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EEA nationals and their family members resident in the UK on 31 December 2020

You had a previous EEA right to reside

If you had an 'EEA right to reside' in the UK on 31 December 2020 as an EEA national, or as the family member of an EEA national, your right to claim benefits remained largely unchanged by the UK’s exit from the EU until 30 June 2021.

During those six months, you continued to be entitled to benefits for as long as you had an EEA right to reside and, where necessary, satisfied the habitual residence test.

You did, however, need to make an application for leave to remain in the UK under the EU settled status scheme by 30 June 2021. If you applied by that date, you can claim benefits while your EU settled status application is pending as long as you have an EEA right to reside.

If you didn't apply for leave to remain by 30 June 2021, you could have lost your right to reside and will no longer be entitled to some benefits, especially means-tested benefits. Failure to register in time could also affect your right to rent accommodation.

The government has been trying to contact people who it thinks are likely to be in this position, urging them to apply under the settled status scheme. If you can show you have a reasonable excuse to miss the deadline you may be able to apply after 30 June 2021 and you should do so as soon as possible.

For more information about not applying in time see our Not applied for EU settled status by 30 June 2021 help page.

If you are only awarded limited leave to remain (also known as 'pre-settled status'), you can continue to claim benefits until you become eligible for indefinite leave to remain (also known as 'settled status').

However, until you are granted settled status, you must continue to satisfy the EEA right to reside rules, otherwise you will no longer qualify for benefits.

Please note: There is currently a legal challenge about the right to reside rules for those with a pre-settled status. The courts are deciding whether pre-settled status on its own satisfies the right to reside test or whether someone needs an additional EEA right of residence alongside it. Until there is a final decision pre-settled status alone doesn't satisfy the right to reside test. Check this guide from CPAG for updates on the legal challenge and what you (or your advisor, if you have one) can do.

If you had a previous permanent right to reside in the UK before 31 December 2020

If you were no longer resident in the UK on 31 December 2020 but you had a permanent right of residence in the UK when you last lived here (and, as at 31 December 2020, you had been absent from the UK for a period of less than five years) you are treated as still having a permanent EEA right to reside and the rules set out above apply to you.

This means you should be entitled to all benefits until you obtain EU settled status, as long as you applied for settled status by 30 June 2021.

You did not have a previous EEA right to reside

If you did not have an EEA right to reside on 31 December, but you were resident in the UK on that date, then your right to claim some benefits, especially means tested benefits, depends whether you have already obtained leave to remain in the UK under the EU settled status scheme.

If you have already obtained indefinite leave to remain (also known as 'settled status'), there is no restriction on your right to claim any benefits in the UK.

If you have obtained limited leave to remain (also known as 'pre-settled status'), you can claim all benefits if you satisfy the EEA right to reside rules. Until you are granted settled status, you must continue to satisfy the right to reside rules, otherwise you will no longer qualify for benefits.

If you have neither settled nor pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme, you will not be entitled to some benefits, especially means-tested benefits.

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