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  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Section 95 support
  3. 3. Section 98 emergency support
  4. 4. Section 4 support
  5. 5. How to apply for support
  6. 6. What happens if support is refused
  7. 7. When Home Office support ends

Section 95 support

The Home Office can provide housing and financial support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to a person who is seeking asylum and is destitute or is likely to become destitute within 14 days. Support will continue until the person’s asylum claim is finally determined by the Home Office or appeal courts.

Eligible families with a child under 18 will remain on section 95 support if they become Appeal Rights Exhausted (ARE).

An asylum seeker who has arranged their own accommodation can apply for financial support (subsistence) only.

Financial support

Financial support is provided on a payment card (an ASPEN card) which can be used to make purchases of food, clothing and toiletries.

The weekly amount provided is £49.18 for each person in the household.

Additional weekly payments are made for pregnant mothers (£5.25), babies under 1 (£9.50) and children aged 1 to 3 (£5.25).

A person who is being provided with full-board hotel accommodation, or who has arranged their own accommodation in the community, will receive a weekly allowance of £8.86 in addition to receiving food and toiletries.

Section 96 additional support

A person in receipt of section 95 support who has exceptional needs or costs outside of typical essential living needs can apply for further support under section 96(2) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This can include financial support and changes to accommodation.

The Home Office caseworker guidance for applications for additional support gives further details and examples of needs that can be met by section 96 support and the ways in which those needs can be met.

The Home Office guidance states that section 95 support will generally be sufficient to cover:  

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Non-prescription medication
  • Household cleaning items
  • Communications
  • Travel
  • The ability to access social, cultural and religious life (covered by the funding provision for communications and travel)  

Payments or support will only be provided where a person can show:  

  • A need that is essential and different from the needs of asylum seekers in general
  • An essential need which is common to all asylum seekers but which is more costly to meet because of their particular circumstances  


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).