Children with ‘no recourse to public funds’ — should I claim benefits for them?

Sometimes benefits rules allow you to claim for a child, but that child has an immigration condition of ‘no public funds’ or has no permission to stay at all. John Donkersley looks at when this can occur and the risks to their immigration status from a claim.


Many advisers worry about advising on benefits where a client or their dependent is subject to immigration control. If there is a condition attached to their permission to stay of ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF), the concern doubles.

There are some circumstances where benefits regulations allow a claim for a benefit or an extra allowance for the needs of a child with NRPF. The claimant in these circumstances will have to be an adult who does not themself have NRPF. This will often be a British or settled parent or step-parent. So there won’t be a problem for the adult claimant, but what about for the child and their immigration status?

The anxiety over such advice is worse because benefits advisers are often told — and in turn will tell their clients — to ‘get immigration advice’. They then find there’s a shortage of immigration advice locally. Or it’s not affordable. Or the immigration adviser is also uncertain of the consequences.

Too long, didn’t read!

The key takeaways from this article are:

  • A child with NRPF is unlikely to suffer consequences in criminal law, deportation or cancellation of their current leave for a breach of their NRPF condition unless they claim disability living allowance
  • Lawfully claiming benefits for the needs of a child is relevant mainly to whether they can meet the financial requirement for their next extension of leave, and immigration advice may be needed for the client to make an informed choice on this
  • Only additional public funds above what the sponsor would receive without their child, or inadequate support, can cause a visa application to fail for reasons related to public funds
  • A claimant can’t exclude Universal Credit allowances for children for whom they are responsible, in order to avoid claiming public funds for them
  • Benefits advisers can support immigration advice by sharing benefits calculations with immigration advisers, including whether a dependent on a visa with NRPF can be adequately supported by non-benefits funds, above income support rates.

We’ll first look at which benefits might be claimed the needs of a child with NRPF — or a child without any permission to stay — and then go on to look at the immigration consequences of a claim. I’ll be restricting myself to the consequences for a child already in the UK, and not the effect on an entry clearance application for a child outside the UK.

Children with ‘no recourse to public funds’ — should I claim benefits for them? | by John Donkersley | Adviser online | Jul, 2023 | Medium

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