EEA Nationals - 'Retained worker' and 'Retained self-employed status' definition

EEA nationals - 'Retained worker' or 'Retained self employed' status

EEA nationals who have had to stop work involuntarily can retain their status as a 'worker'. If a person is recognised as a retained worker, or given 'retained self-employed' status they will be able to claim benefits.

A worker can retain their worker status if they are:

·         Temporarily unable to work due to illness or accident (eligibility for benefits continues whilst the person recovers)

·         Involuntarily unemployed and registered as a job seeker. In this case worker status is only retained for:

o   Up to 6 months if the employment was less than a year. The person needs to demonstrate that they have a genuine chance of gaining employment (e.g. by evidencing qualifications, previous work references, job adverts and applications etc)

o   Longer than 6 months if the employment was longer than a year. In reality this is still only up to 9 months, and this is only extended if a) you gain a job offer at the end of the 3 months, and are waiting to take up employment, or you can prove that you have had viable job interviews, and are awaiting the outcome or b) you can demonstrate that your chance of obtaining employment at the end of the 6 months has improved (e.g. if you have just completed a vocational qualification, or can evidence a recent change in the labour market)

A self-employed person only retains their 'self-employed' status if they are:

·         Temporarily unable to work due to illness or accident (eligibility for benefits continues whilst the person recovers)


When to claim ‘Retained worker / retained self-employed’ status

It is very important to note that in order to be recognised as having retained worker or retained self-employed status you are advised to claim as soon as possible after your change in circumstances. The guidance states that you are ‘required to be recorded as involuntarily unemployed after having been employed’. Gaps may be seen as a person being ‘self-sufficient’ during that period. Case law currently states that an ‘undue delay’ can be investigated, and goes on to say that ‘It follows that the longer the delay, the more compelling must be the reasons for it’.

Prior incapacity to work

Note that if someone previously deemed as having an incapacity to work outside the UK obtains work in the UK, and then loses their job due to the same incapacity after a short period, the worker is very unlikely to have 'retained worker' status. 



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