No recourse to public funds (NRPF)

Introduction

Unfortunately, many (but not all) migrant families and adults in the UK have ‘no recourse to public funds’ (or NRPF) due to their legal status. This means they are unable to access most state benefits which are classed as ‘public funds’, including benefits such as Universal Credit, tax credits or housing assistance. Here is a full government list of the types of ‘public funds’ that someone with NRPF can’t access Public funds – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Devon County Council is committed to providing support for people with NRPF by  increasing knowledge, information sharing and improving practices within all services, and coordinating with partners with knowledge and experience of NRPF to roll out a fully funded training to targeted workers in May 2024.

The information and signposting below is intended to help people with NRPF, or those working to support them.

Contents:

  1. Check if you have access to public funds
  2. General support for people with NRPF
  3. Support for children
  4. Support for survivors of domestic violence or abuse
  5. Challenge your NRPF condition, or apply to access benefits in times of hardship.
  6. Asylum support.

1. Check if you have access to public funds

The asylum and immigration systems in the UK are complicated, so it can be very difficult to understand what exact rights and benefits you have under your particular scheme. So as a first step, you should check if you can access “public funds”, which you can do using this information from Citizens Advice 

2. General support for people with NRPF

If you are have NRPF, this can obviously be a very difficult situation since you cannot access the welfare safety net in times of crisis or hardship. However, there may still be some support available to you and your family.

NRPF Network

The NRPF Network can offer some  and guidance for NRPF or practitioners supporting them. It provides information on benefits you can still receive even if you are NRPF.

Additionally, you can use this web tool to find out what options are available for migrant NRPF families needing housing and financial support.

The NRPF Network also offers:

  1. Expert Training for councils on supporting people with no recourse to public funds and good practice in delivering services.
  2. Practice Guidance for council officers working with people with NRPF who are  destitute or at risk of homelessness
  3. Information and resources on rights and entitlements, in particular how immigration status impacts on a person’s entitlement to services and support options for people with NRPF

Right to Remain

Right to Remain works with communities, groups and organisations across the UK to provide information, resources, training and assistance to help people to establish their right to remain.

Particularly useful is the Right to Remain Toolkit which is a practical guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It’s free and publicly accessible and offers detailed and clear advice and guidance on:

  • legal rights and support
  • lawyers and legal advice
  • evidence requirements
  • destitution and housing
  • work exploitation and migrant workers’ rights
  • modern slavery and human trafficking
  • migrants affected by domestic abuse

Their website also contains specific guides for all aspects of the asylum and immigration systems in the UK.

3. Support for children

If you’re under 18 and have no family in the UK, social services must help you.

If you’re a family with children, social services may help you with money for things like:

  • rent
  • food
  • travel to work or school

They can also refer you to a food bank or other charities.

The help social services give to families with children is sometimes called section 17 support. The charity “Project 17” has a guide to support for families with NRPF which includes education, NHS care, legal aid, child maintenance, nursery, free school meals, support for pregnant people and more.

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You could get free legal help if social services will not help.

Call Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345.

4. Support for survivors of domestic violence or abuse

If you are a survivor of domestic violence or abuse with NRPF,  the Home Office will let you claim benefits for 3 months if:

  • you have no money to support yourself
  • you came to the UK to be with your partner
  • your partner is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain
  • your relationship has broken down because of domestic abuse

Get immigration advice before you contact the Home Office.

Find specialist immigration advice through:

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Your advisor could help you to complete a form on GOV.UK

Some refuges for women experience abuse have spaces available for those who cannot get benefits because of immigration conditions.

5. Challenge your NRPF condition, or apply to access benefits in times of hardship

If the above guidance does not help, you may want to challenge your NRPF condition if you cannot afford things like food and housing for you and your child, or seek temporary relief from the condition if you are in crisis.

As part of their specialist immigration advice, Citizens Advice may be able to provide advice on using public services and accessing benefits.

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Additionally, the Unity Project provide appointments and workshops for people with NRPF to help them make Change of Conditions applications for recourse to public funds, meaning that people can access benefits and welfare in times of crisis or hardship.

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However, if your problem is complicated, we recommend you get immigration advice from a certified immigration adviser.

6. Asylum support

You can apply for asylum support if you have:

  • made an asylum claim in the UK
  • no money or nowhere to stay while the Home Office looks at your asylum application

You can get £45 a week for each person in your family. This is for food, toiletries and essential travel. You can get extra weekly payments if you’re pregnant or have a child under 3. You can also apply for a one-off maternity payment of £300 if you have a baby due in 8 weeks or have a baby under 6 weeks.

Migrant Help are a charity who can help you apply for asylum support. Call Migrant Help on 0808 8010 503.

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Their free asylum helpline is open 24 hours a day. They also have a webchat service. You can ask for an interpreter if you need one. Keep trying if you do not get through first time.

Other support available:

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