A new analysis of EU social security rules, especially ECJ case law, was behind France’s recent decision to restore access to the CSS health top-up to UK and EU pensioners.
We highlighted the problems last year after readers contacted us following France’s decision, in spring 2022, to stop giving complémentaire santé solidaire (CSS) to S1 holders, based on a strict interpretation of sections of the French social security code.
CSS gives free or low-cost top-ups to people on low incomes.
UK ‘new-comers’ to France can apply for CSS
French social security authority the Direction de la sécurité sociale (DSS) has now confirmed to us that ‘in-depth’ legal analysis of EU law was the reason for France reversing last year’s policy.
It confirmed that this includes British S1 holders, based on social security coordination rules in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).
It also applies to UK ‘new-comers’, based on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the DSS confirms.
We do not know if this resulted specifically from inquiries we made with the European Commission from September 2022, including asking if the French policy complied with EU free movement rules.
The Rift group for Britons’ rights also reports discussing the issue with the European Commission last November.
EU found CSS benefit must be reinstated
An EU official said: “Following the journalist’s inquiry, the Commission contacted the relevant French authorities in December 2022.
“The Commission’s view was that CSS should be provided to EU and UK citizens, covered by the WA, who are registered for healthcare in France based on the S1 form.
“In their reply, the French authorities acknowledged that granting the CSS had been temporarily suspended in spring 2022 but confirmed that the CSS is a benefit coordinated under Regulation 883/2004 and is therefore provided to both EU and UK citizens (covered by the WA) with an S1.”