This blog will explain the meaning of Indefinite Leave to Remain and how to claim it, the different benefits that can be claimed through this status and the additional advantages that this status confers. 

Can you claim benefits with Indefinite Leave to Remain ?

Yes. You are eligible to claim all benefits and welfare services in the United Kingdom if you are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

This is only withheld if your primary identification such as a biometric residence card or passport are stamped with ‘no recourse to public funds’ status. 

This access to benefits is also revoked if you have acquired an Indefinite Leave to remain status because a close friend or family member (extended or otherwise) submitted a maintenance undertaking in your name when you first arrived. 

*A maintenance undertaking is a formal and written commitment /assurance by a friend or family member that they will be responsible for providing the beneficiary with monetary assistance and boarding and lodging.

It is a pledge under the United Kingdom immigrations rules and regulations. 

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain and how does it help ? 

If the United Kingdom government grants you Indefinite Leave to Remain then you are in possession of an immigrant status with which you can stay in the U.K. without a time limit and without immigration control. 

This is usually granted after 5 years of residing in the U.K. as a refugee, migrant or with a visa. For Long Residence ILR, you have to have been residing/working continuously in the U.K. for 10 years. 

You can remain in the country indefinitely and getting the ILR status is also a stepping stone towards gaining citizenship in the country. This is because you are now habitually resident/permanent resident and can claim the same set of benefits that are accessible to other citizens.

In addition to this status the grantee also becomes eligible for a range of public welfare schemes and social benefits, along with several other advantages. 

The grantee is generally entitled to all the benefits that a citizen of the United Kingdom is also eligible to receive.

What Benefits do I get under Indefinite Leave to Remain status ? 

There are several benefits that a person granted with ILR can claim. These have been detailed in the sub-headings below. 

Disability/Illness related benefits

ILR grantees are eligible for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) , PIP (Personal Independence Payment ) and Attendance Allowance.  

These are all granted to people afflicted with disabilities or illness that affect their capacity to work, their mobility, ability to study or even do basic household activities/daily activities such as bathe, walk, cook, eat, read etc.

It also accounts for any distress and additional care needs of the beneficiaries and pays compensation based on the extent of care requirements. 

The DLA is intended for children aged below 16 years whereas the PIP caters to people above the age of 16 but below the State Pension age.

Attendance Allowance is geared towards the elderly who have extensive care requirements and mobility issues. It caters towards those who are of or above State Pension age and need care from family members or home nurses etc. 

Residence /Accommodation Benefits 

Housing Benefits can be claimed by people on ILR status. It is a benefit that depends on the claimants income and it makes provision towards covering rent payments and some other service charges as well. 

It also aids those with a low income, low savings or any combination of the two. 

The benefit is dependent on a few factors such as the amount of rent payable, whether the beneficiary receives other benefits such as disability or carer’s benefits and also whether they are above or below State Pension age. 

As an ILR grantee you can also apply for assistance from your local council in finding affordable or appropriate housing. 

Income-based/Means-tested benefits 

Many income based or means-tested allowances/benefits also become accessible to someone who has been granted an Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

The first of these is the income based Job-seeker’s allowance which is tailored to cover some living costs and help the beneficiary tide over a period of unemployment.

It is granted when the beneficiary is out of work/looking for work actively and is able and capable of doing full-time work. It can also be claimed if the beneficiary is working less than 16 hours a week. 

For more information on the eligibility and amounts please refer to – Check if you can add income-based JSA to your claim – Citizens Advice

The income based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), is also a benefit that addresses unemployment or the inability to do work due to illness or disabilities.

Whether you were employed by another person, self-employed or have been unemployed so far, the benefit covers some living costs in lieu of any Statutory Sick Pay that is usually received from employers.

It also provides monetary support, until the beneficiary can find another source of income or return to work. 

Credit Schemes/ Benefits 

You can claim credits on a lot of taxes that you pay even with an ILR status. These include working tax credit, child tax credit and Pension credit. 

Working tax credit is extra monetary support given to people who have low incomes. The amount of this benefit a person receives depends on their age, the number of hours they work and other circumstances such as marital status and number of children. 

To know more about the different conditions please read – Working Tax Credit – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The limits of what qualifies as low income depends on the above mentioned circumstances as well as any disabilities or illness the beneficiary or his/her/their family members may have. 

It can be granted to self-employed people as well, but not those who do not have clear business statements, books of accounts, records etc. To see if you qualify please refer- Working Tax Credit – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Child Tax Credit is a benefit paid to parents who have dependent children. The amount received varies in accordance with the number of children, their dates of birth, and the existence of any disability or illness among them. 

