Can EU Citizens Claim Benefits In the UK After Brexit?

There have been many changes to the economic situation across borders post Brexit. This is the reason why we will discuss in this article whether or not EU citizens can claim benefits in the UK after Brexit. For a holistic view of the topic, we will also explore the benefits that EU citizens can claim in the UK and their eligibility criteria as well as review the conditions for a right to reside to claim welfare benefits in the UK. 

Can EU Citizens Claim Benefits In the UK After Brexit?

Yes, EU citizens can claim benefits in the UK after Brexit; as long as they can fulfil the below-listed conditions:

  • they have settled status or the right to claim benefits in the UK under a ‘right to reside status
  • their main home is in the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and they plan to continue staying there in the future as well under a ‘habitually resident status
  • they can meet the qualifying criteria for the benefits they aim to claim; such as being low on income

If you are an EU citizen with settled status, you will automatically be eligible for benefits in the UK with a right to reside status. However, if you are under pre-settled status, your benefits claim and the benefits that you are able to claim will depend on whether or not you have pre-settled status or not.

However, the claim to benefits will not take place automatically. EU nationals and their family members will have to qualify for each benefit that they apply for by meeting their eligibility criteria. This means that while some family members of EU nationals will qualify for certain benefits in the UK, they may not qualify for some.

Under most conditions, EU citizens who don’t have a right to reside in the UK can only claim non-means tested benefits. However, EU nationals who have a right to reside can also claim means-tested benefits.

What Are The Benefits That EU Nationals Can Claim In The UK After Brexit?

Depending on the eligibility criteria, EU nationals with a pre-settled status can apply for the following benefits in the UK:

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

Meanwhile, EU nationals with a pre-settled status and a right to reside 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

What Are The Conditions For EU Citizens To Claim Benefits In The UK After Brexit?

There are certain conditions that EU citizens will need to meet before they can claim welfare benefits in the UK after Brexit.

For instance, to satisfy the requirements for a “right to reside”, EU citizens 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. 

If none of these is an applicable solution due to an illness or injury that currently prevents you from working, you may have to apply with a retained worker status; while providing relevant medical evidence. 

Claimants will have to meet extra conditions to claim means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit or Housing Benefit with a pre-settled status.

If you have a disability, a health condition (mental or physical) or an illness that prevents you from performing everyday tasks, you can claim Personal Independence Payment. To claim the benefit under a pre-settled status you will also need to prove that you are habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Additionally, you should have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 out of the previous 3 years.

In the case of a disabled child, you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance on their behalf; as long as the child is also living in the UK under pre-settled status.

How Can EU Nationals Satisfy The Right To Reside Claim?

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)
  • you are a self-sufficient student 
  • you are a family member of a person who fulfils any of the above-mentioned categories

How Can EU Citizens Claim Benefits If They Can’t Prove Right To Reside? 

If you are an EU national who finds it difficult to prove your right to reside (perhaps due to a lack of payslips or misplaced documents), there are alternate ways to provide evidence of your status to claim benefits. Some of the suggestions include the following:

  • The claimant can make a subject access request to the HMRC asking them for details regarding their place(s) of work. Alternatively, they can ask their employer (or former employer) to write a letter of recommendation stating the details of their employment, tenure and remuneration.
  • They can also get information from the HMRC regarding tax payments and National Insurance contributions.
  • The claimant can inform the DWP about the lack of documents to support their claim. The DWP can inquire about these details from the HMRC directly.
  • If someone does not have payslips or employment contracts to prove their working status, or they have been working for cash in hand or through a bank account, they can share their bank statement as evidence of earnings.

If you are unable to prove your right to reside due to a lack of appropriate documents, you (or your family members) will have to pass the habitual residence test for benefits.


The above discussion has helped in bringing to knowledge the fact that EU citizens can claim benefits in the UK after Brexit. However, they must meet the eligibility criteria, both regarding immigration and the benefit itself. The main criteria for a benefits claim in such cases are the applicant’s right to reside status therefore, one must make sure to keep all relevant documents updated when they need to apply for a benefit claim.

FAQs: Can EU Citizens Claim Benefits In the UK After Brexit?

How long do you have to live in the UK before you can claim benefits?

You should have lived in the UK for at least 5 years to claim benefits. In some cases, you will need to have the right to reside while in others you may have to meet additional conditions to qualify.

Can EU citizens get Universal Credit?

Yes EU citizens can get Universal Credit in the UK. Individuals with a retained worker status will be able to claim the benefit for 9 months while someone with a jobseeker status will get payments for 6 months.

Can EU citizens claim Housing Benefit?

Yes, EU citizens with a settled status are automatically eligible for Housing Benefit. However, if you are an EU citizen with a pre-settled status, you would need to have a right to reside to claim Housing Benefit.

Can someone with pre-settled status claim benefits?

Yes, someone with settled status can claim benefits. However, they will only be able to claim non-means tested benefits such as Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Disability living allowance or Carer’s Allowance.

What does pre-settled status give you?

A pre-settled status is a grant to live, work or study in the UK for the next five years. While you may not be able to claim help for housing and living expenses, a pre-settled status allows you to apply for non-means tested benefits.


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

Can EU/EEA nationals living in the UK apply for benefits post-Brexit?

Can EU Citizens Claim Benefits in the UK After Brexit? | Reiss Edwards