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21 March, 2022 Open access

Emergency regulations laid to enable immediate benefit support for those fleeing the invasion in Ukraine

Regulations add to the categories of those exempt from the habitual residence and past presence tests for claims for specified benefits including universal credit and personal independence payment

The DWP has laid emergency regulations to enable those arriving in the UK from Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion to access universal credit and other means-tested and disability benefits immediately.

Further to the launch of the government's Homes for Ukraine scheme last week to support people arriving in the UK having fled the conflict, the Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.344/2022), that come into force on 22 March 2022, add those who have left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022, and who were residing in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022, to the categories of persons who are exempted from having to satisfy the habitual residence test and past presence test.

In relation to the habitual residence test, the new regulations provide for amendment of the rules for benefits that include universal credit, pension credit and housing benefit, and in relation to the past presence test to the rules for personal independence payment, child disability living allowance, carer's allowance, and attendance allowance.

The explanatory memorandum to the regulations adds that -

'An amendment is also made in the listed income-related benefits, to the existing list of persons exempted from having to satisfy the habitual residence test, to make clear that all those granted types of leave outside the Immigration Rules are exempted from the habitual residence test requirement for the listed benefits.

A further amendment is made in the listed disability and carer benefits to make it clear that persons with refugee status or humanitarian protection under the immigration rules, and those granted leave as a dependant of these persons, are also exempted from the habitual residence test requirement for the listed disability and carer benefits.'

In addition, the government has confirmed other support measures it is putting in place to support Ukrainian benefit claimants, including -

Confirming the new measures today in a written statement on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey said -

'Ukrainian evacuees coming to this country are able to access DWP benefits, support and services from day one, and Jobcentres will be helping people to find and move into employment, with assistance from an assigned Work Coach, and extra support available through our Flexible Support Fund.

We are also ensuring that those who have stepped up to sponsor a Ukrainian individual or family do not see their household benefit entitlements affected as a result.'

For more information, see Immediate benefit support for those fleeing the invasion in Ukraine from gov.uk

Update (29 March 2022) - in a written statement today, Home Office Minister Kevin Foster confirmed that the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme are being formally brought into the Immigration Rules.