Amendment to list of prohibited public funds

6 May 2016

New benefit added to the list of prohibited public funds and child benefit clarification

On 6 April 2016, a discretionary welfare support payment administered by a local authority in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland was added to the list of public funds, which migrants with NRPF are prohibited from claiming, and is set out at paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules​:

England​ discretionary support payment made by a local authority under section 1 of the Localism Act 2011
​Scotland ​​A payment made from a welfare fund under the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act 2015​
Northern Ireland  ​A discretionary support payment made in accordance with any regulations made under article 135 of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015.
The Discretionary Assistance Fund for Wales ended on 31 March 2016 so no reference to this scheme has been added to the Immigration Rules.

Since April 2013, in England and Scotland, local authorities have been responsible for providing discretionary support to residents in need. This support has replaced community care grants and crisis loans previously administered by the DWP under the social fund. Northern Ireland is due to implement its scheme soon. 

These schemes are all branded and administered differently by individual local authorities, with most providing assistance in vouchers or in kind rather than cash payments. Although local authorities should have eligibility criteria for the schemes that are tied to being in receipt of certain benefits (which a person with NRPF would not be entitled to), it is important that a person with NRPF does not inadvertently make an application for assistance. Names for the scheme vary and include: 'residents support service', 'discretionary support scheme', discretionary crisis scheme', 'local support payments', 'local welfare assistance' and 'community and crisis support'. 

The Child Poverty Action Group has a useful resource to help people to find their local scheme and also publishes a list of available schemes.

In addition to amending the list of public funds, the Home Office has revised its Modernised Guidance Public Funds, which helpfully clarifies that a parent who has leave to remain with NRPF may claim child benefit for a British Citizen child. Note that this does not apply to parents who have an EU derived​ right to reside as the primary carer of a British Citizen child (Zambrano carer​) because they are excluded from claiming child benefit by the child benefit eligibility regulations. 

​Our information on public funds has been updated in line with this guidance.