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Can I claim Universal Credit if I have Indefinite Leave to Remain?

As well as giving you the right to stay in the UK permanently, holding Indefinite Leave to Remain means that you will no longer be subject to the no recourse to public funds policy. Find out more about the benefits that you could be entitled to with Indefinite Leave to Remain.

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Can I claim universal credit if I have ILR?

Indefinite Leave to Remain gives you the ability to stay in the UK permanently. Once you are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you will no longer be subject to immigration control and you will be able to access public funds. This means that if you are eligible, you can claim universal credit if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Universal Credit is a form of financial support to help working-age adults, who may be on low income or out of work, with the cost of their living. Although most ILR holders can claim Universal Credit, you must also meet the other requirements to be eligible.

You could be eligible to claim Universal Credit if:

  • You are on a low income or out of work
  • You are aged 18 or over and under the State Pension age
  • You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • You live in the UK

Your Universal Credit payment will vary depending on your specific circumstances, you may be entitled to extra amounts if you have a child, have a disability or health condition that prevents you from working or if you need help paying your rent.

It’s worth noting that there is one exception to ILR holders being able to claim Universal Credit. If a family member has sponsored you to come and live in the UK within the last 5 years then you cannot claim public funds. You can only claim public funds in this situation if your family member has passed away.

To claim Universal Credit, you need to apply for it online at the gov.uk website.

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What other benefits could I be entitled to with ILR?

As well as Universal Credit, those with Indefinite Leave to Remain could also be entitled to a number of other types of benefits. Generally, ILR holders will be able to access the same benefits that a British citizen can, providing they are eligible.

As a foreign national with ILR status, you can be eligible for assistance with housing if you meet the conditions. This includes access to housing allocation with your local authority and help if you are homeless. You can also be eligible for housing benefit and a council tax rebate. To claim these things, you must be habitually resident in the UK, this means that most of the time you live in either the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.

The other types of public funds that you can be eligible to claim include:

  • Pension Credit
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Council tax reduction
  • Employment and Support Allowance

There are several other types of public funds that those with Indefinite Leave to Enter can claim, you can find out about all the types of UK public funds, what they are for and what the eligibility conditions for them are on the gov.uk website.

Am I entitled to benefits if I have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme was introduced to protect the rights of EU nationals living in the UK prior to 1 January 2021. EU or EEA nationals who have been granted either pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme can claim certain benefits. EU and EEA nationals can also be eligible if they had a right to reside in the UK on 31 December 2020.

Just like Indefinite Leave to Remain holders, if you have settled status you are no longer subject to immigration control and are able to claim all types of public funds if eligible for them, this includes universal credit and housing benefit.

When the scheme was first introduced, the Home Office stated that the public funds that pre-settled status nationals could apply for would be limited in comparison. However, a court has ruled that those with pre-settled status do have a right to residency meaning that you can claim the same types of public funds as those who have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain or settled status.

Other types of foreign nationals that are entitled to claim public funds include those with refugee status as well as those who have been granted other forms of humanitarian protection in the UK.

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Do you want to know more about claiming benefits as a foreign national in the UK?

The rights that you have whilst living in the UK as a foreign national vary depending on your immigration status. Indefinite Leave to Remain and Settled Status gives you the right to permanent residency in the UK without being subject to immigration control. These status’s also come with other benefits, like being able to claim welfare.

However, those with temporary status or limited leave are usually subject to the No Recourse to Public Fund’s policy, meaning that they cannot claim benefits. But there are some conditions in which foreign nationals with limited leave may be able to claim public funds. This includes citizens of certain Commonwealth countries and EU nationals with pre-settled status.

The UK immigration system can be complex, but our immigration lawyers can help you to navigate it. If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain or another type of immigration status and are unsure about your rights, our lawyers can help. They offer advice sessions where they can answer any questions that you may have and can also advise you about the best immigration options available for your specific circumstances.