Refugees from Ukraine to get immediate benefit support, minister says

The Department for Work and Pensions is laying emergency regulations on Monday so those fleeing Russian invasion can get support from day one

21 March 2022

People fleeing from the Russian invasion of Ukraine who come to the UK will be able to claim benefits immediately under new emergency rules.

Without the emergency regulations which are being laid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Monday, the refugees would face a process involving passing a habitual residence test and a wait of up to three months before being able to receive income-related benefits such as Universal Credit.

The newly-arrived Ukrainians will now be able to access Universal Credit and jobs support immediately, according to the DWP.

The regulations will exempt those arriving from Ukraine from the habitual residence test, meaning they can access Universal Credit, housing benefit, state pension credit and disability and carer benefits from day one.

Universal Credit
The Department for Work and Pensions is laying emergency regulations  so those arriving in the UK from Ukraine   can access Universal Credit and jobs support immediately (Yui Mok/PA)

They will also be eligible for personal independence payment, child disability living allowance and carers allowance and attendance allowance.

Contributions-based employment and support allowance along with jobseekers allowance will also be available for those Ukrainians who meet the criteria, the DWP said.

Under normal circumstances, people moving from abroad would have to pass the past presence test (PPT) before they can access disability and carer benefits such as personal independence payment, child disability living allowance, attendance allowance, and carer’s allowance.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey said people “fleeing the unimaginable horrors in Ukraine to seek safety here” should get the support and help they need “from day one to move forward in their lives immediately”.

Translation services are being set up to help new arrivals with phone applications while DWP jobcentres will have people to help the refugees with online claims.

The DWP said additional face-to-face assistance, including tailored support to find work and advice on benefit eligibility, is being provided by its staff to those who need it.

Lucy Frazer, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury,  said: “It is vital that families coming from Ukraine can support their children from the moment they arrive, and by adjusting child benefit rules and ramping up our support, the tax system is pivoting to ensure this happens.”

Salvation Army refugee response co-ordinator Major Nick Coke said: “We welcome the news that Ukrainians coming to the UK will be able to access benefits immediately and for those who are able, help to find suitable work.

“With offices on the ground in Ukraine and the border countries providing emergency food and shelter, The Salvation Army sees first-hand the trauma those displaced by war have experienced. It is fitting that they receive targeted help when seeking refuge in the UK.”

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