In certain circumstances you can acquire a permanent right of residence if you have worked in the UK but have since retired from the labour market. If you have a permanent right of residence you have the right to an allocation of housing from the council, to get help if you are homeless and to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent. For more on this click here for England and Wales and here for Scotland.
You will have a right of permanent residence if you have:
- retired after working in the UK (including self-employment) for at least 12 months prior to reaching state pension age and you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of more than three years
- taken early retirement as an employee after working in the UK for at least 12 months and you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of more than three years
- retired from work in the UK (including self-employment) after reaching state pension age and your spouse or civil partner is a UK national
- taken early retirement as an employee in the UK and your spouse or civil partner is a UK national
ceased working in the UK (including self-employment) as a result of permanent incapacity; and either
- your incapacity is the result of an accident at work or an occupational disease which entitles you to a pension payable by a UK institution (including a pension paid by a private company); or
- you have lived and worked in the UK for a continuous period of more than two years; or
- your spouse or a civil partner is a UK national.
In calculating the length of employment any period of involuntary unemployment registered with the Jobcentre, or period out of work due to illness, accident or some other reason 'not of your own making' will be treated as a period of employment.
In Scotland (but not in England and Wales) all EEA nationals with a right to reside are entitled to apply for local authority housing or homelessness assistance, whether covered by the worker and self employed rules or not. But the rules for housing benefit are different, and some rights to reside do not qualify you for housing benefit, or only do so if you are also habitually resident.