Guidance

Public funds

Published

If you have a residence permit that allows you to live in the UK, it may include the condition that you have no recourse to public funds. If so, it means you will not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that are paid by the state.

However, there are exceptions for some benefits and if you are in any doubt, you should contact the department or agency that issues it. This will often be the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue & Customs.

Public funds include a range of benefits that are given to people on a low income, as well as housing support. These are:

  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • income support
  • child tax credit
  • universal credit
  • working tax credit
  • a social fund payment
  • child benefit
  • housing benefit
  • council tax benefit
  • council tax reduction
  • domestic rate relief (Northern Ireland)
  • state pension credit
  • attendance allowance
  • severe disablement allowance
  • personal independence payment
  • carer’s allowance
  • disability living allowance
  • an allocation of local authority housing
  • local authority homelessness assistance

Public funds do not include benefits that are based on National Insurance contributions. National Insurance is paid in the same way as income tax and is based on earnings. Benefits to which a person is entitled as a result of National Insurance contributions include:

  • contribution-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • incapacity benefit
  • retirement pension
  • widow’s benefit and bereavement benefit
  • guardian’s allowance
  • statutory maternity pay

More detailed information on public funds can be found in the Public funds guidance document.