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Nationals of non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries

Non-EEA nationals will be subject to immigration rules and their right to benefits will be defined by their immigration status.

1. Can you claim benefits?

Your immigration status will affect whether or not you can claim most benefits.

You are prevented from claiming the benefits and tax credits listed below if you are a person subject to immigration control.

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carers Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Local Welfare Assistance
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Social Fund payments
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

You can claim the following benefits regardless of immigration status:

  • Contributory benefits (Contribution-based JSA, contribution-based ESA, though you would have had to have paid sufficient national insurance contributions to qualify
  • Statutory payments (statutory sick pay, statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay) are not affected by your immigration status.
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Industrial injuries benefits

Residence and Presence Rules

In addition to rules that relate to your immigration status you also have to satisfy all the other conditions for that benefit including the residence and presence rules.

2. What is a Person Subject to Immigration Control?

You are a person subject to immigration control if you are not an EEA National and you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You need leave to enter or remain in the UK but do not have it. For example, you are an asylum seeker with temporary admission; or you have overstayed your leave to enter or remain.
  • You have leave to enter or remain in the UK on condition that you have no recourse to public funds.
  • You have leave to enter or remain in the UK as a result of someone providing a maintenance undertaking.

No Recourse to Public Funds

If your leave to enter or remain in the UK is on condition that you have no recourse to public funds, you are not allowed to receive the following benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carers Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Local Welfare Assistance
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Social Fund payments
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Your right to remain in the UK could be affected if you claim any benefits in the above list, and your permission to enter or stay is based on you having no recourse to public funds.  You must seek specialist immigration advice if you are unsure about whether you can claim.

You can claim a benefit which is not in this list, as it will not be classed as a ‘public fund’.

Non-EEA Nationals who are not Persons Subject to Immigration Control

If you are not a person subject to immigration control, you can claim welfare benefits. 

Also you are not a person subject to immigration control if:

  • You have refugee leave or humanitarian protection
  • You are defined as a family member of an EEA national exercising a treaty right in the UK.  Please see our guide on ‘Right to reside’ for further information.

There are limited exceptions when some people subject to immigration control can claim benefits or tax credits, which we don’t cover in this guide.  If you are unsure about whether you can claim benefits or tax credits, you must seek specialist immigration advice before making a claim.  You can find immigration advice in your area by using our Find-an-adviser tool.

3. My partner is a person subject to immigration control

If you are not a person subject to immigration control, but your partner is, rules differ depending on the benefit you want to claim. 

Universal Credit

If your partner is a person subject to immigration control you must claim Universal Credit as a single person.  However your partner’s income and capital is taken into account.

If your partner’s leave is subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction, you should seek specialist immigration advice before making a claim, if you and your partner are joint tenants.  As your partner’s share of the rent is used to calculate the housing element of Universal Credit, this might be considered as recourse to public funds, which could affect their right to remain in the UK.

Income Support; Income-based Jobseekers Allowance and Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

If your partner is subject to immigration control you can claim these benefits as a couple.  However you are normally only paid a personal allowance at the single rate.  If you qualify for premiums, these are paid at the couple rate.  Your partner’s work, income and capital affect your entitlement to these benefits.

Note: If your partner’s leave is subject to  a no recourse to public funds condition, claiming a couple rate of a premium for her/ him could be regarded as having recourse to public funds, and could affect her/his right to remain in the UK.  Therefore get specialist immigration advice before making a claim.

Pension Credit

If your partner is a ‘person subject to immigration control’ they are treated as not being a part of your household for Pension Credit.  Therefore you are paid as a single person and your partner’s income and capital do not affect your claim.  However, you may not get the Severe Disability Addition, because your partner may be counted as ‘normally living with you’.

Housing Benefit

If your partner is subject to immigration control, this does not affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get.  Your partner is included in your claim and you are paid at a couple rate for any allowances or premiums you qualify for.  

However, if your partner’s leave is subject to a no public funds condition then this could be regarded as them having recourse to public funds and could affect their right to remain in the UK.  Get specialist immigration advice before claiming.

Non-means tested Benefits

Contributory benefits are not affected by Immigration status.  However, your partner would have had to have paid enough national insurance contributions to qualify.

Only the immigration status of the person claiming affects whether you can get a non-contributory benefit. 

Tax Credits

If your partner is a person subject to immigration control, but you are not, your partner is treated as if they are not a person subject to immigration control, and you are entitled to make a joint claim for Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.  However, unless you or your partner are responsible for a child, your Working Tax Credit will not include a couple element.

If your partner’s leave is on condition that they don’t have recourse to public funds, they are not regarded as having recourse to public funds if you make a joint claim.  This means that their right to remain in the UK is not affected if you make a joint claim for Tax Credits.

 

Use our Find-an-adviser tool to find specialist immigration advice in your area.

4. My child is a person subject to immigration control

If you are not a person subject to immigration control, but your child is, rules differ depending on the benefit you want to claim

Universal Credit

You can include a child in your Universal Credit claim, regardless of the child’s immigration status.  However, if the child’s leave is subject to a no recourse to public funds condition, getting Universal Credit could affect his/ her right to remain in the UK.   Get specialist immigration advice before you make a claim.

Housing Benefit

If a child you are responsible for is subject to immigration control, this does not affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get.  Your child is included in your claim, and you get any allowances or premiums that the child qualifies for. 

However, if your child’s leave is subject to a no public funds condition then this could be regarded as them having recourse to public funds and could affect their right to remain in the UK.  Get specialist immigration advice before claiming

Non-means tested Benefits

For Child Benefit, if you are not a person subject to immigration control, you can claim for a child for whom you are responsible for, regardless of the child’s immigration status.  However, if the child’s leave is subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction, claiming child benefit for her/him could affect their right to remain in the UK.  Get specialist immigration advice if you are in this situation.

Tax Credits

If you make a joint claim for Tax Credits (working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit) you can include any children you are responsible for in that claim regardless of the child’s immigration status.

If you are making a single claim for Tax Credits, you can include a child in your claim, regardless of their immigration, providing the child’s right to remain is not subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction.  If you are making a single claim for Tax Credits, and your child’s leave is subject to a no recourse to public funds condition, then the child’s right to remain in the UK could be affected.  You should get specialist immigration advice before claiming.

 

Use our Find-an-adviser tool to find specialist immigration advice in your area.