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Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Old Jul 29th 2007, 8:50 am
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Default Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Hi all,

Hoping someone can help me navigate the British benefits system.

I have a close friend who lives in Kenya. He's 63 years old, a British citizen, and has lived in the UK for a total of 10 years between 1964 and 1990. For most of this time he was studying (thus very few NI contributions). He has a wife and 16 year old son who is due to start A-Levels next year - they are both naturalized British citizens too.

Unfortunately, he's fallen on hard times at work and the Kenyan government is about to revoke his business visa at the end of 2007. Due to this he has to return to the UK since he would have no residency status in Kenya. I wonder if anyone can help me understand what benefits he would be eligible to apply for once in the UK? I know there are various things like child benefits and possibly even pension benefits, but I can't seem to figure out what is relevant to his situation.

Once in the UK, he would be able to earn a small income through freelance contracting work for his business associates (around 500 pounds a month), but this would be much less than what he would need to support his family. He doesn't have enough funds saved to take him much further than a year of expenses. Any guidance / advice would be MUCH appreciated.

Thanks
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 9:54 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Bongolander
Hi all,

Hoping someone can help me navigate the British benefits system.

I have a close friend who lives in Kenya. He's 63 years old, a British citizen, and has lived in the UK for a total of 10 years between 1964 and 1990. For most of this time he was studying (thus very few NI contributions). He has a wife and 16 year old son who is due to start A-Levels next year - they are both naturalized British citizens too.

Unfortunately, he's fallen on hard times at work and the Kenyan government is about to revoke his business visa at the end of 2007. Due to this he has to return to the UK since he would have no residency status in Kenya. I wonder if anyone can help me understand what benefits he would be eligible to apply for once in the UK? I know there are various things like child benefits and possibly even pension benefits, but I can't seem to figure out what is relevant to his situation.

Once in the UK, he would be able to earn a small income through freelance contracting work for his business associates (around 500 pounds a month), but this would be much less than what he would need to support his family. He doesn't have enough funds saved to take him much further than a year of expenses. Any guidance / advice would be MUCH appreciated.

Thanks
Think it will depend on how much surplus money he declares , but he should be able to get ;

Free or subsidised Housing
Child allowance
Free Rates
Free Healthcare
and a host of other benefits , in short he will want for nothing . he will most likely wish he had come back years ago ..

With retirememnt age approaching he has timed it very well .. so tell him not to worry
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 11:54 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Thanks for your comments Pete. I spent some time perusing the direct.gov.uk site, and they seem to be confirming that he would be eligible for:

1. Pension credit, since his family income would be less than 180 pounds a week
2. Housing Benefits, since he is entitled to a Pension credit
3. Child Benefits - roughly 18 pounds a week
4. Free healthcare

Not sure what you mean by free rates though?

However, there are some clauses that must be met before he can claim some of these benefits. For one, he must demonstrate that he is habitually resident. I visited dwp.gov.uk and it looks like people are treated as habitually resident if they have exceptional leave to enter and remain in GB or they have been deported to the UK. Since he is returning due to a residence permit being revoked, I think he would qualify under one of these two definition - does anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 2:41 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Bongolander
Thanks for your comments Pete. I spent some time perusing the direct.gov.uk site, and they seem to be confirming that he would be eligible for:

1. Pension credit, since his family income would be less than 180 pounds a week
2. Housing Benefits, since he is entitled to a Pension credit
3. Child Benefits - roughly 18 pounds a week
4. Free healthcare

Not sure what you mean by free rates though?

However, there are some clauses that must be met before he can claim some of these benefits. For one, he must demonstrate that he is habitually resident. I visited dwp.gov.uk and it looks like people are treated as habitually resident if they have exceptional leave to enter and remain in GB or they have been deported to the UK. Since he is returning due to a residence permit being revoked, I think he would qualify under one of these two definition - does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Do a search for posts by honeymommy who moved back to the UK a couple of years ago with limited finances. A mess up with her and families US visas meant they had no choice and had to return to the UK. She very kindly shared her experiences of the UK benefit system and you may find some helpful info in her posts. You may also find this web page has some information regarding the HRT.
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 9:03 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Bongolander
Thanks for your comments Pete. I spent some time perusing the direct.gov.uk site, and they seem to be confirming that he would be eligible for:

1. Pension credit, since his family income would be less than 180 pounds a week
2. Housing Benefits, since he is entitled to a Pension credit
3. Child Benefits - roughly 18 pounds a week
4. Free healthcare

Not sure what you mean by free rates though?

However, there are some clauses that must be met before he can claim some of these benefits. For one, he must demonstrate that he is habitually resident. I visited dwp.gov.uk and it looks like people are treated as habitually resident if they have exceptional leave to enter and remain in GB or they have been deported to the UK. Since he is returning due to a residence permit being revoked, I think he would qualify under one of these two definition - does anyone have any thoughts on this?
I told you so
If your on Housing Benefits They also will pay your Council Tax ie; rates .. thats what rates used to be called years ago..

Told you he would be looked after

Just make sure he dont work and earn to much
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 10:44 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Sue
Do a search for posts by honeymommy who moved back to the UK a couple of years ago with limited finances. A mess up with her and families US visas meant they had no choice and had to return to the UK. She very kindly shared her experiences of the UK benefit system and you may find some helpful info in her posts. You may also find this web page has some information regarding the HRT.
Sue,

Thanks for your input - I can't seem to find any posts by honeymommy though. Did she have a hard time passing the HRT? I'd like to get a sense for the real experience with the benefits office - it's great that they have a good website, but do they give people a hard time?

I'm also a bit curious about the cost of living. In theory, the housing benefit would pay for most of the rent if the claimant can demonstrate true need. However, what kind of "rent" is a reasonable amount, as deemed by the local council? Would they be expected to live in a rundown neighborhood just to claim the benefit? Or could an agreement be made where they pay part of the rent, and the council pays the other part. They seem to be purposefully vague on this issue.
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 11:47 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Bongolander
Sue,

Thanks for your input - I can't seem to find any posts by honeymommy though. Did she have a hard time passing the HRT? I'd like to get a sense for the real experience with the benefits office - it's great that they have a good website, but do they give people a hard time?

I'm also a bit curious about the cost of living. In theory, the housing benefit would pay for most of the rent if the claimant can demonstrate true need. However, what kind of "rent" is a reasonable amount, as deemed by the local council? Would they be expected to live in a rundown neighborhood just to claim the benefit? Or could an agreement be made where they pay part of the rent, and the council pays the other part. They seem to be purposefully vague on this issue.
Go to the search function in the top menu bar and you can search for her (or any members) posts.
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Old Jul 31st 2007, 8:34 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Bongolander
Sue,

Thanks for your input - I can't seem to find any posts by honeymommy though. Did she have a hard time passing the HRT? I'd like to get a sense for the real experience with the benefits office - it's great that they have a good website, but do they give people a hard time?

I'm also a bit curious about the cost of living. In theory, the housing benefit would pay for most of the rent if the claimant can demonstrate true need. However, what kind of "rent" is a reasonable amount, as deemed by the local council? Would they be expected to live in a rundown neighborhood just to claim the benefit? Or could an agreement be made where they pay part of the rent, and the council pays the other part. They seem to be purposefully vague on this issue.
Hi again , yes they do a bit and bit ,not sure what it is now days but several years back the figure was £ 85 for a single person ,,
so if you had a rent of say £ 100 then the maximum then was £ 85 and you would need to find the £ 15 . BUT like i say that figure may have changed , but remember each case stands on its own merits ie; If you was say handicapped and needed to have the bungalow with the gentle sloped path etc etc, then flexibility is allowed ..ie ; the true need bit .

Hope this helps
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Old Aug 1st 2007, 4:49 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Sue
Go to the search function in the top menu bar and you can search for her (or any members) posts.
Thanks Sue.

I stumbled across additional posts by Englishmum and Honeymommy that were enlightening. However, it seems like this HRT is purposefully vague, so it is tough to figure out what the real deal is and how best to set oneself up to pass.

I would like to think that if they can survive off their savings for the first 6-12 months, enroll their child in school and maybe even find some work...that would help them pass the HRT. Additionally, they have good reasons for leaving the UK (he lost his job and was denied unemployment benefits due to too little NI contributions) and coming back (visa revokation) so I think that would make a fairly tight case. I'm thinking about placing a call to the Citizen's Advice Bureau on their behalf - hopefully I may get a straight answer there and / or examples of precedent cases.
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Old Aug 1st 2007, 9:02 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Bongolander
Hi all,

Hoping someone can help me navigate the British benefits system.

I have a close friend who lives in Kenya. He's 63 years old, a British citizen, and has lived in the UK for a total of 10 years between 1964 and 1990. For most of this time he was studying (thus very few NI contributions). He has a wife and 16 year old son who is due to start A-Levels next year - they are both naturalized British citizens too.

Unfortunately, he's fallen on hard times at work and the Kenyan government is about to revoke his business visa at the end of 2007. Due to this he has to return to the UK since he would have no residency status in Kenya. I wonder if anyone can help me understand what benefits he would be eligible to apply for once in the UK? I know there are various things like child benefits and possibly even pension benefits, but I can't seem to figure out what is relevant to his situation.

Once in the UK, he would be able to earn a small income through freelance contracting work for his business associates (around 500 pounds a month), but this would be much less than what he would need to support his family. He doesn't have enough funds saved to take him much further than a year of expenses. Any guidance / advice would be MUCH appreciated.

Thanks

Hello. Thanks for the PM. I will help if I can...

Here's what happened to us... Visa mess = return to the UK. Very little money. Benefits office very unhelpful, had to wait 8 weeks for HRT confirmation. Have to prove residency with housing rental agreement, Register with GP (which was very hard), loads of questions.. We had no option but to rent and use up all our money. They would only accept 6months rent in advance, housing office classed us as housed even though we had 2 kids sleeping in grandparents summer house (like a wood shed), 2 kids on the sofa at thier aunts and hubby and I on a single bed at grandparents.... We were very lucky as hubby was offered a job within a week of returning to the UK.. The first couple of months were a nightmare.

As far as what a person will get in benefit... It varies... It will depend on any finances a person has. Their ability to afford housing. Any earnings, saving, shares etc. There is no help till you actually arrive in the UK, Then you have to make an appointment at the benefits office before anything else.. If homeless, then contact social services, especially if children involved, but don't expect too much as housing is very short. Could be bed and breakfast for a while unless you can afford to rent. Doctors:- GP's can insist you go as a private patient for 6 months unless you are returning for Europe, as can dentists. Schools:- For 6th form I am not sure, but contact the LEA as soon as you have proof of residency with a permanant address e.g. lease agreement. College and university may charge as not resident for 3 years. They have international fees. As far as claiming unemployment benefit, council tax, housing benifit etc, that will depend on circumstances. Child benefit is payable to age 18 as long as in full time education.

Oh one big thing... For HRT you have to prove you did not make yourself intentionally homeless... We had no choice we had to leave, but we had to show proof with immigration papers.

NOW... Having said that..... It is hard, degrading but necessary... Some office people were downright rude, some were stoic... We just had to stay strong and put our point across for the sake of our family...

It may not work out like that for your friend. Things may be easier or harder.. It will depend on which town they go to and how the office people recieve them...They just need to make sure they have paperwork ready and show they are trying to find employment. You say your friend is 65... Not sure about benefits due to age though, as thats retirement age here. If there's a wife and only a 16 yr old son, she will be expected to look for work also depending on age.

One thing.... Any hiding of assets that are found out... They will get nothing... Better to just tell the truth...

I hope this hasn't sounded to scary... I am not going to make it sound all lovely and smooth sailing because it isn't... It's dam horid and uncomfortable... BUT... It's temporary...

Had to keep reminding ourselves this is temporary.

It's 3 years on for us... life is better, kids are happy, We have a roof over our heads and food in the cupboard. And best of all a lot of love.

I feel for your friend having to go through this.. Love, hope and prayers, plus reminder it is temporary... Life will get better in time.


Best wishes.
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Old Aug 1st 2007, 4:48 pm
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by honeymommy
Doctors:- GP's can insist you go as a private patient for 6 months unless you are returning for Europe, as can dentists.
Not legally, they can't.
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Old Aug 1st 2007, 5:01 pm
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by honeymommy
It's 3 years on for us... life is better, kids are happy, We have a roof over our heads and food in the cupboard. And best of all a lot of love.
.
Three years ..your kidding... I thought your prob
was about a year ago ....
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Old Aug 1st 2007, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by JAJ
Not legally, they can't.

Sorry JAJ... I wasn't clear in my post

I meant to say you have to prove you will be perminant resident to get free NHS treatment if coming from certain countries.

