British Benevolent Fund; The importance of correct paperwork

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The British Benevolent Fund was founded over a century with the aim of providing assistance to those British nationals in Spain who face severe financial issues.

We work with the UK consular network and many charity partners from  across the country in order to do this.

The issue of Brexit is a real one for many people who although have lived in Spain years did not for whatever reason complete the paperwork to be considered officially resident under the terms of the UK withdrawal from the EU.

For elderly and vulnerable people requiring medical treatment in Spain from the public health system this can be an acute issue.

For those unable to afford private heath schemes the payment for medical treatment can be an enormous and, in some case, insurmountable amount.

Last year we were approached by one of our partners to help for a British lady who had been living off a small pension in Spain and found that post Brexit that she was no longer eligible for Spanish health and state benefits as she had not registered as a resident by the deadline.

As she was facing several serious health issues which needed ongoing treatment this was an acute issue that needed resolving.

We were being asked to pay for her medical treatment which was a considerable sum as well as being an ongoing one it was necessary that she had her paperwork in order or face the difficult decision of repatriation to the UK.

Thankfully we were able to provide some initial sums for her medication whilst her paperwork was being done – and we were only able to do this as in her case it was a clear possible outcome.

Even so it was not a straightforward process – even to get an appointment let alone the considerable documentation that was required now that the deadline had passed.

However, working with the working with the partner charity we were able to provide a grant for her medical expenses and she was fortunate that she was able to the access Spanish public health system within a short period.

The BBF can only help vulnerable people like her through generosity of others. If you would like to support others overcome  similar situations please visit our website or email me

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Written by

British Benevolent Fund

Olaf Clayton is the chairman of the British Benevolent Fund and shares the charity's expat stories with the Euro Weekly News every week