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New Arrivals


Who is eligible for housing benefit (HB) and council tax rebate (CTR)?

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.

What is housing benefit (HB)?

Housing benefit is a cash social security benefit to help you pay your rent if have a low income. To qualify for housing benefit you must make a valid claim and be an eligible person. The rules about who is eligible vary according to whether you are British or Irish, a national of an EEA member state or from outside the EEA.

Here you will find more information about the law on housing benefit.

What is council tax rebate (CTR)?

All householders (whether owners or tenants) pay council tax to their local councils, based on the property value. The rules about who is eligible to get help towards paying their council tax through CTR are similar to the rules for HB even though they are entirely separate schemes. Any differences to HB are described as they arise.

In England and Wales your local council can set its own CTR scheme rules. However, this power only relates to how your financial resources (i.e. income and savings) and maximum rebate are assessed. Your council is not allowed to make any other local scheme rules that exclude you from CTR based on your immigration status or nationality – such as a local residency qualification. Any local rules that do this are unlawful and can be challenged in the courts (Winder v Sandwell MBC [2014] EWHC (Admin) 2617). The law about migrants' eligibility for CTR is set by national regulations (known as the ‘prescribed requirements’) which are similar to the HB rules and your local council must comply with them: here is more information.    

Making a claim for HB/CTR

You must make a claim to qualify for HB/CTR. To complete your claim you must provide the local authority with your national insurance number and your partner’s if you are a member of a couple. If you do not have one you must have applied for one and provide the authority with evidence that you have done this.

Claiming HB/CTR if you are a member of a couple

If you are a member of a couple you can only be excluded from HB/CTR if both you and your partner are ineligible (e.g. if both you and your partner have leave to remain with no recourse to public funds). If only one of you is ineligible then the other (eligible) member should make the claim.

If you have been granted leave following your application for asylum

If you have been granted refugee status, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave following your application for asylum, you are entitled to HB/CTR from the date you receive the letter that confirms you have been granted leave (unless, unusually, your leave has a 'no public funds' condition).

If you are a British or Irish citizen or you have settled status

If you are a British Citizen, Irish Citizen, a citizen of a Commonwealth country with ‘right of abode’ in the UK or have been granted indefinite leave to remain (also known as ‘settled status’) you are entitled to:

  • HB/CTR if you have made your home here (you are ‘habitually resident’)
  • HB/CTR if you have been deported, expelled or removed from another country to the UK
  • HB if you have been awarded one of the passport benefits: income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support or state pension credit; or
  • CTR in Wales if you have been awarded one of the passport benefits: income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or income support.

EEA nationals and EEA family members

If you are an EEA national other than a Croatian, you will be entitled to HB if:

  • you are in self-employment in the UK (including if you are self-employed but temporarily unable to work due to sickness)
  • you are an EEA worker
  • you are a former EEA worker who is temporarily unable to work (e.g. unemployed or off sick)
  • you are a EEA family member of any of the above
  • you have previously worked in the UK but have since retired
  • you or your partner receive income-related employment and support allowance or income support or state pension credit
  • you or your partner receive income-based jobseeker’s allowance – but only if you have been unemployed for less than six months during which time you are treated as a former worker (see third bullet); or
  • you qualify as a long-term resident and you are ‘habitually resident’.

If any of the first five bullets apply (self-employed, workers and former/retired workers) or the final bullet (long-term resident) then you are also entitled to CTR. In Wales you are also entitled to CTR if you meet one of the conditions (passport benefits), except receipt of state pension credit.

In any other case you are only entitled to HB/CTR if you are habitually resident and you have some other right to reside (see other EEA nationals and EEA family members for details). 

All other people from outside the EEA

If you are a citizen of a country outside the EEA you are not normally entitled to HB unless:

  • you have made your home here (you are ‘habitually resident’); and
  • you have been granted leave from the Home Office and either
    • you are the separated partner of a British citizen or settled person who you are leaving due to domestic violence;
    • you are a national of Macedonia or Turkey; or
    • your leave is not subject to a ‘no public funds condition’ nor was it granted as a result of a maintenance undertaking (sponsorship agreement);
    • it was granted with a no public funds condition or as a result of a sponsorship agreement but you have lived in the UK for five years;
    • or it was granted as a result of a sponsorship agreement but your sponsor (or all of your sponsors if there was more than one) has since died; or
    • you or your partner have been awarded one of the passport benefits: income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support or state pension credit.

You are also entitled to CTR if:

  • you are separated from your partner who is British/settled due to domestic violence;
  • you are a Macedonian or Turkish national;
  • you were granted leave without any conditions (i.e. no public funds /maintenance undertaking); or
  • in Wales only, you or your partner receive income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or income support.

 

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