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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am Australian and my wife is Irish and we arrived in France on the 30th of November last year.

After our requisite three months of residence, we made a joint application to be covered by the health system. We did this at the CPAM office in Villeneuve sur Lot in March.

They sent me a temporary social security number (attestation des droits) in late April. But nothing for Cliona.

I resubmitted all the paperwork for her in May to the regional office in Agen.

I got my permanent number the other day and fingers crossed my Carte Vitale soon.

Still nothing for Cliona.

Then an envelope arrives in the postbox, in fact two envelopes. One contains all her documents we had resubmitted and the other a letter informing Cliona her application was incomplete.

It listed the required documents ...

She needs to prove when she arrived in France. She cannot do that as she came in on a European passport. (I was able to prove my entry date, because there was a stamp in my Australian passport.)

They want the last two energy bills. She can't do that either as we have "bill softening" whereby EDF takes an amount out of our joint account by direct debit each month ... no bills are issued.

Tax assessments from the previous two financial years.

P60 forms from the past two financial years ... she does not have them, as they are issued in the UK and she lived in Australia prior to coming to France.


The nature and proof of her income ... ie bank account balances in France and overseas for the past six months.

They want simikar proof of my account/s.

They want une attestation de fin de droits ... formulaire E104 or DWP. We have no idea what this is.

Finally, she needs to provide details of her "personal situation" (family or professional) prior to and after settling in France.

The letter warned her that if she didn't provide these documents within 45 days her application would lapse.

I can't undertand why for me it was relatively smooth sailing but for my wife it's a bureacratic tsunami.
 

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I am Australian and my wife is Irish and we arrived in France on the 30th of November last year.

After our requisite three months of residence, we made a joint application to be covered by the health system. We did this at the CPAM office in Villeneuve sur Lot in March.

They sent me a temporary social security number (attestation des droits) in late April. But nothing for Cliona.

I resubmitted all the paperwork for her in May to the regional office in Agen.

I got my permanent number the other day and fingers crossed my Carte Vitale soon.

Still nothing for Cliona.

Then an envelope arrives in the postbox, in fact two envelopes. One contains all her documents we had resubmitted and the other a letter informing Cliona her application was incomplete.

It listed the required documents ...

She needs to prove when she arrived in France. She cannot do that as she came in on a European passport. (I was able to prove my entry date, because there was a stamp in my Australian passport.)

They want the last two energy bills. She can't do that either as we have "bill softening" whereby EDF takes an amount out of our joint account by direct debit each month ... no bills are issued.

Tax assessments from the previous two financial years.

P60 forms from the past two financial years ... she does not have them, as they are issued in the UK and she lived in Australia prior to coming to France.


The nature and proof of her income ... ie bank account balances in France and overseas for the past six months.

They want simikar proof of my account/s.

They want une attestation de fin de droits ... formulaire E104 or DWP. We have no idea what this is.

Finally, she needs to provide details of her "personal situation" (family or professional) prior to and after settling in France.

The letter warned her that if she didn't provide these documents within 45 days her application would lapse.

I can't undertand why for me it was relatively smooth sailing but for my wife it's a bureacratic tsunami.
The problem, as I'm sure you are aware, is that she entered on an EU passport and needs to submit evidence of arrival. CPAM seems to have assumed that as she has an UK passport, she is covered by the UK social security system, paid taxes there, etc so is asking for UK documentation.

You need to reply that she was a resident of Australia and submit some evidence of her entry date (I did this with boarding passes) because her UK passport was not stamped on arrival. You also need to submit the Australian version of tax and if she has a letter from Medicare saying that she is no longer covered outside Australia a copy of that - otherwise an attestation that she is no longer covered by Medicare. Frankly, I went through all this stuff in person at my appointment when I applied - I also submitted an attestation re all of my income (after all the Australian tax year couldn't be further out of line with the French one).

Re EDF bills - if you don't have them and if you don't have the letter detailing your forward payments or they won't accept that - do you have some other utility bill or phone bill of rent receipts? These are standard ways in France of demonstrating residence. If you don't have any of those things, you will need to come up with something else that could be suitable - I suggest you actually ask CPAM.

