Benefit claims for people from abroad

The following information is for people from overseas who are entitled to claim Housing Benefit. As the legislation is complicated, your particular circumstances may not be covered here, so please contact us for further advice.

EEA Nationals (excluding Croatian nationals)

The EEA comprises of the European Union, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland.

If you are an EU national, and fall under any of the following categories, you can claim benefit as long as you satisfy the general rules for:

  • a worker (paid employee)
  • self-employed
  • someone who has retained worker status. You may retain worker status if you are temporarily unable to work due to illness/accident or have lost your job and have worked for at least one year and immediately signed on at Jobcentre Plus. In this case, you retain worker status for six months or longer if you can show you have a realistic chance of getting a job. If you have been employed for less than six months, you can only retain worker status for six months. If you lose worker status you will no longer be entitled to Housing Benefit.
  • a self-employed person who has retained status due to being temporarily out of work, as a result of illness or accident.
  • a family member of any of the above
  • a person with permanent right to reside in the UK. This includes those who have worked in the UK for five years, non-EEA nationals who have lived in the UK for five years as a family member of an EU national, a retired worker/self-employed person who worked in the UK for at least 12 months before retiring and lived in the UK for three years before retirement.

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list.

Nationals of Croatia

If you are a Croatian national you can only claim Housing Benefit if you satisfy the general rules for:

  • self-employed
  • an employee with a worker authorisation certificate
  • an employee who has worked in the UK under the worker authorisation scheme for more than 12 months without breaks.

EEA nationals who do not come under any of the above categories

You will only be able to claim Housing Benefit if you come under any of the following categories:

  • economically inactive who are self-sufficient and have comprehensive medical insurance
  • students who are self-sufficient and have comprehensive medical insurance
  • national of the UK (who have returned from extended stay abroad)
  • national of the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
  • if you are the parent responsible for a child in full time education, provided that you or the other parent worked in the UK when the child came to the country. This right continues for as long as that child remains in full time education.

If you fall under any of these categories, we may ask you to complete a Habitual Residence Test to check that you are a permanent resident in the UK and can therefore claim Housing Benefit.

Nationals of other countries

You will only be eligible for Housing Benefit if you have leave to enter or remain in the UK without restrictions to accessing public funds.

In some cases, you will need to complete a Habitual Residence Test to establish that you are permanently settled in the UK.

National Insurance Number requirement – applies in all cases.

Both you and your partner need to have a National Insurance Number to claim benefit.