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Overview

A person will not be able to claim certain benefits when they are subject to the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) condition, unless an exception applies. This rule only applies to benefits that are classed as ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes. Some benefits are not classed as public funds for immigration purposes and therefore can be claimed by a person who has no recourse to public funds. 

When a benefit can be claimed, either due to an exception or because it is not classed as a public fund, the person may still need to satisfy residence or presence requirements in order to qualify. Therefore their immigration status may still be a relevant consideration. 

Legal advice from an immigration adviser should always be sought if a person is unclear about what they can or cannot claim, or if they think they have claimed a benefit that is classed as a public fund. If a person who is subject to the NRPF condition claims a benefit that is classed as a public funds when no exception applies, then they may be considered by the Home Office to have breached their immigration conditions, which may affect their current status and the outcome of future immigration applications. 

Although European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family members are not subject to the NRPF condition, there may be instances when they do not meet benefit eligibility requirements. British citizens returning to live in the UK after a period of residence abroad may also be ineligible to claim benefits on their return, although this should only be for a temporary period.

The information in this section provides an overview of a person’s entitlement to benefits based on their immigration status. Benefit eligibility rules can be complex, particularly when a person is in a 'mixed household', where members have different nationalities or types of immigration status.In many cases, specialist benefits advice will need to be obtained. 

Information about all the benefits referred to in this section can be found on gov.uk

The following organisations provide specialist information and advice: