What Benefits Are There For EU Citizens In The UK?

Since many individuals would be interested to know about the benefits that EU citizens can claim in the UK, we will explore these benefits and their eligibility criteria through the content of this blog post. We will also discuss the impact of your right to reside status on the benefits you claim as an EU citizen and review alternate options for individuals who are not eligible for benefit claims.

What Benefits Are There For EU Citizens In The UK?

Benefits that EU citizens can claim in the UK include the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-related Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Universal Credit
  • housing assistance from local authorities

Individuals who are on a low income can seek support through Pension Credit to top up their state retirement pension. The benefit aims to support individuals who are on a low income and above state pension age.

Meanwhile, a Housing Benefit payment can help claimants with housing costs including rental payments. In some cases where claimants are receiving income-based benefits, they will be able to get the maximum amount of Housing Benefit.

Some of the working age benefits are being replaced with Universal Credit. Claimants can either shift from their previous claim to UC or if someone has to file a fresh claim, they can directly apply for Universal Credit.

Even though Universal Credit has replaced ESA (income based), one can still claim New Style ESA based on their National Insurance contributions.

When it comes to eligibility for social housing, EU citizens will be eligible to apply through their local councils if they had earlier applied for settled or pre-settled status by 30 June 2021 or they have a right to reside.

To claim these benefits, you should be able to meet one of the below-listed conditions:

  • you should hold dual nationality so that you can claim British citizenship
  • you should have indefinite leave to remain in the UK 
  • you should have settled status as per the EU Settlement Scheme
  • you should have ‘pre-settled status’ according to the EU Settlement Scheme; as well as the right to reside

Generally speaking, EU citizens who are working will be able to claim more benefits than those who are looking for a job.

EU citizens who do not have a right to reside will not be able to claim Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit.

How Can EU Nationals Satisfy The Right To Reside To Claim Benefits?

EU nationals can satisfy the right to reside if they aim to claim benefits in the UK by fulfilling any of the below-listed conditions:

  • you are a worker earning a wage
  • you are a self-employed person who can declare their income
  • you are looking for a job (this is necessary only for benefits such as income-based JSA, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit) abovementioned
  • you are a self-sufficient student 
  • you are a family member of a person who fulfils any of the above-mentioned categories

In addition to this, you can also prove your right to reside if you are the primary carer for a full-time student. This will give you a derivative right to reside and thus the eligibility to claim benefits.

Even though some EU nationals can claim their right to reside by proving to be self-sufficient; however, this is an indirect declaration of not having the need to claim benefits.

Does The Right To Reside Affect Your Benefits Claim?

Yes, the right to reside status of an EEA national will affect the benefits that they or their family members can claim.

If someone does not have a right to reside but does have a pre-settled status, they can apply for the following benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance

Meanwhile, if someone has a pre-settled status and a right to reside, they can also apply for other benefits including these:

  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Benefit or Child Tax Credits
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance

To satisfy the requirements for a “right to reside”, one would need to prove that they are living in the UK under a worker status; whilst earning a wage of £166 per week for at least three months. Otherwise, they should have a family member living and working in the UK or they must be looking for a job. 

Can EU Citizens Get Financial Support In The UK If They Cannot Claim Benefits?

Yes, EU citizens can get financial support in the UK if they are unable to qualify for welfare benefits. For instance, if someone (or a family) having a pre-settled status is facing homelessness or the risk of homelessness due to a lack of sufficient funds, the local council authorities can provide them with shelter and financial support.

Councils can also advise such people to apply for state benefits through the Department for Work and Pensions; as well as free childcare to meet their expenses. (if applicable).

However, there may be instances where individuals under pre-settled status do not qualify for benefits. This can either be due to a disability that prevents them from working or that they have a child (or children) to take care of. Under such circumstances, the council provides such individuals with long-term support. They can also connect them to local grants and charities that can extend financial support.

Councils can also assist with living expenses, and travel costs for school if there are children in the family as well as cover the expense of meals if children under pre-settled status do not qualify for free school meals.

Since each local council office makes its own decision and allocates funds accordingly, the amount of support extended and the duration for which it lasts in such cases cannot be fixed or made uniform across the board.


The discussion in this article brings us to the conclusion that there are a number of benefits in the UK that can be offered to EU citizens; as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Additionally, the claim to these benefits largely depends on whether the claimant has a pre-settled, pre-settled with the right to reside or settled status in the UK.

FAQs: What Benefits Are There For EU Citizens In The UK?

How many EU citizens are on benefits in the UK?

according to data shared by the DWP, the number of EU citizens claiming working-age benefits in the UK benefits stood at 780,000 in November 2020

Can EU migrants claim benefits in the UK?

Not all EU migrants can claim benefits in the UK. you would need to be a migrant with a right to reside in the UK to be able to claim benefits such as Income Support or income-related Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA).

Can EU citizens with pre-settled status claim Universal Credit?

Yes, EU citizens with pre-settled status can claim Universal Credit. However, there are additional conditions to be met to be eligible. These include being able to prove that the claimant is under employment or self employed.

Does pre-settled status mean residence?

No pre-settled status does not mean residence; rather it indicates a temporary residence authorisation for anyone who has been living in the UK for less than five years and aims to progress to settled status.

How long is pre-settled status valid?

Once a pre-settled status is granted, it remains valid for the next five years. During this time, the claimant must remain in the UK for the maximum duration of the time. If they fail to do so for two consecutive years, the pre-settled status can be revoked.


Check if you can get benefits if you’re from the EU – Citizens Advice

How can EU nationals access UK benefits?

Benefits for non-UK nationals | nidirect