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The 'person from abroad' rules for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support are complex but can be summarised as follows.

Who is a 'person from abroad'?

There are two main tests to be met in deciding if a person is 'from abroad':

1. The Immigration Status Test
2. The Habitual Residency Test

Each of the tests is explained below. Provided you meet all the conditions of the two tests you will be eligible to apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

1. The Immigration Status Test

The basic principle is:

You must have been granted leave by the Home Office to enter/remain in the UK to have access to public funds.

From 31 December 2020, EEA nationals, EEA family member or a person with an EEA "derivative" right to reside must have been granted or have applied for Indefinite Leave, known as "settled status" or have been granted "Limited Leave", known as "pre-settled status".

  • "Settled status" – if lived in the UK continuously for the proceeding 5 years prior to 1 January 2021

  • "Pre-settled status" – if continuously resident for less than 5 years prior to 1 January 2021

2. The Habitual Residency Test

You must be "habitually" resident in the UC or Irish Common Travel Area.

In deciding whether you are 'habitually resident' here we shall look at:

  • why you came to the UK

  • whether you have lived here for an 'appreciable period'

  • whether you have the intention to settle and make a home here

  • whether you have a settled pattern of living here.

In making our decision we shall look at your whole situation to make an informed judgement.

You will be treated as being 'habitually resident' in the UK if you are:

  • in receipt of Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credit (The Department for Works and Pensions will have already checked your eligibility for benefits)

  • a refugee

  • someone given exceptional leave to enter or remain in the UK

  • a former asylum seeker granted Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave

  • someone who left Montserrat after 1 November 1995 due to volcanic activity.

As an asylum seeker your only rights to support are through the Home Office asylum support scheme managed by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). Since January 2003 NASS support can be denied to any person who does not apply for asylum immediately on entering the UK.

Once your application for asylum becomes accepted and you are granted refugee status you become entitled to benefits in the normal way.

These details are only guidance on the new rules which came into force from 1 January 2021.

View more information on the right to reside.