Ukrainian refugees given ‘immediate’ access to welfare benefits

They would have been subject to the Habitual Residence Test, requiring them to wait up to three months.

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The Department of Work and Pensions is establishing emergency regulations today (Monday, 21 March 2022) so that anyone entering the United Kingdom from Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion will have “immediate” access to Universal Credit and employment help.

Housing Benefit, Pension Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Child Disability Living Allowance and Carers Allowance, and Attendance Allowance will also be available to Ukrainians.

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Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) based on contributions are also available to eligible Ukrainians.

Translation services will be made available to assist new arrivals with phone applications, and Work Coaches are provided at DWP Jobcentres to assist those filing claims online.

The DWP provides further face-to-face help to people in need, including specialised job-search assistance and guidance on benefit eligibility.

Without the emergency legislation, individuals coming from Ukraine would be subject to the Habitual Residence Test, requiring them to wait up to three months before receiving income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit.

Commenting, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey said: “My priority is that people fleeing the unimaginable horrors in Ukraine to seek safety here get the support and help they need from day one to move forward in their lives immediately.”

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Lucy Frazer 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.”

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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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