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EEA nationals - claiming benefits as a family member

This advice applies to Wales

If you're an EEA national who has come to the UK from abroad and you want to claim certain means-tested benefits, you must satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test (HRT). To satisfy the test you must show:

  • you have a legal right to live in the UK. This is called a right to reside, and
  • you intend to settle in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland (the 'Common Travel Area') and make it your home for the time being. This is known as habitual residence.

This page explains what your rights are if you're the family member of an EEA national.

Getting advice

Showing your right to reside and intention to settle in the UK can be difficult. If you're unsure about anything, seek advice.

If you need more help

You are the family member of an EEA national

You may have the right to reside and not have to satisfy the remaining conditions of the HRT if you're a family member of an EEA national who themselves has the right to reside as one of the following:

  • a worker
  • a self-employed person
  • a former worker
  • a student
  • a self-sufficient person
  • a jobseeker.

EEA nationals - claiming benefits while in work or self-employed
EEA nationals - claiming benefits as a former worker
EEA nationals - claiming benefits as a student
EEA nationals - claiming benefits as a self-sufficient person
EEA nationals - claiming benefits as a jobseeker

Immigration control

If you're subject to immigration control, you can't claim benefits. Making a claim may affect your right to stay in the UK.

This may be the case if you:

  • need permission to enter or remain in the UK but don't yet have it
  • have permission to enter or remain in the UK only if you don't claim benefits or use other public services
  • were given permission to enter or remain in the UK because someone formally agreed to support you.

You'll have the best chance of showing that you have a right to reside if you're the immediate family member of an EEA national. An immediate family member can be a husband/wife, civil partner, child under 21 or grandchild under 21. But if you're another family member, such as a child over 21, or a parent or grandparent, you may have rights too if you're looked-after, whether financially or otherwise, by your EEA family member or by their husband/wife or civil partner. However, if your EEA family member is a student you will only be treated as a family member if you're the husband/wife, civil partner or dependent child of the student or the dependent child of their husband/wife or civil partner.

Your right to reside is dependent on your family member continuing to have a right to reside. For example, if they're a worker who stops working and does not register as unemployed, they may no longer have a right to reside as a worker and your right to reside may also end

Even if you can show that you have the the right to reside, you may still have to show you are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area in order to claim means-tested benefits.

The rules around being a family member of an EEA national are complicated so it may be best to seek advice before making a claim based on this right.

EEA countries

European Economic Area (EEA) countries include all those in the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. To check which countries are members of the European Union, see the Europa website www.europa.eu.

Next steps

If you need more help

Other useful information

www.gov.uk

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