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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, 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 local councils are allowed to set their own CTR scheme rules although a local scheme cannot extend entitlement beyond limits set by UK or Welsh ministers – but these limits are almost exactly the same as the rules for HB.

We are not aware of any council that has placed further local restrictions on entitlement to migrants. However, many local schemes no longer offer full rebates to anyone who is entitled – which means you will still have some council tax to pay even if you qualify for the local maximum award.

Here you will find more information about the law on council tax rebate.

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 are 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 as a refugee or for humanitarian reasons or you have been evacuated

If you have been granted refugee status, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave 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 have entered the UK as part of an evacuation programme organised by the UK government in response to a humanitarian crisis (war, famine natural disaster) you also qualify for HB/CTR provided you have made your home here (you are ‘habitually resident’).

If you receive a 'passport' benefit (UK, Ireland and EEA citizens)

If you are a citizen of any EEA state you are entitled to HB if you have been awarded one of the following ‘passport’ benefits:

  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance (IBJSA)
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • income support
  • state pension credit.

This rule applies to all nationals of EEA states including citizens of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania. If you have entered the UK looking for work you can only qualify for HB if you are awarded income-based jobseeker’s allowance (but you cannot get jobseeker’s allowance until you have lived here for three months).

This rule does not apply to claims for CTR, but you are entitled to CTR if you entered the UK looking for work provided you are habitually resident.

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’); or
  • you have been deported from another country to the UK.

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 also entitled to CTR if any of the above apply provided that you can also show that you have made your home here (you are ‘habitually resident’).

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). If you have entered the UK looking for work see the section on passport benefits above.

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/CTR unless:

  • you have made your home here (you are ‘habitually resident’); and
  • you have been granted leave that is not subject to a ‘no public funds condition’ or a maintenance undertaking.

However, in the case of claims for HB (but not CTR) there are two exceptions to the above rule. You are entitled to HB if:

  • You are a national of Macedonia or Turkey; and either
    • you have leave (of any kind, including leave with a ‘no public funds’ condition or granted as a result of a maintenance undertaking); or
    • you are an EEA family member
  • You have been granted leave as result of your sponsor signing a maintenance undertaking and either
    • you have lived in the UK for five years or more; or
    • your sponsor (or all of your sponsors if there was more than one) has/have since died.

In either of these cases you also have to show you have made your home here (you are 'habitually resident') although in practice the authority will normally accept that you are. 

Note that the right to temporary support if your funds from home were disrupted was abolished from 29th October 2013.

 

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