You are now leaving the Turn2us site. Turn2us is not responsible for content on third party sites.



Refugee leave and humanitarian protection - Can I get benefits if I have refugee status or humanitarian protection?

Find out more about refugees and benefits.

Can I get benefits if I have refugee status or humanitarian protection?

What is a Refugee?

The United Nations 1951 convention on Refugees defines a refugee as: "A person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution."

In the UK, a refugee is someone who meets these criteria and has been given leave to enter or remain in the UK as a result.

Can I claim Benefits?

You are not a person subject to immigration control and can claim welfare benefits and tax credits if:

  • You have refugee status
  • You have been granted humanitarian protection
  • You have been granted discretionary leave, unless you have a condition on your stay that you no ‘recourse to public funds’.

You still have to satisfy the usual rules of entitlement – for example for contributory benefits you will need to have paid sufficient national insurance contributions.

If you have been granted refugee status, or humanitarian protection or discretionary leave, you are exempt from the habitual residence test for means tested benefits.

If you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection or leave outside the immigration rules without any restriction on having recourse to public funds, you are exempt from the requirement to be living in the UK for the past three months for Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit. 

If you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection you are also exempt from the past presence test for disability and carers benefits.

Being Joined by a Family Member

If you have been granted refugee leave or humanitarian protection, you can be joined in the UK by certain family members under what is known as ‘family re-union’ rules.  A family member who joins you under these rules is not a ‘person subject to immigration control’ and can claim benefits that they are entitled to. The family member is also exempt from the past presence test for disability and carer benefits.

Anything wrong with this page?

Tell us the problem

Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter what you were doing
Please enter what you'd like to report
Please enter the security code shown
Close

Thank you

If you would like to tell us more please visit our contact page

Close

Search for a grant

Look for funds that might be able to give you a grant and/or other types of help.

Use the Grants Search tool