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Understanding EU residents’ settlement rights

Posted on 16 July 2020

Residents from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. Around 3.3 million people have already been granted either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status and there is plenty of support available. If this applies to you, your family members or your children, it’s a good idea to apply now for settled status, as the process may take some time to complete.

Our Welfare Benefits Adviser, Catherine Ayling explains why it’s so important to be aware of the need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme: “I have been working with a mother and her 20-year-old disabled son who came to the UK from Poland when he was 10. Mum had settled status and was claiming child benefit and all the relevant benefits her son was eligible for, but when he turned 20, her benefits for him as a child stopped. Her son then applied in his own right for Universal Credit (UC), but, because he did not have settled status in the UK, his claim was turned down as he failed the Habitual Residency Test. They appealed, and it took five months to get his UC claim in to payment. Once the appeal was successful Mum helped him to apply for his settled status which has now been awarded.”

Catherine has also worked with a resident with a 12-year-old son and a daughter, aged 17. The family has lived in the UK for 10 years and the mum has been awarded settled status, but she was totally unaware that her children needed to apply for this too. This is extremely important as the 17-year-old is not attending school or college, so once she turns 18, she could end up not being able to claim any benefits, or legally work in the UK if she has not applied for and been granted settled status.

If you would like further advice on settled status, who needs it and how to apply, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) has published help to check your right to reside for housing. And they have also produced helpful information about staying in the UK after Brexit.