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Eligibility for state benefits

Residence permits allowing people to live in the UK, may include the condition that they won't be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance paid by the state. However there are exceptions in certain circumstances.

No recourse to public funds

No recourse to public funds (NRPF) is a term relating to people who are subject to immigration control and therefore restricted from accessing a number of welfare benefits, such as tax credits or housing assistance. NRPF applies to a person who is:

  • living in the UK with a residence permit (needs a visa or other permission)
  • does not have the right to work
  • has no entitlement to welfare benefits, public housing or UK border asylum support.

Public funds do not include benefits that are based on National Insurance contributions. To view the full list of public funds that come under NRPF visit www.gov.uk.

Special circumstances

NHS services, state-funded schooling and financial or housing support provided by a local authority are not considered public funds. Although local authorities generally don’t receive extra funding to support this area, there are cases where people in this group may have a right to financial support (and local authorities have a statutory duty to provide support to certain people who have NRPF).

For example, someone with complex mental or physical health needs, a young person who is leaving care or pregnant, or an adult who has responsibility for children. To find out more they will need to contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue & Customs to discuss any personal circumstances.

If another person in the household is eligible to claim Universal Credit and has a partner who has NRPF, only the eligible claimant will be entitled to receive the benefit. However, the income from the whole household will be taken into account. 

Support and further information 

The NRPF network has a free advice line on 0207 527 7121, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (this service does not provide immigration advice). 

Updated August 2016, next review due 2017.

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