Ministers are accused of discriminating against those from EU member states who have been living and working in the UK.
It is alleged an extra residency test applied by the UK to see if migrants are eligible to claim breaches EU law.
The EU has a standard test that is supposed to be applied by countries to determine a migrant’s eligibility for welfare payments.
But the British right-to-reside test goes further and restricts access to a number of social security benefits that would otherwise be available to those coming to the UK from another EU member state.
The commission believes the UK is breaking EU law and alleges thousands of people may have been unfairly denied benefits as a result.
Consequently, it plans to take Britain to the European Court of Justice – an action that could take years to complete.
But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused the commission of trying to “water down” measures to protect British taxpayers.
- European Commission to sue UK over benefits rules (dailymail.co.uk)
- European Commission to sue UK over benefits rules (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Iain Duncan Smith prepared to see European Commission in court (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
- IDS vows to fight in EU Court over benefits test for migrants (thetimes.co.uk)
- UK ‘will not cave in’ on EU migrant benefits (guardian.co.uk)