Is French Aspa benefit repayable from my estate?

I receive Aspa income top-up benefit in France. I have been told this has to all be reimbursed from my estate after my death – is this true?  F.M.

1 May 2019
By Oliver Rowland

Yes, Aspa pension top-up benefit is deductible from your estate after you die – within certain limits.

Aspa is available to older people with low incomes, aged 65 or more - or, in some cases, younger for those with serious disabilities. At current rates it is for single people with monthly income of less than €868 or for couples with less than €1,348 and it tops income up to these amounts. Certain kinds of income are not included in the calculation, including a part of any work earnings, the AAH disabled person’s benefit and ALS housing benefit.

French or EU citizens who are permanent residents of France may qualify, or non-EU citizens who have held for at least 10 years a residency card entitling the holder to work. After you die, amounts paid out may be deducted from your estate if the estate’s value is more than €39,000 in mainland France (€100,000 in the overseas regions).

The maximum to be deducted may be no more than €6,940 per year of payments for a single person or €9,217 for a couple.

Repayment can be put off if the person’s heir is their spouse or a dependant, in which case it is only reimbursable after that person dies.

If there are difficulties making payment, it can be possible to negotiate to pay in instalments or for extra time to pay.

Heirs may contest payments if they believe them to be unreasonable via the Tribunal des Affaires de la Sécurité sociale.

It is preferable to seek an amicable solution first at the point of receiving a payment demand (ie. from the person’s pension caisse or, in the case of retirees who never worked in France, Saspa, a branch of the Caisse des Dépôts).

 

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