Disability pension in an EU country

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Hi. A bit complicated. But I hope you can at least tell me where to look for answers.

My husband was diagnosed a few months ago with advanced aggressive prostate cancer. He's doing well now, going through chemo and then radiotherapy is planned. But we don't know how much time it will give him. We don't dare to ask.

For now, he's working. Not much, but our employer (we work together) is very understanding and makes adjustments to his job, allows hospital visits (for both of us) and all this without cutting his pay. So we don't want or need any benefits.

Now - we're Polish. All our friends and family are there. So obviously, when the time comes I want him to be with people he loves. That can only happen if I'll be sure that his treatment will be continued without any problems. And for that, he will need health insurance in Poland. He's 62 so still 5 years to a pension age. In Poland pension age is 65 so a bit sooner, and he will be entitled to it. I just can't be sure if we will be given 3 years, and even if we will be that lucky, all the formalities last too long for him to be without access to treatment.

In Poland, there is something like a "disability pension" for people who can't work but have paid national insurance long enough. And I was told he could apply for it in the UK with all the documents sent to Poland.

I realise you might not have the knowledge about pension systems in other countries, but maybe you could tell me if there is a way to obtain a document confirming that he is disabled, without applying for benefits here (as we don't need them for now). Or maybe you have some other idea to ensure that he will be able to continue his treatment abroad. Would NHS pay for such treatment?

I will be grateful for any suggestions.

  • Hi Iska

    My name is Linda and I am a Work Support Adviser in the Macmillan Money and Work Team. I can advise on a person’s rights at work if they have been affected by Cancer. Unfortunately I can only advise on Employment Law in the United Kingdom.

    I am sorry to hear about your husband’s advanced Prostate Cancer. I hope he is being well supported by his medical team.

    I would advise speaking to your husband’s Consultant to ask if they can issue a letter confirming his diagnosis and that Cancer is considered to be a disability. I am unsure if he would be able to have NHS funded treatment abroad. This is a question to raise with his medical team.

    Can I assume that both you and your husband are employed by a company based in the United Kingdom ?

    As your husband has a cancer diagnosis He is considered to have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland). This applies to the UK only. Poland may have their own disability laws. This means his employer should not discriminate against him because of his cancer. His employer is also under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help him at work. This protection is lifelong and does not depend on an active cancer diagnosis. You mentioned that adjustments are already in place .


    Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers must make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled people are not disadvantaged in the workplace. They should also make sure policies and practices do not put disabled people at a disadvantage.

    With regards to the Pension query that you have. We do have a team of Financial Guides who can offer Guidance and Support with Pensions. They do also only give Guidance on UK Pensions but they may be able to support with forms and potential signposting to other services.


    You can also call the Financial Guidance Team on 0808 808 0000 option 1, option 2, option 1. They are available Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm .


    I hope this information has been helpful.

    Kind Regards


    Work Support Adviser

  • Thank you for your helpful advice. I will try to  contact the services you mentioned