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Claiming Housing Benefit if from abroad

The information on this page is intended as guidance and each case will be considered on its individual merits. It’s your responsibility to provide the evidence to support your claim. You must show that you meet any of the qualifying criteria.

EU Settlement Scheme status for European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals

The following applies for new and existing applications/entitlement to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support.

The United Kingdom (UK) has left the European Union (EU). If you are an EEA or Swiss national, you and your family members need to have a UK immigration status to carry on living in the UK after 30 June 2021. You and your family need a status even if you have already been issued with a permanent residence document by the Home Office or have been living in the UK for a long time.

You need to apply for an immigration status to be eligible for benefits. Irish nationals and those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK do not need to apply.

It is free to apply for a UK immigration status. GOV.UK has information and application instructions for EU Settlement Scheme status, or you can call 0300 123 7379.

If you’re originally from abroad

To claim any means tested benefit (for example Housing Benefit), you must pass a Habitual Residency Test. The test is made up of two parts:

  • Part 1. Determines if you have the right to reside in the United Kingdom
  • Part 2. Determines if you are habitually resident in the United Kingdom

You can find out more from Citizens Advice.

If you’re from one of the countries below, the following rules apply:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

If you’re from Croatia, Macedonia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine or other countries not listed above please contact us for advice.

To gain a qualifying right to live in this country, one of the situations below should apply to you:

  • you're in genuine and effective work
  • you're in receipt of statutory sick pay or statutory maternity pay, paid from your employer
  • you're self-employed
  • you’re self-sufficient
  • you've been granted permanent residency
  • you're the primary carer of a child who is in education in the United Kingdom
  • you may be able to derive treaty rights from a family member you are dependent on
  • you may be able to derive treaty rights if you are separated from a partner where you were married or in a civil partnership
  • you're in receipt of Income Support or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • you're in receipt of Job Seeker's Allowance or Contributions-Based Employment and Support Allowance
  • you've reached retirement age, having worked in the United Kingdom for the 12 months before retirement, and have lived in the United Kingdom for more than three years
  • you can demonstrate that you’ve been continuously resident in this country for five years or longer, as a Jobseeker, a worker, a self-employed person, a self-sufficient person or as a student

If you’re a returning British National or have Indefinite Leave to Remain

If you’re a British National or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you still need to pass a Habitual Residency Test. However, you’ll pass the first part of the test and will only need to satisfy us that you are habitually resident in the United Kingdom.

Please contact us for any help you need with Housing Benefit.

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