Last modified: 12 November 2013
What are 'Public funds'?
‘Public funds’ refers to a specific list in the Immigration Rules
of benefits and other payments as listed below. If you have the immigration
condition, ‘no recourse to public funds’ stamped in your passport or on your Biometric Residence Permit,
it is unlikely that you will be able to receive any of these benefits,
except where there is a temporary disruption of funds (see How to Claim).
From 1 April 2013, the Immigration Rules list ‘public funds’ as:
- Universal Credit
- Personal Independence Payment
- Help with housing from the local authority
- Attendance allowance
- Carers allowance (previously invalid care allowance)
- Child benefit
- Council tax reduction (Note that 'council tax reduction'
is different from being exempt from council tax. If your dwelling is
'exempt' from council tax, or you are 'disregarded' for the purpose of
council tax, then you are not receiving a council tax reduction. See Council tax).
- Domestic rate relief (in Northern Ireland)
- Council tax benefit
- Disability living allowance
- Housing benefit
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- Severe disablement allowance
- Social fund payments
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credit
- State pension credit
Note that the benefits and services listed as ‘public
funds’ above do not include access to the National Health Service,
education, or any education funding (for example, being assessed as a
‘home’ fee-payer or being eligible for student support). If you are
entitled to these, you would not be in breach of your immigration
conditions if you claimed them.
What if I have temporarily run out of money?
If you are on limited leave with a 'no recourse to public funds'
condition, and are experiencing a temporary disruption of funds, you can
claim working tax credit and/or child tax credit for a short period, up to
six weeks. However, you should note that it is only if you meet certain very strict requirements that you will qualify for any money.
See How to Claim.
What if I do receive 'public funds'?
If you receive ‘public funds’ (other than under the 'temporary disruption of funds' exception described above), you may be in breach of your immigration conditions. Breaching an immigration condition is a criminal offence and could lead to serious immigration problems, including removal from the UK and difficulties with getting an extension of leave or being allowed to come back to the UK for a specified period of time.
Some international students are encouraged to apply for benefits by agencies which are not aware that they are in the UK with immigration permission as a student, and that it would be a breach of their immigration conditions to claim the benefit. For example, if a student or their partner has a child whilst in the UK, the midwife or hospital or social work staff may encourage them to apply for Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit by providing the application forms, when in fact the student is not usually permitted to claim these benefits.
This would also apply to anyone else with the ‘No recourse to public funds’ condition stamped in their passport or on their Biometric Residence Permit.