If the application lapses, then she will have to re-apply - but she will still need to provide all the relevant evidence re 3 month's residence, income and health cover at time of application.

Edit: France is actually extremely generous in allowing anyone who can prove 3 months continuous residence to join its health system.
 

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Oh, and if Cliona has a UK old aged pension she will need to request an S1 from the UK DWP, as the UK is obliged to pay for her attachment to the French health system. If she is entitled to an OAP she will need to apply for it through the DWP.
 

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My wife and I (both Yanks) had functionally the same experience last year in Antibes. Add that documents and letters sent through the Poste went lost (our only experience with this in FR). Every time we hit a snag, we just kept going back to CPAM and speaking to some one. People were always accommodating, although sometimes issues we thought were resolved were not. Crunch time for us came with my NY City birth certificate that had no raised seal, but was otherwise visibly an original document, being accepted. I suspect that my wife's French (very good) played a role, but maybe not. In the end, though, no one insisted that we furnish something that couldn't be furnished. So, persevere. I think it also possible that some of folks at the guichet may be easier to deal with than others.
 

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CPAM seems to have assumed that as she has an UK passport
Actually, OP said she was Irish.
But no doubt the principle is the same - since she is an EU citizen, CPAM do need to ensure that under EU rules no other EU state should be taking responsibility for her healthcare, before they can open her rights in France.
 

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Agree with EH.

I would add that it might be good idea for both of you to go to the CPAM office. Take with you all the following...with a copy for cpam...... birth certs, marriage cert, bank statements, proof of address as many times as you can. There's the inverse cussidness rule at work here, the more you take the less you'll need. If you go without a suitcase full of papers they will ask for X,Y, Z.

I've found CPam staff quite helpful..once you get to the head of the queue. Start by asking for their help and "act stupid". Remember that your cpam probs are not the fault of the person behind the desk. At a minimum ask tbem to stop the clock for the reapplication. Write down what the result of the meeting is and show a copy to the cpam person.

CPAM personnel are fonctionaires and are brainwashed into filing and good organisation. Perhaps it's a coincidence but whenever I've talked to tbese people I've always taken my lever arch files with coloured separators....all well labelled etc. Usually I leave with a success. If they see that you have the same personal values as them they are more likely to be helpful, give you the benefit of doubt etc. There's deep psychology here!

Good luck! Tell us how you get on?

DejW



The problem, as I'm sure you are aware, is that she entered on an EU passsport and needs to submit evidence of arrival. CPAM seems to have assumed that as she has an UK passport, she is covered by the UK social security system, paid taxes there, etc so is asking for UK documentation.

You need to reply that she was a resident of Australia and submit some evidence of her entry date (I did this with boarding passes) because her UK passport was not stamped on arrival. You also need to submit the Australian version of tax and if she has a letter from Medicare saying that she is no longer covered outside Australia a copy of that - otherwise an attestation that she is no longer covered by Medicare. Frankly, I went through all this stuff in person at my appointment when I applied - I also submitted an attestation re all of my income (after all the Australian tax year couldn't be further out of line with the French one).

Re EDF bills - if you don't have them and if you don't have the letter detailing your forward payments or they won't accept that - do you have some other utility bill or phone bill of rent receipts? These are standard ways in France of demonstrating residence. If you don't have any of those things, you will need to come up with something else that could be suitable - I suggest you actually ask CPAM.

If the application lapses, then she will have to re-apply - but she will still need to provide all the relevant evidence re 3 month's residence, income and health cover at time of application.

Edit: France is actually extremely generous in allowing anyone who can prove 3 months continuous residence to join its health system.
 

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Actually, OP said she was Irish.
But no doubt the principle is the same - since she is an EU citizen, CPAM do need to ensure that under EU rules no other EU state should be taking responsibility for her healthcare, before they can open her rights in France.
Yeah - I just realised that. Apologies to the OP is Cliona is from the Republic of Ireland.
 

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Agree with EH.

