No Right to Claim Public Funds

The 'No Recourse to Public Funds' Rules

If you have ‘limited leave to enter' or 'limited leave to remain in the UK', you may see this on your residence card: ‘no public funds’. This means you cannot claim welfare benefits or access certain public services. If you do, you are committing a criminal offence, which will not help you in any future immigration applications.    

The ‘no public funds’ applies whether you are here on human rights grounds or a route specified in the UK’s Immigration Rules. You cannot access public funds until you are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain after living here continuously and legally for five or ten years.

Almost everyone with ‘limited leave to remain’ cannot claim public funds, for example, those here as the partner, child or parent of a settled person or British citizen. Skilled Workers and students are also included.

Imm Legal Public Funds

What are Public Funds?

In immigration law, public funds are:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Carers allowance
  • Child benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Council tax benefit
  • Council tax reduction
  • Disability living allowance
  • Discretionary support payments by local authorities or devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland which replace the discretionary social fund
  • Housing and homelessness assistance
  • Housing benefit
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Income support
  • Personal independence payment
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Social fund payment
  • State pension credit
  • Universal credit
  • Working tax credit


It is possible to ask the Home Office to grant you access to funds, if you are in the UK on human rights grounds – also known as the Ten Year Route to Settlement - you can do this by applying for a ‘change of conditions’.

You will have to show that:

  • You are destitute or at risk of imminent destitution.
  • There is a child involved and that child’s welfare would be affected if public funds are unavailable.
  • You are facing exceptional financial circumstances relating to your income or expenditure.

There are some exceptions for nationals of Algeria, Croatia, Morocco, San Marino, Tunisia and Turkey in relation to tax credits.  

More women than men make applications to access public funds. Their relationship may have broken down, and they have left the family home with their children. They may have no money at all. Sometimes, illness stops people from working, or they have lost their job. 

What Can You Claim

It is possible to use certain public services and claim some benefits as follows:

  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Guardian’s allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Maternity allowance
  • Retirement pension
  • Statutory maternity pay
  • Statutory sickness pay
  • Widow’s benefit and bereavement benefit
  • Sole occupancy Council Tax reduction
  • NHS
  • State schooling
  • Free School Means
  • Housing provided by a housing association

It is worth considering making a change of conditions application to access public funds if you are in a difficult financial position, particularly if children are involved.

As with all Home Office applications, you will need to provide as much evidence as possible that you cannot manage without public funds.

Please contact our team if you are concerned about any of the issues raised in this article.

