Not British or Irish

Benefit rights if you are not a British or Irish citizen

If you are not a British or Irish national you may not be able to claim benefits in the United Kingdom. This page may direct you to further advice pages depending on which of the categories below you fall into.

The entitledto calculator does not work out whether you meet the conditions for claiming benefits, you may need to seek specialist advice on this.

EEA nationals

If you are an ‘EEA national’ or 'family member of an EEA national' living in the United Kingdom you may be entitled to claim benefits. Your entitlement to benefits is determined by European Union legislation and case law that applies throughout the European Economic Area. Your rights to various benefits will be determined by a number of ‘Tests for Entitlement’. The most important test is the ‘Habitual Residence Test’.

Broadly speaking if you are an EEA national living in the UK who has ‘worker’, or ‘self-employed’ status, which means that you can prove average earnings of £166 per week (2019/20) over the last 3 months, the calculator will probably apply to you (although awards may be time limited). You may have 'worker', or 'self-employed status', if your earnings are less than £166 per week, but you can prove your employment is ‘genuine and effective’. It may also apply to you if you were a worker / self-employed person, and have had to stop work for certain reasons, and thus have ‘retained worker’ or ‘retained self-employed status’. If you are a ‘jobseeker’ you may be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance for a very limited period. Family members may also be entitled to claim. In some very limited cases you may be able to claim if you have previously been residing in the UK as a 'self sufficient' person. For more information see our help pages by following the links above.

Please note that European Union law is complex, and subject to frequent changes. The information on this page was written in September 2015, and is accurate and up-to-date for that date. If you do not find the advice that you are looking for in these help pages, or you need specialist advice on account of your situation, please try these relevant ‘Support organisations that can assist EEA Nationals’.

Note that Croatia was the most recent country to join the European Union on 1 July 2013, and specific employment and residence rules currently apply to Croatian nationals. Please see our advice for Croatian nationals.

People with a derivative right to reside

A ‘derivative right to reside’ may be applied to a child and the primary carer of the child, if an EEA national parent of the child was previously recognised as a ‘worker’ in the UK and the child was present in the UK during that period. A person with a 'derivative right to reside' will be able to claim benefits for themselves and the child while the child remains in education. Please see our help page and seek specialist advice if you think you have a 'derivative right to reside'.

People with a permanent right of residence

If you can prove you have a ‘permanent right of residence’ in the UK you will be treated as if you are a British or Irish national for benefits purposes.

For example EEA nationals are likely to have a ‘permanent right of residence’ in the UK if they have ‘resided legally’ in the UK for a ‘continuous period of 5 years’. For further information on how this applies to EEA nationals see our help page. If you are from another country outside the EEA, but have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ stamped in your passport you will also have a permanent right of residence.

People subject to immigration control

In general, if you are subject to immigration control you are not entitled to the benefits that are covered by this calculator. For example, if you entered the country on a visa it is unlikely that you are entitled to any benefits, but if you think you may be (e.g. due to your length of stay in the UK, compelling circumstances), you need to seek specialist advice.

Those with ‘no recourse to public funds’ stamped in their passport are definitely not entitled to mainstream welfare benefits. However destitute families, and adults with significant care needs who otherwise have 'no recourse to public funds' may receive financial support from Social Services in certain circumstances. Please contact your local Social Services department if you think this applies to you.

If you are an asylum seeker / failed asylum seeker you may be entitled to asylum support via the National Asylum Support System. More information is available on the government website pages for asylum support. You may also need to seek specialist advice e.g. from an immigration solicitor.