I would add that it might be good idea for both of you to go to the CPAM office. Take with you all the following...with a copy for cpam...... birth certs, marriage cert, bank statements, proof of address as many times as you can. There's the inverse cussidness rule at work here, the more you take the less you'll need. If you go without a suitcase full of papers they will ask for X,Y, Z.

I've found CPam staff quite helpful..once you get to the head of the queue. Start by asking for their help and "act stupid". Remember that your cpam probs are not the fault of the person behind the desk. At a minimum ask tbem to stop the clock for the reapplication. Write down what the result of the meeting is and show a copy to the cpam person.

CPAM personnel are fonctionaires and are brainwashed into filing and good organisation. Perhaps it's a coincidence but whenever I've talked to tbese people I've always taken my lever arch files with coloured separators....all well labelled etc. Usually I leave with a success. If they see that you have the same personal values as them they are more likely to be helpful, give you the benefit of doubt etc. There's deep psychology here!

Good luck! Tell us how you get on?

DejW
Actually a lot of CPAM staff, especially those who deal face to face with the public, are not fonctionnaires at all these days. The staff actually assessing the application would be, though.
 

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DejW's ideas are really very good. The key seems to be to make it as easy as possible for the person you're dealing with. Chances are, they only know what they are supposed to ask for (i.e. the French documents "everyone has") - what you need to do is to find out what they're looking for and try to provide them with the best you can do.

I've had a LONG history of problems "proving" my residence here in France simply because most bills and properties are in DH's name alone. Some offices will accept the water bill in his name plus our livret de famille, showing that I am, indeed, married to him. Others won't. Some will take a mobile phone bill, others won't (it has to be a fixed phone bill). I am told that a car registration (carte grise) is a valid proof of residence, while a driving license isn't. (Somehow I guess you're more likely to change the address on your car registration than on your driving license here.) And after going through a full round of this with the agency that issues amateur radio call signs to foreigners, I have used their letter awarding me my call sign as proof of residence for some other agency. Sometimes you just have to get creative. But going in in person definitely helps - so that you can explain that you're trying to be helpful. <g>

Do you have a lease or other document for where you are living? If her name is on it, it might help in establishing when she entered France. Check through your documents and records and see what you can come up with. Then go see them in person and see what you can do to help them understand that you're trying to help them help you.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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OK, she probably knows then that the relevant department for pensions is the Department of Social Protection.
Clousseau, you really do need to talk to CPAM if Cliona was a resident of Australia prior to your move, especially if that was for a considerable time, as they might want evidence of that. This dual EU/non-EU citizenship business can be a bit messy when you move here from the non-EU country.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Our original interview with CPAM at Villeneuve sur Lot was a joint application. We both attended. There were two dossiers, one for her, one for me. Our situation was explained. The woman who interviewed us was satisfied that both our applications were in order. That was back in March. We were informed later that Agen was dealing with our applications. Now this!
 

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Presumably there is no question that Ireland might in fact be responsible for her healthcare via the S1 - did she work in Ireland prior to moving to Australia, is she in receipt of an Irish pension?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi ET

She worked in Ireland as a teenager before moving to the UK, then moved to Australia in 2003.

No, she isn't receiving an Irish pension. She expects to receive an English pension when she turns 66, in six years time.
 

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Hi ET

She worked in Ireland as a teenager before moving to the UK, then moved to Australia in 2003.

No, she isn't receiving an Irish pension. She expects to receive an English pension when she turns 66, in six years time.
Clearly the S1 is not currently an issue. If she lived in Australia from 2003, then I believe she will need to provide some evidence of that (as indeed I did - I moved there in 1971 and my Aussie passport and naturalisation papers were insufficient. IIRC I overcame it with income tax notices for several years. PUMA applications are not assessed by each CPAM office and, as you clearly realise, your applications are assessed separately, even if submitted together - which means they can become entirely separate. It is not unusual in France for additional documentation to be requested after the dossier has been accepted. And if you think this particular experience is bad, I have an absolute horror story to tell about my application for the aged pension in Australia which took absolutely ages and half a dozen submissions simply because Centrelink kept making errors :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi EH

I'm exactly five years away from being eligible to apply for the OAP. I understand that there is currently no reciprocal social security agreement between France and Australia, and if that remains the case, I would have to return to live in Australia for two years, make my application, then return to France. Alternatively I could move to one of any number of European countries which have such a reciprocal agreement. Nothing is ever easy. I fail to understand why Australia has been able to negotiate these agreements with all these other countries, but not France.
 

