Can you claim benefits with pre-settled status?
This blog will attempt to guide the readers and provide a framework on how to claim benefits with a pre-settled status. It will also lay out the benefits that can be claimed by people with a pre-settled status and the conditionalities and circumstances under which different claims can be made.
Can you claim benefits with pre-settled status ?
Yes, you can claim benefits in the United Kingdom with a pre-settled status. However, there are certain requirements that one needs to fulfill and also some caveats to being able to claim benefits.
Since the “settlement status” arrangement is relatively new, there are teething issues that remain to be solved. However, the current context will be explained so that the reader can understand where he/she/they stand at the moment.
What does pre-settled status mean ?
Pre-settled status is an immigration status granted to citizens of one or more of the following : The European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
If the individual is a citizen of any of these three categories and they have not resided in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of 5 years, they are provided with a temporary “pre-settled status” as they attempt to secure permanent resident or “habitually resident” status.
The pre-settled status is granted under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The applicant must have resided in the U.K. for at least 6 months prior to 31st December, 2020.
The only exception to this requirement is if the applicants are family members of a European sponsor living in the U.K. who already has some status under the EUSS.
In addition, any non-European family members joining their European sponsors who have status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will automatically be granted pre-settled status.
The pre-settled status is granted for a period of 5 years irrespective of the time period the applicant has resided in the U.K.
What types of status permit the claim of benefits in the U.K. ?
In the United Kingdom , 4 categories of persons are eligible for benefits :
- Dual nationalities, one of which is British citizenship
- Indefinite leave to remain
- ‘Settled Status’ under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
- ‘Pre-settled Status’ under the EUSS
The first two conditions are not applicable for this blog, hence we will refrain from discussing them. Suffice it to say that having citizenship or being granted a right to reside in the U.K. permanently under the ILR, automatically ensures the individual is eligible for benefits.
Settled status is also referred to as habitual residence. This opens the door for the availability of benefits as you don’t have to prove that you are exercising EU Treaty Rights.
This may be difficult if the requirements for proving right to reside cannot be fulfilled e.g. you are under-employed or have health conditions, or perhaps no support from family.
As we shall see below, proving the right to reside can become a point of vulnerability for the individual. For those with settled status, the receipt of benefits becomes that much easier.
It is for those with pre-settled status that accessing benefits becomes harder because they are not habitually resident yet and they have to provide another right to reside in the U.K. which makes them more vulnerable and insecure.
With settled status , comes an automatic right to reside, which gives a person access to all benefits.
For a detailed report, you may peruse- Post-Brexit rights: the difference between settled and pre-settled status explained by a lawyer – Europe Street News.
What is the deadline for applying for pre-settled status ?
The deadline for applying for pre-settled status was June 30th, 2021. However, if you can show sufficient reason as to why you were unable to apply, then you can still make a late application to the EUSS.
You must also have arrived in the U.K. by 30th December, 2020.
If you already have pre-settled status, you can apply under late application for settled status.
The deadlines are different for bringing family members into the U.K. For detailed information on this aspect please refer to – Bringing family to live in the UK if you’re from the EU – Citizens Advice.
What are the benefits under the pre-settled status ?
With only pre-settled status , i.e. with no habitual residence or right to reside, you are entitled to:
- DLA ( Disability Living Allowance)
- PIP (Personal Independence Payment )
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
If you have both pre-settled status and another right to reside , you can claim additional benefits such as :
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Child Benefit or Child Tax Credits
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
What if you don’t have both pre-settled status and a right to reside ?
There is currently a court case proceeding that is challenging the government’s contention that another right to reside is mandatory along with the pre-settled status to obtain the additional benefits.
As a consequence, it is possible that any appeals made for benefits without another right to reside would be rejected/overturned , if they were made post January 1st, 2021.
It remains to be seen whether the government’s decision or the court’s ruling will prevail. That will decide the question as to whether you can receive all the additional benefits with only pre-settled status and despite the absence of another right to reside.
However, for now, it is essential that you must prove the basis of another right to reside to avail these benefits, over and above those given to pre-settled status holders.
