Returned to the UK - no entitlement to help/benefits?

Hi all,
Me and my partner (31yrs) are both British citizens from birth and previously had salary PAYE jobs in England for over 6 years. We then went to Australia for a year followed by Canada for 2 years under working holiday VISAs where we worked a lot of the time.
Having recently returned to the UK we are in the process of searching for work. Does anyone know if we can claim any benefits whilst we search? It seems universal credit isn't available to us as we haven't made NI contributions in the past two years. 
First time poster here, thanks in advance for any help on this.
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  • edited 30 September 2020 at 6:41AM
    poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    edited 30 September 2020 at 6:41AM
    Hi all,
    Me and my partner (31yrs) are both British citizens from birth and previously had salary PAYE jobs in England for over 6 years. We then went to Australia for a year followed by Canada for 2 years under working holiday VISAs where we worked a lot of the time.
    Having recently returned to the UK we are in the process of searching for work. Does anyone know if we can claim any benefits whilst we search? It seems universal credit isn't available to us as we haven't made NI contributions in the past two years. 
    First time poster here, thanks in advance for any help on this.

    You don't need NI contributions to claim UC because it's a means tested benefit. You need to satisfy the habitual residence test (HRT) See link. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/british-and-irish-citizens-claiming-benefits/
    If you have savings/capital of more than £16,000 you'll be excluded from claiming.




  • TELLIT01TELLIT01 Forumite
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    Having paid NI some years ago has no bearing on entitlement to benefit.  As poppy12345 has said you will need to satisfy a number of conditions in order to qualify for income related benefits, one of which is generally being resident in the UK for 3 months minimum, although there are exceptions to that rule.
  • TheShapeTheShape Forumite
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    I'm fairly sure that unless the process has changed recently (in the last couple of weeks) a British Citizen won't have to satisfy a HRT in order to claim UC.  Processes in place during Coronavirus have somewhat streamlined HRT referrals.
  • Alice_HoltAlice_Holt Forumite
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    TheShape said:
    I'm fairly sure that unless the process has changed recently (in the last couple of weeks) a British Citizen won't have to satisfy a HRT in order to claim UC.  
        That's not my understanding.  This is from the Citizens Advice link poppy posted:
       "However, if you've recently returned to the UK after a period living outside of the common travel area, you may have to show that you satisfy the habitual residence test in order to claim certain means-tested benefits...if you've spent three months or more living or working abroad you could find yourself subject to the test when you return to the UK, particularly if you no longer have property or close family in the UK.

    The HRT looks at what ties you already have in the UK and what you are doing to make the UK the centre of your life. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or other benefit agencies will also want to know how much you have cut ties with the country where you were living before. You will be asked a series of questions tailored to your individual circumstances to try and find out this information. You should be ready to give as much evidence and documentation as you can if you are asked these type of questions.

    The DWP, your local authority or HMRC will decide at what point you can be viewed as habitually resident, depending on how long you have been away, why you were abroad, and what ties you kept with the UK during this time."

    I have certainly seen UC apply the HRT to returning British Citizens.  In some cases, the HRT may be formality and means tested benefits can be claimed quickly after return, but my understanding is that the HRT does have to be satisfied to claim UC - even for British Citizens. 


    Could you show a link which confirms your comment, please.
      

    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
  • TheShapeTheShape Forumite
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    You are certainly correct that HRT does normally apply to British Citizens.  
    Sorry, I cannot provide a link.  The best I can say is that a currently streamlined process would, if followed, likely see a British Citizen returning from abroad bypass the need for a HRT.  
    OP would lose nothing by applying now.  The worst that would happen is not being eligible and having to apply again once eligible.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    As far as I am aware the HRT still applies, however there is no blanket “3 months in the U.K.” requirement. The text quoted by Alice in her post explains the test involved. Obviously evidencing the necessary information will inevitably take some time so receipt of any payment is likely to be delayed even if the claim is ultimately approved from day 1.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • TheShapeTheShape Forumite
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    Can't provide a link but I can confirm that a UK national is going to pass the HRT automatically, with no decision maker action required.

    My previous posts are arguably incorrect as an HRT is recorded.  Is a Test that you automatically pass actually a test?

    The process could change at any time and without notice so OP would be best to apply without delay.
  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    TheShape said:
    Can't provide a link but I can confirm that a UK national is going to pass the HRT automatically, with no decision maker action required.

    My previous posts are arguably incorrect as an HRT is recorded.  Is a Test that you automatically pass actually a test?

    The process could change at any time and without notice so OP would be best to apply without delay.
    Whether they pass it   will depend on the answers they give to the questions asked so they do still need to take the test. A decision maker will decide the  result.
  • TheShapeTheShape Forumite
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    sheramber said:
    TheShape said:
    Can't provide a link but I can confirm that a UK national is going to pass the HRT automatically, with no decision maker action required.

    My previous posts are arguably incorrect as an HRT is recorded.  Is a Test that you automatically pass actually a test?

    The process could change at any time and without notice so OP would be best to apply without delay.
    Whether they pass it   will depend on the answers they give to the questions asked so they do still need to take the test. A decision maker will decide the  result.
    Without saying how I know I'll just say that, as of now, they shouldn't be asked any questions at all and no referral to a decision maker will be made.


  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    TheShape said:
    sheramber said:
    TheShape said:
    Can't provide a link but I can confirm that a UK national is going to pass the HRT automatically, with no decision maker action required.

    My previous posts are arguably incorrect as an HRT is recorded.  Is a Test that you automatically pass actually a test?

    The process could change at any time and without notice so OP would be best to apply without delay.
    Whether they pass it   will depend on the answers they give to the questions asked so they do still need to take the test. A decision maker will decide the  result.
    Without saying how I know I'll just say that, as of now, they shouldn't be asked any questions at all and no referral to a decision maker will be made.



    What's the reason why you can't provide a link?
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