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Benefits that are not public funds

A person with no recourse to public funds is only excluded from claiming benefits that are classed as 'public funds' for immigration purposes. Therefore, they may be able to claim a benefit or service that is not on the list of excluded public funds if they meet the qualifying requirements.

The Home Office guidance on public funds does not list all of the benefits and services that a person who has no recourse to public funds may be able to claim. This section summaries some of the benefits and related services that a person with no recourse to public funds may be able to claim. Information about the eligibility rules for other services is available in the rights and entitlements section of this website

Access to Work

A person who is employed and has a disability, or physical or mental health condition, may be able to apply for Access to Work to get extra help in order to be able to carry out their job. A person may be provided with a grant to obtain additional practical support or access to the Mental Health Support Service. The grant is available in England, Scotland and Wales. 

Access to Work is not a 'public fund' for immigration purposes and therefore can be accessed by a person who has permission to work and is subject to the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) condition, if they meet the qualifying requirements. This is confirmed in the Department for Work and Pensions staff guide

Council tax discounts and exemptions

A person who owns or rents their home will usually be liable to pay council tax to their local council. Some people in a household will be ‘disregarded’ for council tax purposes. When a member of a household is disregarded, then a discount to the council tax bill may be applied. 

For example, a person will get 25% off their council tax bill if they live on their own or everyone else in the home is disregarded. 

Some households will not be required to pay any council tax and may be able to apply for an exemption. For example, if all the members of a household are full-time students, then an exemption may be available. A list of people who are disregarded and how this may affect the amount that needs to be paid, as well as information about when an exemption will apply, is available on gov.uk

Council tax discounts and exemptions are not ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes, and therefore can be accessed by a person with no recourse to public funds if they meet the qualifying criteria.

Council tax rebate (April 2022)

Households that are liable to pay council tax for a property in bands A-D will receive a payment (rebate) of £150 as part of the Government’s Energy Rebate Scheme 2022. A person who is paying their council tax by direct debit will have the payment made directly into their bank account from April 2022. Councils will contact residents who qualify for the rebate but are not paying their council tax by direct debit to advise how they can claim the rebate. 

Households living in a property valued in bands E to H, and other residents who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the rising cost of living, may be able to receive a payment from their local council’s discretionary fund. Each council will develop and publicise eligibility criteria and the claims process for this funding.

The council tax rebate and discretionary fund are not ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes and therefore can be accessed by a person with no recourse to public funds if they meet the qualifying criteria. 

Energy rebate scheme (October 2022)

The energy rebate scheme will not be implemented until October 2022, so full government guidance is not yet available.

The energy rebate scheme is not currently a 'public fund' for immigration purposes. However, it is not yet known what the qualifying criteria will be and whether any restrictions will apply to energy customers who have no recourse to public funds.

Non means-tested benefits 

Non means-tested benefits are available to a person who has previously worked and/or paid National Insurance contributions. Such benefits are not classed as ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes.    

Non means-tested benefits that are not 'public funds' include:

  • Bereavement Support Payment (this replaced Bereavement Benefit and Widow’s Benefit)
  • New Style Jobseeker's Allowance and contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance 
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance and contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Guardian's Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Retirement Pension
  • Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Statutory Sickness Pay   

Some of these benefits, such as contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance, can no longer be applied for. More information about each of these benefits is available on gov.uk. The following organisations also provide information and advice about claiming benefits:

Warm home discount scheme

The warm home discount scheme provides people who are receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit with a £140 discount off their electricity (or, in some cases, gas) bill between October and March. The discount is administered by the energy provider. 

Energy customers who do not get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but are on a low income may be able to apply to their energy provider for a discount. Each energy company will set their own qualifying criteria to determine who can receive the discount. However, government guidance states:

'You may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you do not get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but:

  • your energy supplier is part of the scheme
  • you’re on a low income
  • you get certain means-tested benefits'

Although the warm home discounts scheme is not a 'public fund' for immigration purposes, the qualifying criteria requires an energy customer to be in receipt of a means-tested benefit. Therefore, people with no recourse to public funds will be unable to qualify for a discount, unless their energy provider has set criteria that do not require low-income customers to be in receipt of a particular benefit. A person with no recourse to public funds would need to contact their supplier directly to find out if they may be able to qualify for the warm home discount on the basis of having a low income.