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Check if you can get benefits if you're from the EU

This advice applies to Wales

You might be able to claim benefits if you’re from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and you live in the UK. The EEA includes EU countries and also Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. 

You’ll need to prove different things about your life here for each benefit you apply for. You might need to give evidence that:

  • you have settled status or the right to claim benefits in the UK - this is called a ‘right to reside’
  • the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is your main home and you plan to stay - this is known as being ‘habitually resident’
  • you meet other criteria for the benefit you’re claiming - for example you earn less than a certain amount or you’re ill

Getting pre-settled or settled status

The deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021. If you make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme, you must have a good reason for missing the deadline. 

You must also have arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020.

Check if you can make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you already have pre-settled status, you’ll still be able to reapply to the scheme to upgrade to settled status after 30 June 2021.

If you have family members who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020 there are different deadlines for their applications - find out more about bringing family to the UK

If you’re having problems applying to the scheme or need to make a late application, contact an adviser.

Check what you need to prove

First check what you need to prove for the benefits you want to apply for. You’ll then need to find out if you’re eligible.

If you’re struggling to pay for food, you could get help from a food bank.

Your local council might also be able to help you. Find your local council on GOV.UK.

If you’re on a low income or you don’t work

You might be able to claim Universal Credit.

Universal Credit can help if you:

  • are on a low income or don’t have much money
  • need help paying your rent or mortgage
  • are looking for work
  • have an illness or condition that makes it difficult for you to work

If you don't have settled status, you’ll have to show you have a right to reside in the UK. You’ll also have to prove you’re habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

Check if you can claim Universal Credit.

If you’re over pension age

You can’t claim Universal Credit - check which other benefits you can get.

If you’re ill, disabled or caring for someone

You might be able to get extra money to help cover your living costs.

You’ll have to show you’re habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man and have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for 2 out of the last 3 years.

If you have an illness, disability or mental health condition

You might be able to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You must have either:

  • pre-settled or settled status
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

If your child is ill or disabled

You might be able to claim Disability Living Allowance for your child. They must have either:

  • pre-settled or settled status
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

If you’re caring for someone

If you care for someone for 35 hours or more a week and they’re claiming a disability benefit, you might be able to claim Carer’s Allowance. You must have either:

  • pre-settled or settled status
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

If you’re over pension age and need help with personal care

You might be able to claim Attendance Allowance. You must have either:

  • pre-settled or settled status
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

If you have children

You might be able to get extra money to help cover the costs of looking after a child.

Check if you can claim Child Benefit.

If you don't have settled status, you’ll have to show you have a right to reside in the UK. 

You might also be able to claim Universal Credit. Check if you can claim Universal Credit.

To claim Child Benefit or Universal Credit you’ll need to have one of the following:

  • settled status
  • pre-settled status and a right to reside in the UK
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

You’ll also have to prove you’re habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

If your child is ill or disabled

You might be able to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for your child.

You’ll have to show all of the following:

  • your child has pre-settled or settled status – or they had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021
  • your child is habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man
  • your child has lived in England, Scotland or Wales for 2 out of the last 3 years

If you’re over pension age

You might be able to get money to help cover the costs of looking after a child by claiming Pension Credit.

You’ll need to have one of the following:

  • settled status
  • pre-settled status and a right to reside in the UK
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

You’ll also need to show you’re habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

Check if you can claim Pension Credit.

If you’re pension age or over

You can't claim Universal Credit, but there are other benefits you can claim instead.

If you’re on a low income or you don’t work

There are benefits that can help you with your living costs.

You’ll need to have one of the following:

  • settled status
  • pre-settled status and a right to reside in the UK
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

You’ll also need to show you’re habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

If you need to boost your income, you might be able to claim Pension Credit.

If you need help with your rent, you might be able to claim Housing Benefit.

If you’re ill, disabled or caring for someone

You might be able to get extra money to help cover your living costs.

You’ll have to show you’re habitually resident in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland and have lived in Great Britain for 2 out of the last 3 years.

You might be able to claim Disability Living Allowance for your child. They must have either:

  • pre-settled or settled status 
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

If you care for someone for 35 hours or more a week and they’re claiming a disability benefit, you might be able to claim Carer’s Allowance

If you need help with personal care, you might be able to claim Attendance Allowance

To claim Carer’s Allowance or Attendance Allowance you must have either:

  • pre-settled or settled status 
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

If you have children

You might be able to get money to help cover the costs of looking after a child by claiming Pension Credit. Check if you can claim Pension Credit.

You might also be able to claim Child Benefit. Check if you can claim Child Benefit.

To claim Pension Credit or Child Benefit you’ll need to have one of the following:

  • settled status
  • pre-settled status and a right to reside in the UK
  • had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 and applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

You’ll also have to show you’re habitually resident in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland.

If you're receiving benefits from an EEA country

You might still be able to claim some benefits in the UK. For example, if you're working and getting a benefit from an EEA country, you might be able to get Universal Credit.

When you apply for benefits in the UK, give details about the benefits you’re getting from another country, including how much money you get.

The amount of money you’re getting from your other benefits might affect what benefits you can get in the UK.

Check if you have a right to reside

To claim most benefits you need to a right to reside now. The easiest way to prove you have a right to reside is by getting settled or pre-settled status.

If you have settled status or pre-settled status

If you have settled status you automatically have a right to reside and you can apply for all benefits.

If you have pre-settled status and another right to reside you can apply for all benefits - check if you have a right to reside.

If you have pre-settled status and don’t have another right to reside

The government says people with pre-settled status must have another right to reside to get benefits. But there’s currently a court case happening to challenge the government’s decision.

Because of this, if you apply for benefits now, or you applied from 1 January 2021, your application is likely to be refused. If this happens, you should ask for a mandatory reconsideration and then appeal the decision. If you're going to appeal, talk to an adviser.

If the government lose the court case, it’s likely you’ll win your appeal - so it’s a good idea to apply now.

If you applied for benefits before 1 January 2021, you might wait a long time to get a decision.

Check if you can pass the habitual residence test

You can find out more about the habitual residence test and check if you can pass.

You don’t need to pass the habitual residence test to claim:

  • Child Benefit
  • contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you’re not sure if you can claim benefits, speak to an adviser from your nearest Citizens Advice.

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