How do I prove another right to reside ?
There are 2 possible ways to prove another right to reside to obtain benefits –
a) through your work and
b) through your family
Proving right to reside through work :
This can be done through circumstantial evidence of several kinds :
- You are working – you will need to show income statements, payslips, contracts, working hours etc. to gain the right to reside as a working worker.
- You are self-employed – you will need to furnish evidence such as bank statements, advertisements of your services, the registration certificate of self-employment etc.
- If you have recently stopped working and are looking for a job – the best way to retain the residence as worker status would be to register as a ‘job-seeker’ to be entitled for Job-seekers Allowance or Universal Credit benefits.
This registration must be done as soon as possible, else the retention of the status becomes increasingly difficult. This includes maternity concession to retain the right to reside as a worker for upto a year.
- Temporary stoppage of work due to illness or accident/injuries – doctor’s certificates attesting to the illness or the injury and the inability to continue work for a given period must be produced.
It must be emphasized that people with jobs, or who are working will receive more benefits than ‘job-seekers i.e. those out of work and searching for jobs’. ‘Job-seekers’ can obtain Child Benefits in addition to the pre-settled status benefits but nothing more.
Let it also be brought to notice that other than for working and self-employed people, in all the above circumstances, proof is needed to ensure the “retaining worker status”.
Proving Right to Reside though Family
The other way in which an individual can prove their right to reside is through family. There are multiple ways in which to do so . This is known as the ‘derivative right to reside’.
It can be through – parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, civil partners or spouses under the following conditions :
- If any family member has a right to reside, you can also claim the same. However you must be aware that if that member loses their right , you are also at risk of losing it unless your circumstances alter.
The rules in this regard are rather nuanced, so we would encourage you to confer with your local Citizen’s Advice Council and also refer to Check if you have the right to reside for benefits – Citizens Advice.
The rules also vary according to whether your family member is an EU or U.K. citizen. Hence we advise counselling from the local council to get a better idea and this applies to all the below circumstances as well.
If you want to reside with siblings , it is known as ‘extended family member status’, for which you would have had to register for a family permit, residence certificate etc.before 30 December, 2020.
- Another ‘derivative right to reside ‘ is when you are the primary carer (although not necessarily sole carer) of a child below the age of 18, who requires your presence in the U.K. to complete his/her/their education.
This is also applicable in the case of a ‘Zambrano’ carer’ which refers to a non-EU/EEA parent/guardian who is the primary carer of a child who is a U.K. citizen and studying in the country and requires the parents’ presence.
- Divorce or the annulment of any civil partnership means the right to reside is also revoked.
The same revocation applied if in the case of a derivative right to reside, the family member loses his/her/their right to reside, thereby dissolving your extended right therein.
Proving Right to Reside Permanently
Other than applying for settled status, one can also claim the right to reside permanently, in three situations :
- You have resided for more than 5 years in the U.K.-
If you can prove residence for more than 5 years, and have fulfilled the above conditions of work/family, you can claim right of residence even if there are short gaps or changes in status intermittently.e.g. From resident worker to looking for work etc.
- Retirement- If you have spent 3 years in the United Kingdom and retired thereafter, or your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of the U.K. you qualify for the right to reside, even if you haven’t spent 5 years.
- Inability to work due to illness/accident etc. – If you have spent 2 years continuously in the U.K. without any gaps, and have faced an accident at work or an illness for which you can claim compensation, then you have the right to reside in the U.K.
*Kindly note that evidence must be provided for all the years of residence and other requirements.
This blog has attempted to outline the different ways in which a person with pre-settled status can acquire benefits. It has listed what these benefits are and conditions under which they can be claimed. If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, please feel free to contact us and leave a message, We welcome your input.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)- Can you claim benefits with pre- settled status ?
How long will it take for an EU Citizen to be able to claim benefits in the U.K. ?
As explained above, it will require either a pre-settled or settled status to claim benefits.
While a limited set of benefits can be acquired through the pre-settled status immediately upon transition to the U.K., and by meeting a set of requirements to prove their right to reside, access to the entire gamut of benefits will take , in usual cases, upto 5 years.