It can be claimed for only two children. But in exceptional circumstances, such as in the case of adoptions, claims for more than two children will be permitted. 

Keep in mind that this benefit is also granted for children that the beneficiary is responsible for. For further details refer- Child Tax Credit: support for a maximum of 2 children – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

ILR grantees can also claim Pension credit once they have reached or crossed State Pension age. 

This benefit functions as an income top-up to assist people who have reached the State Pension age and have a low income to meet their expenses. It could also cover rent and other service charges as well. 

Miscellaneous Benefits 

Other benefits that you can claim if you have been granted ILR status include Carer’s Allowance and Child Benefit. 

The Carer’s Allowance is provided to parents of disabled or ill children, adults or elders who require substantially more care requirements as compared to other children of the same age. 

The beneficiary must be involved in care activities for at least 35 hours per week and the benefits will be more if you care for more than one person. 

However, you must be 16 years and above and the person you care for must be in receipt of either DLA, PIP or Attendance Allowance. 

Child Benefit is also extended to parents of children below 16 years of age or 20 if they are completing any formal training or education. It can also be given to foster parents and parents who have adopted children. 

Council Benefits 

There are also some additional benefits that are claimed from the local council such as Council Tax Reduction/Support. 

The local council of the beneficiary can provide a reduction or discount to the Council Tax bill if the claimant has a low income and is receiving other benefits. They could completely cover the Tax bill as well. 

The amount of reduction received depends on the claimant’s age, the benefits they receive, their income and savings, family structure, marital status, number of children etc. 

Universal Credit 

Many of the means-tested benefits under previous social security schemes, including some of the above mentioned benefits have now come under the purview of Universal Credit. 

Under normal circumstances, a beneficiary who has been granted an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and his habitually resident in the country is entitled to claim Universal Credit. 

The only exception is if the beneficiary has come into the country via a maintenance undertaking i.e. a family or friend has sponsored their stay and monetary needs for whatever time they have resided in the U.K. 

In such cases, the beneficiary can only become eligible for Universal Credit if the sponsor passes away. 

Other advantages/rights granted to people with ILR status 

The right to live , work and study in the United Kingdom 

Having an ILR status allows you to live in the U.K. as a habitual resident. You can work in any business, trade, vocation or profession as long as you comply with regulations. You may also be self-employed. You can also study anywhere in the U.K.

Healthcare costs are significantly reduced since you do not have to pay an immigrant surcharge. 

The ability to bring family members to the U.K. 

As an ILR holder you can bring your family members into the country if they apply for a visa. But each type of family member must fulfill a set of conditions for the visa to be approved. 

If you want to bring a child, then he/she/they should be under 18 years of age and cannot be living an independent life. There needs to be proof that the child will be a dependent and that the ILR holder will be able to support the child financially.

If a spouse/partner wants to enter the U.K., then they must prove the existence of a legal partnership or marriage that is recognized in the U.K. or the intention of marriage upon entering the country. 

The spouse/partner must also submit evidence of their ability to speak/understand  English satisfactorily and will be able to support themselves financially in the U.K.

You may also bring in adult family members who require care or health-care support in the long-term. They can apply using an Adult Dependent Visa , as long as it can be proved that the care that they require cannot be received in their home country. 

This blog has explained the meaning of Indefinite Leave to Remain and how to claim it, described the different benefits that can be availed through this status and the additional advantages that this status confers. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)- Can you claim benefits with Indefinite Leave to Remain ? 

Can I claim any benefits for homelessness if I am on ILR ? 

Yes, you are eligible to claim benefits or assistance to prevent or stop your homeless status if you are an ILR grantee, as long as you are not sponsored by anyone. 

You can request assistance to find housing under social tenancy through the local councils and you may also take the help of housing associations in the area. You just need to have ILR status and be habitually resident in the country. 

If you have ILR status and have family members with you , you will not automatically be given accommodation, unless you or your spouse/family member is pregnant , has a condition, or is a British citizen. This will then qualify as ‘priority need’. 

Other than this the beneficiary can apply for council house allocations/applications/waiting lists etc. to gain accomodation for both him/her/them and their family members. Homlessnes assistance is also provided irrespective of eligibility. 

Can I claim British Citizenship while on Indefinite Leave to Remain ? 

No, the ILR status is an immigrant status that allows indefinite leave to reside, work and study in the United Kingdom. It does not mean citizenship. 

However, the grant of this status takes you one step closer to obtaining British citizenship through the process of naturalization. 

