Home > News & events > Universal Credit for EU citizens (don’t wait to claim!)

You don’t need to be a UK citizen to be able to claim Universal Credit. However, the rules about who is entitled can be complicated, and depend on your settlement status and your work history. It’s important to look into your entitlement the moment you lose your job, as any delay might affect your right to claim. 

I have settled status. Can I claim Universal Credit? 

Probably, yes. Your rights are the same as those of a UK citizen… Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit, which means that there are restrictions about the level of income or savings your household can have whilst claiming. If your savings are below £16,000 and you are on a low income however, you should be able to claim. If you are refused Universal Credit and you have settled status, get in touch with our advice service here.

I don’t have settled status but I have lived in the UK for more than 5 years. What can I do? 

If you have been in the UK for over 5 years as a worker, a student, a self-employed person, or a job-seeker registered at the Job Centre, you have permanent right of residence and are entitled to Universal Credit.  

Consider applying for settled status to secure your residence rights in the UK. 

I have pre-settled status. Can I claim Universal Credit? 

It depends. Your right to claim Universal Credit depends on your work history. See below for more information. 

I just lost my job. What do I do? 

If you used to have a job, but you were made involuntarily unemployed, you can claim Universal Credit as a ‘retained worker’. But you need to register as a job seeker ‘without undue delay’. To register as a Job Seeker, you need to claim Universal Credit or New Style Job-Seeker’s Allowance. 

It’s very important to claim as soon as you lose your job. Any delay might make you lose your entitlement, as it could count as ‘undue delay’. Do not wait more than a few days to claim. 

I work, but I don’t make enough. Can I claim Universal Credit? 

If you are a worker or self-employed, you can claim Universal Credit. How much you will receive depends on your earnings: 63% of what you earn will be deducted from your Universal Credit. 

I’m pregnant and can’t work. Can I claim Universal Credit? 

If you are on maternity leave, you still count as a worker and you can claim Universal Credit. 

If you had to stop working due to the physical limits of the late stages of pregnancy or childbirth, you can retain your worker status for a ‘reasonable period’ after giving birth. This is usually 52 weeks, and the period usually starts 11 weeks before the baby’s due date. 

My child goes to school in the UK. Can I claim Universal Credit? 

If you used to be a worker in the UK, and your child goes to school here, you may be entitled to Universal Credit.  

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