  • Sallie was an amazing help and supported us through the full process. It was extremely difficult for us, and she helped make the whole thing very simple and ensured our application was successful. Thank you to Sallie and the team for the work you did tirelessly to help us.
  • For almost a year I had tried to get my wife's spousal visa. Two tries, two fails due to technical reasons. I contacted Immigration Legal Services, and Sallie & Angela took control of my wife's visa application. They were very supportive, told us exactly which documents were needed, and just over a month later, the visa was issued. We can't thank them enough.
  • We couldn't praise Sallie and her team high enough. Extremely professional and acted very fast to meet our deadline. 100% recommended!
    Mr E
  • Always thorough and highly professional throughout the application process for both my children, and I would definitely recommend! They also had a welcome sense of humour when it came to dealing with the bureaucracy involved in the process.
    Mr B
  • Great experience working with Sallie. Professional and understanding! Will work with her again, with no doubt.
    Ms L
  • We have been very impressed with the service we have received over the years of dealing with Angela. She went above and beyond to solve our specialised problem with very pleasing results. We would strongly recommend her work and knowledge in the field. A true professional.
    Mr Aldalis
  • I highly recommend Sallie for her professionalism and lovable, kind approach. I am very happy to get her as my immigration lawyer for processing my kids Visa.
    Shiva K
  • I highly recommend both Angela and Karen. They both have been amazingly helpful throughout the visa application process of my wife. They do truly care for their clients. They look at the case in reasonable time periods and return with any missing information rapidly. Consulting them during this exciting yet stressful process was the best decision that I made. Today my wife got granted the visa just after 5 weeks of her biometric scans.
    Mr Yazici
  • They are so honest and professional . Clear answers and guidance to all my questions 👍👍. Thanks a lot .
    Mr Khalil
  • Just received a decision from the Home office that I would’ve NEVER thought was possible. So happy and over the moon! I would definitely recommend your services to friends & family if required in the future. Huge thanks to Sallie and the team, best immigration solicitor in the business!!
    Mr Bamba
  • Angela Cole is a wonderful, hardworking, honest, kind and reliable Solicitor. Her work is very high standard, very professional and her team is friendly. Me and my husband have no hesitation in recommending Angela Cole's excellent services.
    Ms Small
  • "Simply a team of experienced people who gave us excellent and honest advice. Having now taken an appeal through to a successful conclusion for the (very reasonable) price promised, I have no hesitation in recommending this firm."
    Jon Chrimes - Google Review
  • "The team went an extra mile and fought my case much more and much better than I would have expected. In the end, my case was successful and I cannot thank them enough for all they have done. If I ever need legal help in the future I will definitely use their services again and recommend them for their reasonable prices, supportive advice and first rate legal services."
    ANONYMOUS - Google Review
  • "Excellent people, excellent service. They made the process of bringing my husband to the UK painless. Couldn’t have done it without them, highly recommend!"
    Lindy Pine - Google Review
  • "I am ecstatic, thanks to you all. My life is complete now and anything else is a bonus. Even if it seemed impossible I knew we were going to win this and that is why I never gave up. Thank you for your work, support and encouragement."
    MRS. Last
  • A BIG THANK YOU , for your help in helping me acquire my British settlement and British citizenship application successfully done. Your professionalism and kind warm attitude and nature made this process very easy and stress free. You took all my concerns away. 

    My Lawyer, Sallie Davies, is very knowledgeable and competent and I have implicit trust in her. The fees are also reasonable compared to other law firms. I highly recommend Sallie and her team.
    MRS. H
  • Thanks to Sallie, my wife is finally in the UK after a horrible year and long delays with Home Office. Highly recommended Immigration Legal Services! 
    MR. B
  • Angela Cole and everyone at Immigration Legal Services will work to produce the best outcome for you and, from our experience, they only concern themselves with your goal and not your wallet. Immigration Legal Services' charge was a very good price for all the help and security they provided
    MR. C
  • Despite the high professionalism practiced within the firm, there is always a strong sense of compassion , and care, from both Angela, and lovely Karen, which has really helped to set our minds at ease. Absolutely recommended & Eternally grateful
    Ms. f
  • I would like to thank both of you, Sallie and Karen for your assistance in the way you handled my wife's Spouse Visa Extension to remain here with me in the United Kingdom. We will recommend The Immigration Legal Services here in Ipswich to anybody who wants to apply for a visa to come or remain here in the United Kingdom because the service they provided proved to be most reliable, simple and quick process. Much appreciated Sallie and Karen. Thanking you once again. We will be back again.
  • Excellent service, Sallie is very professional and lovely. Thanks to you what we thought it will be a long and exhausting experience, was so smooth and fast we couldn't believe it. Thank you very much.
    Mrs T
  • We engaged this firm based on a recommendation made by a friend who had used their services before. We required their assistance for my wife's first renewal of her spousal visa. The process was quite painless, they got in touch to collect documents and go over details but most communication was done by email. We received the renewal without any issues.
  • Sallie was the best solicitor I've met for immigration matters. She was straight to the job, focused on the matter and had an excellent transparent work process, a reasonable fee and no hidden charges. She is very helpful, confident and had the best communication. We got our parents' visa in one go! Thank you very much for the excellent job.
Let us help you
Take a look at our services and get in touch with us today for more information.
Contact us today
© 2020 Immigration Legal Services. All rights reserved.

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram