Benefits - persons from abroad

In order to apply Housing benefit or Council Tax support you must have the right to live in the United Kingdom, you must have recourse to public funds and it must be your main home.

Right to reside

It is possible to be subject to immigration control and have a right to reside but not be entitled to Housing benefit and/or Council Tax support. This could be because you have no recourse to public funds e.g. if you are in the UK as a non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrant worker with a work permit and have limited or no leave to remain.

You must show us your birth certificate, passport or ID card and, if you are a national of the European Economic Area (EEA), evidence of your economic status or if you are a non EEA national proof of your immigration status to confirm your right to reside.

Habitual residence

Once you have shown that you have a right to reside and have recourse to public funds you may also need to prove habitual residence before you can get Housing benefit and/or Council Tax support.

A Benefits Officer will decide if you are habitually resident by asking you things like:

  • have you worked in the UK
  • how long you have lived abroad
  • why did you come to the UK
  • how you plan to support yourself in the UK
  • how long you plan to stay in the UK.

You may be treated as habitually resident if you:

  • are a refugee
  • have exceptional leave to enter and remain in Great Britain
  • have humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain in the UK
  • are a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) who has recently been employed or self-employed in the UK
  • are a member of the family or a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) who has recently been employed or self-employed in the UK
  • left Montserrat after 1 November 1995 because of the volcanic eruption
  • have been deported to the UK.

If we need to decide if you are habitually resident we may need to send you a form for completion and may also need to interview you. Please contact an Advisor at Contact Harlow to discuss your circumstances.