This page explains what public funds are and whether you are able to receive help from them while you are living in the United Kingdom.
If you have a residence permit that allows you to live in the United Kingdom, it may include the condition that you have no recourse to public funds. If so, it means you will not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that are paid by the state.
However, there are exceptions for some benefits and if you are in any doubt, you should contact the department or agency that issues it. This will often be the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue & Customs.
Public funds include a range of benefits that are given to people on a low income, as well as housing support. These are:
- income-based jobseeker's allowance;
- income support;
- child tax credit;
- universal credit;
- working tax credit;
- a social fund payment;
- child benefit;
- housing benefit;
- council tax benefit;
- council tax reduction;
- domestic rate relief (Northern Ireland);
- state pension credit;
- attendance allowance;
- severe disablement allowance;
- personal independence payment;
- carer's allowance;
- disability living allowance;
- an allocation of local authority housing; and
- local authority homelessness assistance.
Public funds do not include benefits that are based on National Insurance contributions. National Insurance is paid in the same way as income tax and is based on earnings. Benefits to which a person is entitled as a result of National Insurance contributions include:
- contribution-based jobseeker's allowance;
- incapacity benefit;
- retirement pension;
- widow's benefit and bereavement benefit;
- guardian's allowance; and
- statutory maternity pay.
More detailed information on public funds can be found in our Public funds guidance document. This can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page.
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