Overseas claimants

People from overseas who have entered the UK and applied for asylum cannot claim housing benefit or council tax support.  However, you can claim if you have been granted refugee status or exceptional leave to remain in the UK or can satisfy the 'Habitual Residency Test' which is a test we must use sometimes, based on how long you have lived in the UK and on your future plans.

People from overseas who can claim housing benefit or council tax support

If you are from one of the countries listed below, you can claim housing benefit or council tax support, unless the Home Office say that you are to leave the UK, or if you are not judged to be habitually resident.

European Economic Areas (EEA) countries and those with charters or conventions with EEA countries:

  • Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (UK), Gibraltar, Switzerland, Turkey and Macedonia
  • Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.

Couples (including civil partners)

If one member of a married or unmarried couple or civil partnership is a person from overseas but the partner is not, the partner should make the claim in his/her name. We will then award housing benefit and council tax support in the normal way, if entilted. 

Changes to the rules for EEA Nationals from 1 April 2014

EEA nationals who were awarded Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) on or after 1 April 2014 cannot claim housing benefit and council tax support unless the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) consider them to have retained 'worker status'.  Worker status will not usually last more than six months after which time housing benefit and council tax support will end.