Recent U.K. residents – Can I claim?

Certain people are not entitled to Housing and Council Tax Benefit because they are considered a “person from abroad”. This chapter will help you decide if you can or can’t claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit.

Am I considered a person from aboard?

There are three tests to apply in deciding if you are a person from abroad:

  1. The immigration status test;
  2. The right to reside test;
  3. The habitual residency test.

If you pass these tests you will be eligible to claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit.

The Immigration Status Test

This means that your entry conditions to the U.K. give you less than full rights to remain and work here. You are considered a person subject to immigration control if:

  • You are an illegal entrant or an “overstayer”;
  • You have no recourse to public funds;
  • You are granted leave to remain in the country subject to sponsorship;
  • You are granted temporary leave to remain in the country.

If you are subject to immigration control and you do not meet the following conditions you are not entitled to claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit irrespective of how long you have lived here.

  • You are a sponsored immigrant whose sponsor has died, or you have been here more than five years;
  • You have a limited right to remain and your funds have been interrupted for up to a total of 42 days in any one period of limited leave;
  • If you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection;
  • If you are a national from any European country except – Albania, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Moldova, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Russia (and its former republics, except Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia), and the Ukraine.

The Right to Remain Test

You have the right to reside in the U.K. if you are:

  • A returning British citizen or a British passport holder (including dual nationality passport holders);
  • A British Overseas Passport holder endorsed “British Citizen”, endorsed with a right to abode in the U.K., or who is entitled to readmission to the U.K.;
  • A non British passport endorsed “British Citizen”, “given leave to enter or remain in the U.K. for an indefinite period”;
  • A refugee or someone granted humanitarian protection;
  • A deportee to the U.K.;
  • A person with exceptional or discretionary leave to remain in the U.K.;
  • A national of the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man who has the right to reside in the British Isles;
  • A national of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland and you are a worker or self-employed. Workers need to demonstrate that they have gained and retained workers status. Retained workers status is obtained after you have completed twelve months continuous employment. If you obtained this and you have subsequently become unemployed you will need to register as a jobseeker with Jobcentre Plus to retain your status;
  • A national of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia who are self-employed or working and registered with the Home Office Worker Registration Scheme (unless exempt from registering). You will lose your right to reside here once you stop working;
  • A national of Romania and Bulgaria who holds an accession work card or a seasonal agricultural worker scheme (SAWS) work card or a registration document confirming the individual has unrestricted access to the labour market or is self-employed.

I have the right to reside in the U.K. but I am a pensioner, lone parent or I am looking for work

All European Economic Area residents have the right to reside in the U.K. for an initial 3 month period without the need to be economically self sufficient, however, persons who fit this condition will need to demonstrate that:

  • They have sufficient economic resources that are higher than the level upon which the U.K. Government would grant social assistance by way of State Benefits;
  • They will need to show that their economic burden upon the State is proportional to their previous self sufficiency and the length of time they are likely to be in receipt of benefits.

EEA Nationals who have little prospect of finding work or becoming self sufficient may be considered an unnecessary burden and will not qualify for benefit.

EEA Nationals are nationals of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Habitual Residency Test

In deciding whether you are habitually resident in this country we will make an informed judgement about:

  • Why you came to this country;
  • Whether you have lived here for an appreciable period of time;
  • Whether you have the intention to settle and make a home here;
  • And whether you have a settled pattern of living here.

You will be treated as being habitually resident if:

  • If you are in receipt of Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (income based) or Pension Credit;
  • A refugee or someone granted humanitarian protection;
  • A deportee to the U.K.;
  • A person with exceptional or discretionary leave to remain in the U.K.;
  • A national of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland and you are a worker or self-employed;
  • A national of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia who are self-employed or working and registered with the Home Office Worker Registration Scheme (unless exempt from registering). You will only be able to claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit whilst you are working or after you have completed 12 months continuous employment.

Special notes about Asylum Seekers

An asylum seeker is not entitled to claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit until their application for asylum and refugee status has been granted.

Between arriving in the U.K. and the granting of their status as a refugee an asylum seekers only rights are through the Home Office asylum support scheme managed by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). During this period an asylum seeker is not entitled claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit.

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