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Hi EH

I'm exactly five years away from being eligible to apply for the OAP. I understand that there is currently no reciprocal social security agreement between France and Australia, and if that remains the case, I would have to return to live in Australia for two years, make my application, then return to France. Alternatively I could move to one of any number of European countries which have such a reciprocal agreement. Nothing is ever easy. I fail to understand why Australia has been able to negotiate these agreements with all these other countries, but not France.
Because Australia does not have the will - there has been an agreement 'under negotiation' for years now and the problem is definitely not with France (the French can make their application from the pension from Australia and, as the French pension is based on contributions, can continue to contribute whilst living overseas). Doubtless there is a view that there is a potential saving in that approach. (I applied for my pension before I left.) When I was still resident in Australia, I asked the question of all then Ministers, including the PM, and of my local MP, former Ministers, those likely in line to become a Minister and the then Leader of the Opposition - didn't get an answer :D

Edit: Perhaps it might be an outcome of FTA negotiations between the EU and Australia.
 

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Because Australia does not have the will - there has been an agreement 'under negotiation' for years now and the problem is definitely not with France (the French can make their application from the pension from Australia and, as the French pension is based on contributions, can continue to contribute whilst living overseas). Doubtless there is a view that there is a potential saving in that approach. (I applied for my pension before I left.) When I was still resident in Australia, I asked the question of all then Ministers, including the PM, and of my local MP, former Ministers, those likely in line to become a Minister and the then Leader of the Opposition - didn't get an answer :D

Edit: Perhaps it might be an outcome of FTA negotiations between the EU and Australia.
A couple of years ago, I did get an answer from my MP, who went to the Minister - and it was pointless waffle anyway - it's under discussion and not expected any time soon.

The two year residence thing for an Australian Age Pension unless you're in an Agreement Country is comparatively recent, and does save the Govt some money.

It can work the other way too - while I might get medical cover in France after 3 months, I can't in Germany, where we need to go for our son's care. While Germany has a reciprocal agreement with Australia for Social Security, it doesn't for health and you can't get public insurance if you're over 55, even those Germans coming to Australia permanently get Medicare.

We can get into the German public system by transferring after 12 months in another EU country's health system. While we could do that in France, it's looking like we'll be spending 12-18 months in Austria (no joining restrictions apart from residency) to meet that condition (wife doesn't speak French so it's a bit easier, not that I'm all that much better!)

At least Germany is an Agreement Country so I can get the Age Pension in 7 years time, but the effect for me is in a way similar to clousseau, as both the Pension and health cover are needed wherever you are. :)
 

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OP you have my sympathy, CPAM Migrants Sous-Prefecture to Agen then to Bayonne had me battering my head against a brick wall for 2 years and are the reason I wrote, in another thread on here, about members of staff within the same office not giving consistent advice and also losing papers. Your wife's circumstances do not appear to be the same as mine: UK S1 + ALD30 illness but:

1. Is there any way your wife could be accepted as your dependent? It worked for my OH.

2. EDF: have you registered online? When you have, you should be able to get an attestation de contrat and also see and print any bills: www.edf.fr/particuliers.

3. Now that you have your number, you should revisit any declaration de medecin traitant you have made and get another form completed. CPAM do not carry forward such things on your behalf. Getting a doctor in our departement at the moment can be quite difficult, so don't lose yours for the sake of an erroneous number.

4. If your wife's application is in the pipeline then she may be able to get an attestation des ayants droits after about 3 weeks in the system. A local CPAM office can print this out for her (online access being reserved for carte vitale holders). These attestations have an expiry date but I was told that there was no limit to the number of times it could be extended.

Best of luck with this.
 
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