides in another EEAState.

According to the Social Security Coordination Regulation 1408/71/EEC all social security benefits, with the exception of social assistance, are coordinated in the EEA. Such benefits should be exported, i.e. provided also to beneficiaries who reside in another EEAState.

Liechtenstein contends however that the helplessness allowance qualifies as a ‘special non-contributory benefit’, which is not exportable. These special benefits have to be notified by the Member States and are listed in Annex IIa of Regulation 1408/71/EEC. Liechtenstein has notified its helplessness allowance, which is listed accordingly in Annex IIa.

In order to be classified as a ‘special non-contributory benefit’ however, the simple listing in Annex IIa is not sufficient. In addition, all the criteria for such a benefit, namely to be ‘special’ and ‘non-contributory’, have to be met. Following judgments of the European Court of Justice, entries made by EU Member States concerning care benefits have been removed from Annex IIa because they were not fulfilling all the requirements.

It is the Authorty’s view that the Liechtenstein helplessness allowance does not fulfil the criteria as aspecial non-contributory benefit, and that, consequently, the benefit should be exportable. Hence, the Authority has requested the EFTA Court to determine whether Liechtensteinis in breach of the Social Security Coordination Regulation 1408/71.

 

For further information, please contact:

Tor Arne Solberg-Johansen
Press and Information Officer,
tel. +32 (0) 2 286 18 66

14 November 2006




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