After 5 years, an individual can apply for settled status, thus allowing him//her/them access to all the benefits others receive. Having only pre-settled status without a right to reside allows for only a limited set of benefits.
Therefore the benefits you receive will vary based on circumstances, requirements and where your situation fits into the larger scheme of status.
For more information please refer to – How can EU nationals access UK benefits? (parliament.uk)
Can I receive benefits like Pension Credit if I have pre-settled status ?
You are eligible to receive Pension Credit if you can establish pre-settled status. However, you need to establish another right to reside as well. Only then will you be able to claim additional benefits such as Pension Credit.
For further information on eligibility kindly follow the instructions in – Check if you can get Pension Credit – Citizens Advice, along with other sources in this blog.
Do benefits on a pre-settled basis include living costs ?
No, the benefits on a purely pre-settled basis without the right to reside do not include living and housing costs. They only provide for a limited set of benefits i.e. Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, and Carer’s Allowance.
The additional benefits such as Universal Credit or Housing Benefits can only be claimed if the right to reside is established. For more information on the available benefits and their restrictions refer to – EEA nationals and family members | NRPF (nrpfnetwork.org.uk).
If I obtain ‘pre-settled status’ will the government automatically upgrade it to ‘settled status’ ?
No, the grant of a pre-settled status does not mean an automatic upgradation to ‘settled’ or permanent/habitual residence status. Just the passage of 5 years post the grant of pre-settled status will not, in and of itself, allow one to claim permanent status.
The application process must be repeated prior to the expiration date of pre-settled status i.e. 5 years, to request settled status.
Before the expiry of your visa, evidence of residence in the U.K. for 5 years must be submitted along with the application to the Home Office, to be considered for settled status.
This evidence is usually automatically checked through the National Insurance Number checks by the Home Office; but in exceptional cases where it has not been checked , you will have to provide other evidence.
Is it possible that I may lose my pre-settled status ?
Yes, in situations where the residence requirement is not met, the pre-settled status may be revoked. One way in which a person may stand to lose their pre-settled status is due to several or long absences or both from the United Kingdom.
For pre-settled status, if a grantee remains outside the U.K. for more than 2 years , this status will automatically be revoked.
In addition, situations which are improbable but still arise now and again could result in revocation.
For example, the provision of false or misleading information, or obfuscation of any criminal activity, or the utilization of marriages or alliances for purposes of gaining status could all lead to rejection of the application or removal of the pre-settled status.
- Check if you have the right to reside for benefits. (n.d.). www.citizensadvice.org.uk. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/claiming-benefits-if-youre-from-the-EU/before-you-apply/check-if-you-have-the-right-to-reside-for-benefits/
- Pre-Settled status. (2020, December 15). London City Hall. https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/communities/european-londoners-hub/pre-settled-status
- Delpero, C. (2019, September 1). Post-Brexit rights: the difference between settled and pre-settled status explained by a lawyer. Europe Street News. https://europestreet.news/post-brexit-rights-the-difference-between-settled-and-pre-settled-status-explained-by-a-lawyer/
- Bringing family to live in the UK if you’re from the EU. (n.d.). Citizens Advice. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/immigration/bringing-family-to-live-in-the-uk-after-brexit/
- Mackley, A. (2019). How can EU nationals access UK benefits? Commonslibrary.parliament.uk. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/how-can-eu-nationals-access-uk-benefits/
- Check if you can get Pension Credit. (n.d.). Www.citizensadvice.org.uk. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/pension-credit/before-you-claim-pension-credit/check-if-you-can-get-pension-credit/
- Zambrano Carers | Housing Rights Information. (n.d.). Www.housing-Rights.info. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.housing-rights.info/zambrano-carers.php#:~:text=A%20%27Zambrano%27%20carer%20is%20a
- Right to reside. (n.d.). GOV.UK. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/right-to-reside
- Settled Status Scheme and benefits – Turn2us. (n.d.). Www.turn2us.org.uk. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Right-to-Reside/Settled-Status-Scheme
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