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Overview of Public Funds

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

A quick reminder on the definition of "public funds" and what does not fall under this category.

It's important to note that public funds refer to benefits, tax credits, or housing assistance that are provided by the state. During any application process, it will be determined if you have access to public funds. If you do not, your application may be denied. Some common examples of public funds that are not available to those on limited visas include:

  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance

  • Income support

  • Child tax credit

  • Universal credit

  • Working tax credit

  • Social fund payment

  • Child benefit

  • Housing benefit

  • Council tax benefit

  • Council tax reduction

  • Domestic rate relief (Northern Ireland)

  • State pension credit

  • Attendance allowance

  • Severe disablement allowance

  • Personal independence payment

  • Carer's allowance

  • Disability living allowance

  • Local authority homelessness assistance

It's important to note that if you are applying for these types of benefits, you will be required to provide evidence of British or EU citizenship, which you may not have on a visa.

On the other hand, what is NOT considered public funds includes:

  1. Contribution-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA) is a form of welfare benefit provided by the UK government to individuals who are actively seeking employment and have made enough National Insurance contributions. It is based on the individual's contribution history, rather than their current financial situation, meaning that even those with a higher income or savings may still be eligible. Unlike income-based JSA, contribution-based JSA is not means-tested and is not subject to the same restrictions on access to public funds. The allowance is usually paid for up to six months and is usually paid fortnightly.

  2. Incapacity benefit was a form of social security benefit in the United Kingdom which was paid to people who were unable to work due to illness or disability. It was replaced by the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in 2008. Under the IB scheme, claimants were assessed to see if they were capable of undertaking any kind of work and if they were not, they were then placed into one of two groups: the support group or the work-related activity group. Depending on which group they were placed in, they would receive different levels of support and assistance to help them return to work. The benefit was paid weekly and the amount varied depending on the individual's circumstances.

  3. Retirement pension is a regular income that is paid to an individual after they have reached a certain age or have met other eligibility criteria, usually related to their employment history. In the United Kingdom, the basic state pension is a retirement pension that is provided by the government to eligible individuals. To qualify for the state pension, an individual must have made enough National Insurance contributions throughout their working life. The pension is paid weekly or monthly and the amount varies depending on the individual's circumstances. The state pension age is currently 65 for men and women and will increase in the future. Additionally, there are other types of retirement pensions that can be obtained through private or employer-sponsored pension plans.

  4. Widow's benefits and bereavement benefit is a financial support paid to widows and widowers who are over the age f 45 and whose spouse or civil partner died before reaching the state pension age. The amount of the benefit depends on the National Insurance contributions made by the deceased spouse. Bereavement benefit, also known as Bereavement Payment, is a one-off payment made to the spouse or civil partner of a person who has died, regardless of their age. It is designed to help with the immediate expenses that come with a death, such as funeral costs. It is important to note that both of these benefits are taxable and may affect other benefits that the person is receiving or may be entitled to.

  5. Guardian's allowance is financial support provided to individuals in the United Kingdom who are responsible for bringing up a child whose parents have died. This benefit is paid to a person who is legally responsible for the child, such as a guardian, relative, or foster parent. The amount of the allowance depends on the child's age and the number of children being looked after. It is paid on top of any other benefits the person may be receiving and is not affected by other income or savings. The Guardian's Allowance is paid to the person who is responsible for the child and not directly to the child. It is important to note that this benefit is not taxable and does not affect other benefits that the person may be receiving or is entitled to. To apply for Guardian's Allowance, the person must provide proof of the child's relationship to the deceased parent, proof of the child's age and living arrangements, and the death certificate of the child's parents.

  6. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is financial support provided to pregnant women in the United Kingdom who are employed and meet certain eligibility criteria. This benefit is intended to help cover the costs of taking time off work for childbirth and caring for a newborn child. To be eligible for SMP, the woman must have been employed by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirthdays' and must have earned at least £118 per week on average. The woman must also give her employer at least 28 days notice before the start of her maternity leave. SMP is paid by the employer, and the amount of pay is based on the woman's average weekly earnings. It is paid for a maximum of 39 weeks, and is divided into two parts: the first six weeks are paid at 90% of the woman's average weekly earnings, and the remaining 33 weeks are paid at the lower of either 90% of average weekly earnings or £151.20 per week. t is important to note that SMP does not affect other benefits that the woman may be receiving or is entitled to, and it is not taxable. To apply for SMP, the woman must provide proof of her pregnancy and expected week of childbirth to her employer.

  7. 15-30 hours of free childcare refers to a government-funded program that provides free childcare for children aged 3-4 years old. Parents are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks per year, or 30 hours per week for the same period, depending on their eligibility. The aim of this program is to help working parents with the cost of childcare, allowing them to continue working and supporting their families. The program is available to parents who are working or studying, and who meet certain income requirements. Free childcare is provided by approved childcare providers, such as nurseries, pre-schools, childminders, and some school-based childcare. Parents can apply for the program through the government's childcare service website.

We hope this information helps clear up any confusion on what constitutes public funds. Always be honest in your application process and if you have any questions, reach out to the appropriate authorities for clarification."

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