This is not about hormone replacement therapy, sorry, but the "Habitual Residence Test".
I saw a client this week who was refused benefits on account of her failing the HRT.
Born somewhere in the Middle-east she became a citizen of a Scandinavian country and had lived there many years. Then she decided to come to the UK where she has family.
She was clearly in a lot of pain when she saw me and could not sit for more than a few minutes without having to change position. She told me she had come here so that her family could look after her.
But EU/EEA citizens cannot just arrive on these shores and claim benefits. They have the right to reside but they must be able to support themselves by being employed or be self-employed, but they do not have the right to benefits. I think the objective is that people do not simply move to a country with better benefits, ie shop around for better benefits.
Truth is, people do.
They come here and worked for a bit, claimed illness, and then go on benefits indefinitely. It has been known.
When I later looked at this client's notes I realized that she had been seen by our most experienced adviser who told her the 'rules'. I said, you know, you could go back to your country and you'd be able to claim all the benefits: health, care, education, housing, etc.
She wouldn't countenance that idea because she wants to be in the UK. Her son requires special medication and has special needs. Her children have been in school here. Etc.
When I looked up (just) at the HRT I learned that there is a chance that this woman may now qualify and it makes me angry.
If you intend to stay and if your children have been put in school, you are habitually resident, and therefore you can now claim benefits.
She worked for a month when she first arrived and was dismissed. She kept dropping plates in the restaurant because she was depressed. She suffers from arthritis in several places, etc.
And the UK taxpayer has to pick up the tab. Why? She had no intention of working here. She wanted to come here so that her family could look after her because she is ill. That's what she told me. And yet if she drags the procedure out for a bit, simply by refusing to go home, claims that her children are settled here, etc. she would pass the HRT. And thousands of pounds of benefits would roll in, not counting the medical bills we are already paying.
Also, she was sent to us by her social worker! The taxpayer pays the social worker to look after vulnerable people. The social worker sends her client to my advice charity, run by volunteers.
If you paid for a medical service would you be happy if they say, 'Sorry, cannot help you there. Please go to the Red Cross or St John's Ambulance people.'
I cannot understand a welfare system where people could fleece it without having first contributed to it. Does Singapore really want this sort of welfare? Be careful. It would be good for a few years. Everyone would be happy. But there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Look at Greece. Apparently they retire in their 50s while Britons cannot retire till at least 65, or 67 in my case. But they want their pension and for much longer. They are out on the streets demonstrating again.
Do they not understand that we have to work to keep the economy going in order to pay benefits?
We have decided that we will leave this country as soon as we can. Job offers, anyone?