This article aims to help in answering the question of whether or not you can claim benefits if you have no fixed abode. In addition to answering this question, we will also explore the benefits you can claim without a fixed abode, their eligibility criteria as well as the application process.

Can You Claim Benefits If You Have No Fixed Abode?

Yes, you can claim benefits if you have no fixed abode. Although providing a postal address is part of the application process when you file a claim for welfare benefits, individuals who lack a fixed abode can provide the address of the following:

  • friend or family member
  • hoster or shelter
  • day centre
  • nearest Jobcentre Plus office

If you do not have a fixed abode because you live in a caravan, motorhome or boat, you can still claim benefits that you qualify for and provide the address of any of the above-mentioned options. However, you should be able to meet the below-listed conditions:

  • You must be ordinarily resident in the UK. This means that you must have a permanent address in the UK and intend to stay here indefinitely.
  • You must be physically present in the UK. This means that you must be in the UK when you make your claim.
  • You must be available for work. This means that you must be able to start work immediately if you are offered a job.
  • You must not be living in a permanent place of work. This means that you cannot live in your caravan while working at a specific location.

On the other hand, if you lack a fixed abode because of being homeless, you can also apply for council housing in addition to claiming benefits. You can find additional financial support through grants and loans from your local council office if your reason for not having a fixed abode is homelessness.

While it is most common for benefits claimants to apply for Universal Credit in such cases, they may also be able to claim income-based benefits if they have no fixed abode. Additionally, anyone with a disability or severe health condition can apply for disability benefits even if they have no fixed abode.

If you were claiming benefits before losing access or claim to a fixed address, your payments will not be affected for not having a fixed abode and you will be able to continue claiming them.

Which Benefits Can You Claim If You Have No Fixed Abode?

If you qualify for any of the following benefits, you will be able to claim them despite having no fixed abode:

  • Universal Credit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance
  • New State Pension
  • Basic State Pension
  • Child Benefit
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Local Welfare Provision
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Bereavement Benefits

You can use an independent, online benefits calculator to check which of these benefits you qualify for before applying for them. Alternatively, you can contact your Jobcentre Plus office or local council for guidance on how to claim the benefits that you qualify for.

How Do You Claim Disability Benefits If You Have No Fixed Abode?

You can claim disability benefits online, on phone or through the post even if you have no fixed abode. Disability Benefits that you can claim include the following:

  • Personal Independence Payment 
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance

If you were claiming any of these benefits before losing access to a fixed abode, you can continue receiving payments in the same way. 

In the case of fresh claims, you can follow these guidelines:

  • You can claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) by contacting the Disability Service Centre or calling on 0800 917 2222. 
  • Attendance Allowance can be claimed by filling out the Attendance Allowance claim form online or in writing and sending it to Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance via post.
  • If you need to claim Disability Living Allowance for a child, you can either apply using the DLA1 Child (ALT) claim form online or call the Disability Living Allowance helpline at 0800 121 4600 and ask for a printed form. Once you’ve filled out the form and added the relevant supportive evidence, you can post it to Freepost DWP DLA Child.

Can You Get A Loan If You Claim Benefits And Have No Fixed Abode?

Yes, you can get a loan if you claim benefits and have no fixed abode. If you have been claiming any of the following benefits for at least six months, you can apply for a Budgeting Loan from the DWP:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

A Budgeting Loan is an interest-free loan that can be paid back to the DWP through future deductions from your benefit payments. It will provide you with support for the following expenses:

  • advance rent
  • purchase of household items, such as furniture or white goods
  • costs for moving or maintenance regarding your residence
  • clothing and footwear
  • repayment of any loans you may have taken
  • expenses linked to a new job or travel within the UK
  • maternity costs
  • funeral costs

Can You Get Housing If You Have No Fixed Abode?

Yes, you will be eligible for council housing if you have no fixed abode, are homeless, claim benefits, unemployed or on a low income. 

If someone is living on the streets, in unhygienic or overcrowded conditions, councils can provide them with emergency shelter on an immediate basis. 

Your local council office can also help you with the following solutions if you lack a fixed abode because of homelessness:

  • provide support and advice for housing
  • accommodate you in an emergency shelter
  • help you get back to your home if it is possible
  • provide support and assistance if you need help finding a home 
  • provide you with a council home for long-term housing

Conclusion:

Based on the above discussion we can conclude that if someone is eligible to claim benefits, they can do so even if they have no fixed abode. However, claimants will have to (a) prove their eligibility for each benefit by meeting the qualifying criteria for each one and (b) keep in mind that their benefits payments will be affected by the reason due to which they have no fixed abode. This means that while a lack of address does not affect benefits claims, the severity of its reason can affect the payment amount.

References:

Claiming benefits when homeless on the streets – Shelter England

Homeless Benefits: A Guide to Your Financial Entitlement | Centrepoint

Universal Credit and homeless people: guide for supporting organisations – GOV.UK