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Section 4 asylum support

The Home Office can provide housing and financial support to a person who becomes appeal rights exhausted (ARE) when their asylum claim is unsuccessful if they do not have accommodation and/ or cannot afford to meet their essential living needs. This support is provided under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

As well as demonstrating that they are destitute, the person must show that they meet one of the following requirements:

  • They are taking all reasonable steps to leave the UK
  • They are unable to leave the UK due to physical impediment 
  • They have no safe route of return
  • They have been granted leave to appeal in an application for judicial review in relation to their asylum claim
  • They require support to avoid a breach of their human rights, for example they have made further submissions to the Home Office for a fresh asylum claim

The Asylum Support Appeals Project have produced a factsheet on Covid-19 and asylum support outlining how the section 4 criteria may be met during the pandemic.

Section 4 support is usually provided to adults without children who become ARE because they will no longer qualify for section 95 support if there is no child in their household when their asylum claim is finally determined.

Some ARE families may only qualify for section 4 support if they are not eligible for section 95 support, for example, if the child in the household was born after the parent’s asylum claim was finally determined.

A person who has accommodation cannot apply for financial support (or subsistence) only.

Financial support is provided on a payment card which can be used to make purchases of food, clothing and toiletries.  The weekly amount provided is £39.63 for each person in the household. Additional amounts are paid for new born and young children. A person who is being provided with full-board hotel accommodation will receive a weekly allowance of £8 in addition to receiving food and toiletries. 

If section 4 support is refused or withdrawn, there will be a right of appeal against this decision.

An application for asylum support needs to be made on form ASF1, which is available on GOV.UK, and can be submitted through Migrant Help. See also the Home Office information about asylum support.

The Asylum Support Appeals Project provides advice and assistance with appeals against refusals or withdrawals of asylum support. 

Covid-19 update

The Home Office previously paused withdrawals of support and evictions from asylum accommodation for those who received a positive or negative decision on their asylum claim, to prevent people from becoming homeless during the Covid-19 pandemic. Home Office correspondence to councils subsequently confirmed that on 11 August, people in England who have received positive decisions (grants of leave to remain) will start to receive move on notices to leave their accommodation within the usual 28 day period, and on 15 September, that cessations of support would begin for people who have been refused asylum. However, due to a court injunction, the Home Office is not currently evicting people who are appeal rights exhausted (ARE) or who otherwise no longer qualify for asylum support (unless they do not qualify due to no longer being destitute). However, the Home Office may still terminate a person’s support. See the Refugee Council’s information about asylum support evictions for updates about the current situation.

Immigration terms

Appeal rights exhausted (ARE)

The status of a person whose asylum or immigration claim has been refused when they have come to the end of the appeal process without success or have no further right of appeal. 

Asylum seeker

A person who has made a claim to the UK government for protection (asylum) under the United Nations Refugee Convention 1951 and is waiting for a decision from the Home Office or final decision from the appeal courts (following a refusal).