Brexit, the Irish Border and Social Security Rights

26 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2020 Last revised: 20 Feb 2020

Date Written: February 1, 2018


This paper will examine the implications of Brexit for social security rights as they affect Northern Ireland. The paper begins with a consideration of the UK-wide implications for social security arising from Brexit including the potential impact on rights derived from EU law and the legal challenges inherent in reconciling existing EU laws with new domestic UK legislation, with concerns over the potential for parliamentary or independent scrutiny of this process. The general constitutional and political uncertainties for Northern Ireland arising from Brexit are considered in order to contextualise the examination of the most prominent social security implications for Northern Ireland – and the Republic of Ireland – stemming from the issue of cross-border working and the aggregation and exportability of social security entitlements. The paper brings together the positions of the UK, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the EU, as of January 2018, to provide a robust assessment of the cumulative issues that that will impact on social security rights in Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

JEL Classification: Social security, European Law, Ireland, Aggregation, EU Legislation,

Suggested Citation

McKeever, Gráinne, Brexit, the Irish Border and Social Security Rights (February 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Gráinne McKeever (Contact Author)

Ulster University at Jordanstown ( email )

County Antrim BT37 OQB, Northern Ireland
United Kingdom
+44 (0)28 9036 6340 (Phone)

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