11th December 2017

Disabled people and Brexit


Disabled Europeans, their families and carers in Britain are facing a hostile environment at the moment. They are considered as unwanted by parts of the society. They are labeled not only as immigrants but often also as a “burden”, because they receive disability related benefits.

Guarantees are needed

Disire hoped that the start of the Brexit negotiations would calm down and clear up the situation for disabled EEA citizens and their families. Unfortunately, the proposal recently presented by the UK government and the UK-EU deal concerning the right to stay for EEA citizens does not make any mention of disabled people and carers. Instead, even the proposed status mentions exercising EU Treaty rights (working, being self-employed, studying, being self-sufficient) as a requirement for the new status. This would make it impossible for many disabled people and carers to obtain the new proposed status.

We welcome the intention to scrap the CSI requirement. Even so, this move would not help most disabled people and carers who receive a carer’s allowance or disability and other benefits, as they are not considered “self-sufficient”.

The “transition period” would not help them either, as their impairments are permanent and they cannot change the fact that they are disabled.

Call for provisions

In general, any new arrangements regarding the right to stay in the UK for EEA citizens and for British citizens in the EU must not discriminate against disabled people, their families and their carers.
Both the UK and the European Union have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Any new arrangements and rights must have disabled people and their families in mind. Any new status, rights or arrangements need to have provisions for disabled people who can’t fulfil the requirements due to their impairment. If necessary, also people with responsibilities for caring for someone must get provisions if these responsibilities prevent them from meeting the requirements. These provisions are important to meet legal requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UK Equality Act 2010 (reasonable adjustments and anti-discrimination) and other laws.