Once you attain British citizenship, you can get a passport and all the other advantages of being a legal citizen. But ILR by itself does not grant this privilege. 

To understand the process of becoming a British citizen and the different requirements in terms of time, residence , qualifications etc. kindly refer to – Can I apply for a British Passport after ILR | UK Passport (iasservices.org.uk)

Is my ILR status in jeopardy if my partner/spouse and I separate or divorce ? 

No. If you already hold an ILR status, then your separation or divorce from your partner/spouse has no material impact on that status. It will remain the same. 

However if you do not have an ILR status and you are a dependent on someone who does have this status then the Home Office should be notified before the divorce is finalized. 

Your visa restrictions will come into play and the time you can remain in the U.K. will be cut short because you no longer meet the basic requirements to stay as a dependent of an ILR grantee. 

You can try to get other visas to prolong your stay such as work visas or visas based on your position as a parent, or a close relative of a EEA member (this is referred to as Retained Right of Residence). 

For further clarifications on this matter please refer to – Spouse Visa after Divorce or Separation | DavidsonMorris

Can I lose my ILR status ? 

Yes. Although the ILR status gives you the right to stay in the U.K. indefinitely, you must abide by certain conditions to be able to retain that status. 

The foremost of these conditions is that the recipient must not be away from the United Kingdom for more than 2 consecutive years, otherwise the right to the ILR status will lapse. 

The legitimacy of your interactions in terms of family and transactions in terms of business or work will all be monitored to take into account whether the grant of ILR has been justified. 

Needless to say, any criminal activity, fraud in obtaining the ILR status or activities that result in deportation will cause a revocation of the ILR status. 

How much does it cost to apply for ILR ? 

There are few conditions that one has to meet to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, such as residency requirements of at least 5 consecutive years, no absences for more than 6 months in any given year, passing the Life in the U.K. test and spoken English standards. 

In addition, you also need to pay to gain access to ILR status. At present the fee for the application for ILR status is £2,389, along with some additional charges for certain document procurement and verification processes. 

To clarify the fee rates for dependents of ILR residents or family members in various situations, you can look into the facts provided by this table – Home Office immigration and nationality fees: 20 February 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

References : 

  1. Accessing UK benefits and services if you’re subject to immigration control. (n.d.). Citizens Advice. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/immigration/are-you-subject-to-immigration-control
  2. What are the benefits of ILR in the UK? | Settle in the UK | ILR. (2021, March 25). London Immigration Lawyers. https://london-immigrationlawyer.co.uk/what-are-the-benefits-of-ilr-in-the-uk/
  3. Indefinite leave to remain in the UK: your rights and status. (n.d.). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/indefinite-leave-to-remain-in-the-uk
  4. Universal credit: Immigration and residence conditions. (2019). Shelter England. https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/benefits/universal_credit_immigration_and_residence_conditions
  5. Housing benefit advice. (n.d.). Age UK. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/housing-benefit/
  6. Check if you can get JSA. (n.d.). Www.citizensadvice.org.uk. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/jobseekers-allowance-jsa/before-you-claim-jsa/check-if-you-can-get-jsa/
  7. Check if you can add income-based JSA to your claim. (n.d.). Www.citizensadvice.org.uk. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/jobseekers-allowance-jsa/help-with-your-jsa-claim/check-if-you-can-add-income-based-jsa-to-your-claim/
  8. Government Digital Service. (2012, January 19). Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance
  9. Working Tax Credit. (n.d.). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/working-tax-credit
  10. What is Working Tax Credit? – Turn2us. (n.d.). Www.turn2us.org.uk. https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Working-Tax-Credit/What-is-Working-Tax-Credit
  11. Child Tax Credit: support for a maximum of 2 children. (n.d.). GOV.UK. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/child-tax-credit-exceptions-to-the-2-child-limit
  12. Government Digital Service. (2011, December 8). Child Tax Credit. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit/new-claim
  13. Pension Credit. (n.d.). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit
  14. Advising People with Indefinite Leave to Remain | Housing Rights Information (England & Wales). (n.d.). Www.housing-Rights.info. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://www.housing-rights.info/03_3_ILR.php
  15. Can I apply for a British Passport after ILR | UK Passport. (2021, June 10). Immigration Advice Service. https://us.iasservices.org.uk/can-i-apply-for-a-british-passport-after-indefinite-leave-to-remain/
  16. Spouse Visa after Divorce or Separation | DavidsonMorris. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://www.davidsonmorris.com/visa-after-divorce/
  17. Home Office immigration and nationality fees: 20 February 2020. (n.d.). GOV.UK. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-regulations-revised-table/2020

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.