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Habitual Residence Test

If you are an EEA national and want to claim certain means-tested benefits, you must normally satisfy the conditions of the habitual residence test.

The habitual residence test applies to claims for the following benefits:

  1. Income Support
  2. Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  3. Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  4. Pension Credit
  5. Housing Benefit
  6. Council Tax Reduction
  7. Universal Credit

The habitual residence test will show:

  • whether you have the right to reside in the UK, and
  • whether you are intending to settle in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, or Ireland (the 'Common Travel Area') for the time being.

In addition to passing the habitual residence test, you must still satisfy the normal conditions for the benefit you are claiming.

You can contact THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 or register for Online Advice for advice on how to prove your right to reside and that you are habitually resident.


UK nationals and the habitual residence test

The habitual residence part of the test is also carried out on some UK nationals who have been living or working abroad.

If you are a UK national who has been living or working abroad, you will only have to show that you have become habitually resident as you will automatically have the right to reside.


Immigration control

If you're a non-EEA and non-UK national, you may be subject to immigration control and you cannot normally claim benefits.

Making a claim may affect your right to stay in the UK. Please contact us for further advice on this.


Child Tax Credits, Child Benefit and being ‘ordinarily resident’

The right to reside part of the habitual residence test also applies to Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit, but you do not have to show you are habitually resident to claim these.

Instead you have to show that you are 'ordinarily resident'.

If you have come to the UK since 1 July 2014 and you are not a worker or self-employed, for example, if you are a jobseeker, you need to live in the UK for at least three months before you can claim Child Tax Credits or Child Benefit. However, this rule will not apply to you if you were previously ordinarily resident in the UK and have returned to the UK after an absence of less than one year.

‘Ordinarily resident’ generally means that, apart from temporary or occasional absences, you normally live in the UK. It is possible for someone to be ordinarily resident in the UK from the day that they arrive here.

Contact us for further advice if you want to claim Child Tax Credits or Child Benefit.


Who is exempt from the habitual residence test?

Some people are exempt from the habitual residence part of the test and do not have to show that they are habitually resident.

You may be exempt if you:

  • are a refugee or have been granted discretionary leave or leave under humanitarian rules
  • have been granted leave under a domestic violence concession
  • are not subject to immigration control and have been deported, expelled or removed from another country to the UK
  • are an EEA worker or an EEA self-employed person, or a family member of that person
  • are an EEA national who has worked in the UK but is now unable to work because of incapacity, or involuntary unemployment, or you have retired, or you are the family member of that person.

You are not exempt from the test if you are a jobseeker.


Find out more about habitual residence testing:

 

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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 12/2/2016 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 12/2/2019

Content Author: Gillian Arrindell

Current Owner: Advice

More information:

What is the Habitual Residence Test, Citizens' Advice Bureau

If you don't have the right to reside in the UK, Citizens' Advice Bureau

What to do if you fail the Habitual Residence Test, Citizens' Advice Bureau

Right to reside, Gov.uk