A French immigrant who was denied benefits in her final stages of pregnancy was entitled to the payments, the European Court of Justice has ruled.
Jessy Saint Prix gave up working as a teaching assistant in the final stages of her pregnancy and attempted to claim benefits in the UK.
She was refused a claim for Income Support because under EU law the UK government believed that the French migrant was not considered to be a “worker”.
Non-British residents working in the UK are not entitled to Income Support unless they have worker status, according to EU law.
However, the Supreme Court referred to the case to European Court of Justice who ruled that Ms Saint Prix should have been entitled to the benefit.
The case will now go back to the Supreme Court who will take the ruling made by the European Court of Justice into account when coming to a final judgement.
Michael Spencer, Solicitor for the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), said:
“We are delighted that the European Court has recognised the rights of pregnant women to equal treatment under EU law. This ruling will help British women living and working on the continent, as well as women from other EU states who currently live and work in the UK.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions told BBC News:
“This judgment relates to a very unusual case and is a narrow ruling.
“Nonetheless, it demonstrates how important it is that the UK government is able to set the rules on who is eligible for receiving welfare support, not the European Union.
“That’s why we’re working with other European governments to ensure we can protect our benefits system.
“The British public are rightly concerned that migrants should contribute to this country and not be drawn here by the attractiveness of our benefits system.”
Last updated at 21:07pm 19 June 2014 to include CPAG statement.