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Public funds - exceptions

When an exception applies, a person who is subject to the ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition (NRPF) may be able to claim a benefit that is classed as a public fund. These exceptions are summarised in this section and are set out in detail in the Home Office guidance on public funds

Reciprocal arrangements 

Some exceptions apply to nationals of countries with reciprocal or special arrangements that enable their citizens 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. 

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 that is subject to the NRPF condition, 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 that is subject to the NRPF condition, they will not qualify for Child Benefit and will not be able to claim this for a British child. They may only qualify for Child Benefit if an exception applies. 

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 that are classed as public funds can be claimed by a person whilst they are subject to a maintenance undertaking, such as Child Benefit. However, most benefits that are classed as public funds can only be claimed by the person once the first five years have passed, 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. 

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.