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Policyandgui...able/DH_074376

A GP surgery can ask you to register as private until perminant residency proof is shown, then refunds will be given if charged. This is overcome by contacting the PCT usually.

Emergency treatment is free, but if you are kept in hospital most will contact their overseas business manager to see you if you have not lived in the UK for 6 months. Once eligibility for free NHS treatment is confirmed there there is no fee.

We had a terrible time registering with a GP. I had to contact the PCT before we were able to register for free NHS treatment. Here I am 3 yrs later a nurse asking people how long they have been resident and referring cases to the overseas business manager... lol.
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Old Aug 2nd 2007, 1:37 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by honeymommy
Hello. Thanks for the PM. I will help if I can...

Here's what happened to us... Visa mess = return to the UK. Very little money. Benefits office very unhelpful, had to wait 8 weeks for HRT confirmation. Have to prove residency with housing rental agreement, Register with GP (which was very hard), loads of questions.. We had no option but to rent and use up all our money. They would only accept 6months rent in advance, housing office classed us as housed even though we had 2 kids sleeping in grandparents summer house (like a wood shed), 2 kids on the sofa at thier aunts and hubby and I on a single bed at grandparents.... We were very lucky as hubby was offered a job within a week of returning to the UK.. The first couple of months were a nightmare.

As far as what a person will get in benefit... It varies... It will depend on any finances a person has. Their ability to afford housing. Any earnings, saving, shares etc. There is no help till you actually arrive in the UK, Then you have to make an appointment at the benefits office before anything else.. If homeless, then contact social services, especially if children involved, but don't expect too much as housing is very short. Could be bed and breakfast for a while unless you can afford to rent. Doctors:- GP's can insist you go as a private patient for 6 months unless you are returning for Europe, as can dentists. Schools:- For 6th form I am not sure, but contact the LEA as soon as you have proof of residency with a permanant address e.g. lease agreement. College and university may charge as not resident for 3 years. They have international fees. As far as claiming unemployment benefit, council tax, housing benifit etc, that will depend on circumstances. Child benefit is payable to age 18 as long as in full time education.

Oh one big thing... For HRT you have to prove you did not make yourself intentionally homeless... We had no choice we had to leave, but we had to show proof with immigration papers.

NOW... Having said that..... It is hard, degrading but necessary... Some office people were downright rude, some were stoic... We just had to stay strong and put our point across for the sake of our family...

It may not work out like that for your friend. Things may be easier or harder.. It will depend on which town they go to and how the office people recieve them...They just need to make sure they have paperwork ready and show they are trying to find employment. You say your friend is 65... Not sure about benefits due to age though, as thats retirement age here. If there's a wife and only a 16 yr old son, she will be expected to look for work also depending on age.

One thing.... Any hiding of assets that are found out... They will get nothing... Better to just tell the truth...

I hope this hasn't sounded to scary... I am not going to make it sound all lovely and smooth sailing because it isn't... It's dam horid and uncomfortable... BUT... It's temporary...

Had to keep reminding ourselves this is temporary.

It's 3 years on for us... life is better, kids are happy, We have a roof over our heads and food in the cupboard. And best of all a lot of love.

I feel for your friend having to go through this.. Love, hope and prayers, plus reminder it is temporary... Life will get better in time.


Best wishes.
Thanks HM - this is very helpful. I guess he may have to go over there and live off his savings for a few months, enroll his child in school, find a place to rent before he passes the HRT. His wife is a teacher, but I'm not sure whether her degrees / certifications will be recognized in the UK. Will investigate that further.
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Old Aug 2nd 2007, 9:12 am
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Default Re: Any Information on Claiming Benefits?

Originally Posted by Bongolander
Thanks HM - this is very helpful. I guess he may have to go over there and live off his savings for a few months, enroll his child in school, find a place to rent before he passes the HRT. His wife is a teacher, but I'm not sure whether her degrees / certifications will be recognized in the UK. Will investigate that further.
Not necessarily.... HRT.. He needs to show intent to stay, such as a rental agreement/permanant residence. With an address he can register with a GP, get his child in school This can be done within a week or so. (We took 2 weeks, but had the appointment within a week)...The benefit entitlements may be a problem if he has savings, but this doesn't mean he will not get anything.

Best to go through the process and see what they say.
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