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  1. 1. Overview
  2. 2. Benefits that are public funds
  3. 3. Public funds - exceptions
  4. 4. Mixed households
  5. 5. EEA nationals and family members
  6. 6. Returning to the UK, benefit delays and sanctions
  7. 7. Benefits that are not public funds
  8. 8. Access to work
  9. 9. Cost of living support

Public funds - exceptions

A person who has leave to remain that is subject to the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ condition (leave to remain with NRPF) can claim certain benefits without this affecting their immigration status when an exception applies.

For full details of the exceptions referred to in this section, see the Home Office guidance on public funds

Child Benefit

Eligibility for Child Benefit depends on the parent’s immigration and residence status, rather than the child's nationality or immigration status. 

An eligible parent may claim Child Benefit regardless of the child’s immigration status. However, when a child has leave to remain with NRPF, legal advice should be obtained from an immigration adviser before an application for Child Benefit is made to find out whether this may adversely affect the child’s current or future immigration position. 

When a sole parent or both parents in a household have leave to remain with NRPF, they will not qualify for Child Benefit and will not be able to claim this for a British child. The parent may only be able to claim Child Benefit if an exception applies, such as due to a reciprocal social security agreement that their country of nationality has with the UK. 

Maintenance undertakings

When a person has indefinite leave to remain as the adult dependent relative of a person who is settled in the UK, they will be subject to a maintenance undertaking that was made by their sponsoring relative. A person with this type of immigration status will be excluded from claiming public funds for the first five years that they are resident in the UK or following the provision of the maintenance undertaking (whichever date is later). 

Some benefits, such as Child Benefit, can be claimed by a person whilst they are subject to a maintenance undertaking. However, most benefits can only be claimed after five years or if the sponsor who provided the maintenance undertaking dies before the end of the five year period.   

A person who is subject to a maintenance undertaking would need to seek advice from a benefit adviser to find out what they may be entitled to claim during the first five years of their residence in the UK. 

Reciprocal social security agreements

Nationals of countries with reciprocal social security agreements will be able to access certain benefits in the UK. To qualify the person would usually need to be living in the UK lawfully and, in some cases, may need to be working. The countries that these agreement apply to are listed in the Home Office guidance on public funds.  

Immigration terms

Adult dependent relative

Adult relative of a person in the UK who is a British citizen, has settled status, refugee leave or humanitarian protection, and who requires long-term personal care  as a result of age, illness, or disability, when this care is unavailable or cannot be provided by anyone in their country of origin.

Indefinite leave to enter or remain

Immigration permission with no time limit on the length of stay in the UK.