If you are a non UK / Irish national
To be entitled to Housing Benefit, a European national must show that they normally reside in the UK and are residing here as a Qualified Person.
A Qualified Person is:
- A worker. If you have recently left work you may be able to keep your worker status.
- Self-sufficient. You must show you have enough income to support you and your family and must have health insurance or health cover from your home country for everyone in your household.
- Student. You must provide details of your course and have health insurance or health cover from your home country for everyone in your household.
- Self-employed. This must be registered with HMRC and evidence of income must be provided.
Job Seekers are not usually entitled to Housing Benefit unless they also have another right to reside.
If a national of a country outside UK and Ireland can prove that they are the Family Member of a European national listed above, they will be treated in the same way as the European national.
If the European national is entitled to Housing Benefit, their Family Member will too.
A Family Member is:
- Direct descendant under 21 years (child, step-child, adopted child, grandchild)
- Dependant direct descendant over 21 years
- Dependant direct ascendant (parent, step-parent, grandparent)
Extended Family Members have fewer rights than Family Members. An Extended Family Member is any other relative of a European national, such as a brother, sister, aunt or uncle.
Permanent Right to Reside
A European national will have a permanent right to reside in the UK if they have lived here for 5 years as a Qualified Person. They will then have full access to benefits.
A Family Member will be treated the same way if they have been a Family Member of a Qualified Person for 5 years.
Leaving the European Union (EU)
For information on leaving the EU, including the impact on benefits if you are an EU citizen in the UK or a UK national in the EU, visit nidirect.
Nationals from outside Europe
Nationals of countries outside Europe must have immigration permission to live in the UK. That permission will state if they are allowed to claim state benefits.
Other sources of information include:
The information in this section is for general advice only. We recommend that you contact your local Housing Benefit office if you have any queries.