Medical Care and Social Insurance
Before we raise a question of pensions in Portugal, let’s talk about social insurance in general.
Once you have your registration certificate, you may register with your local health centre, and receive free state healthcare. You must obtain a National Health Care Service “User Card” in order to take advantage of the free public healthcare system. You can do this at a local health centre with a passport and residency card.
Private healthcare in Portugal is expensive, but it is the best option if you can find a relatively low-cost health insurance policy.
Just like the NHS, Portuguese hospitals are often understaffed and overcrowded, so there are often long waiting lists for non-urgent treatment. It may not be easy to arrange a specialist appointment.
If you receive a UK state retirement pension or long-term incapacity benefit, you may be entitled to state-funded healthcare paid for by the UK. You’ll need to apply for form S1 from the International Pension Centre (tel: 0191 218 7777). You need to register your S1 with your nearest social security office. This entitles you to an EHIC issued by the UK which allows access to medical care in other EEA countries, including Britain.
You may be wise to KEEP YOUR OWN ACCURATE AND DETAILED MEDICAL RECORDS. One good thing for us is that many doctors speak good English and are happy to practise it.
The NHS website gives excellent advice and up-to-date information.
Pensions in Portugal
If you are a pensioner, you need to inform the IPC (International Pension Centre) to prevent problems with your pension payments (tel. 0191 218 7777).
Portugal has double taxation agreements with the UK so you will not be taxed twice. That is, of course, if you ensure that the tax offices are aware of your circumstances. You can arrange to have your pension paid directly into your Portuguese bank account. This way you still benefit from the increases as if you still lived in Britain. Contact HMRC and your pension providers well before you leave the UK
If you’ve only worked, lived or are working abroad then you must claim the State Pension through the relevant authority of the country where you currently live and have worked in.
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