Help for refugees and asylum seekers to understand their rights
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Money

We know that most refugees and asylum seekers wish to work. There are sometimes reasons why this is not possible. This may be because you do not have the right to work in the United Kingdom. It may be because you do not yet understand local languages well enough to get a job. During this period, you and your family will still need money to pay for living costs.

This section of the website explains where you may be able to access funds for support.

Money may be available through UK Government asylum support in some circumstances. Refugees may be able to access welfare benefits. There are also other funding sources available if needed.

Accordion
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Adults seeking asylum – awaiting a decision
Body

If you are waiting for a decision on your asylum application, you are unlikely to have the right to work. You will also be unable to access welfare benefits, such as ‘Universal Credit’. However, you may be entitled to asylum support which is also known as ‘Section 95’ support.

Section 95 support currently provides £37.75 per person each week. This money will be available by using an ‘ASPEN’ card, which is a form of debit card. This card can be used in a cash machine to withdraw cash. This money is provided to pay for items like food, clothing and toiletries. The UK Government will provide you with accommodation if you not have a place to live or enough money  to buy essential items. 

Pregnant

If you are pregnant or have a child under 3 years of age, you may get extra money. If your baby is due in 8 weeks or less, or if your baby is under 6 weeks old, you can apply for £300. More information about financial support for asylum seekers can be found on the UK Government website.

Discretionary Assistance Fund

The Welsh Government operates a fund to support those who are destitute called the ‘Discretionary Assistance Fund’. You may be able to access some funds if you are destitute and you apply through a refugee support organisation. You may be able to Find Help from a local refugee and asylum seeker support organisation.

Free school meals

Asylum seekers can also access support for costs related to children being in school. Free school meals are available to most asylum seekers awaiting a decision. You must apply to your Local Authority for this funding to be provided. Find out more on the Your Local Area page.

If you receive free school meals for your child, you can also access up to an additional £125. You can use this to buy school uniform, equipment or a sports kit. This can also be used to pay for activities outside of school through the Welsh Government’s Pupil Development Grant. You must apply for this funding through your local authority and more details can be found on the Welsh Government website.

More information about costs relating to education after the age of 16 can be found on the Education for All Ages section of this website.

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Young asylum seekers
Body

If you are assessed to be under 18 years of age, you should be supported by your local authority. Your local authority should help you to make sure you can access the funds you need. 

If you are assessed to be over 18 years of age, you are unlikely to have the right to work. You will also be unable to access welfare benefits, such as ‘Universal Credit’. However, you may be entitled to asylum support which is also known as ‘Section 95’ support.

Section 95 support currently provides £37.75 per person each week. The UK Government will provide you with accommodation if you do not have a place to live or enough to buy essential items. This money will be available by using an ‘ASPEN’ card, which is a form of debit card. This card can be used in a cash machine to withdraw cash. This money is provided to pay for items like food, clothing and toiletries.

Pregnant

If you are pregnant or have a child under 3 years of age, you may get extra money. If your baby is due in 8 weeks or less, or if your baby is under 6 weeks old, you can apply for £300. More information about financial support for asylum seekers can be found on the UK Government website.

Discretionary Assistance Fund

The Welsh Government has a fund to support those who are destitute called the ‘Discretionary Assistance Fund’. You may be able to access some funds if you are destitute and you apply through a refugee support organisation. You may be able to Find Help from a local refugee and asylum seeker support organisation.

Free School Meals

Asylum seekers can also access support for costs related to children being in school. Free school meals are available to most asylum seekers awaiting a decision. You must apply to your Local Authority for this funding to be provided. Find out more on the Your Local Area page.

If you receive free school meals for your child, you can also access up to an additional £125. You can use this to buy school uniform, equipment or a sports kit. This can also be used to pay for activities outside of school through the Welsh Government’s Pupil Development Grant. You must apply for this funding through your local authority and more details can be found on the Welsh Government website.

More information about costs relating to education after the age of 16 can be found on the Education for All Ages section of this website.

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Granted refugee status
Body

Any support you have had under ‘Section 95’ or ‘Section 4’ as an asylum seeker will stop 28 days after you are recognised as a refugee by the UK Government. This is known as the ‘Move On’ period.

The Welsh Government funds the ‘Refugee Well Housing Project’ at the Welsh Refugee Council. This is to support refugees during this 28 day period to find a new place to live and adjust to having the right to work and claim welfare benefits. The Welsh Refugee Council may be able to help you: 02920 489 800.

During the ‘Move On’ period, you will need to try to find a job or access welfare benefits. The UK Government should help to find you an appointment with the ‘Job Centre Plus’ to do both of these things.

Universal Credit

As a refugee, you are likely to be entitled to welfare benefits such as ‘Universal Credit’. More information about Universal Credit can be found on the UK Government website. However, if you have only been granted ‘Discretionary Leave to Remain’ you are unlikely to be entitled to access welfare benefits.

The UK Government should provide support to newly recognised refugees but this can sometimes take time to be arranged. ‘Universal Credit’ usually takes a number of weeks to arrive in your saving account. However, you are likely to be eligible for an ‘Advance Payment’. You must ask for an advance payment when you apply for Universal Credit. More information about how to request Advance Payments can be found on the UK Government website.

Emergency Assistance Payment

You can apply for an ‘Emergency Assistance Payment’ if your social security payments are delayed. You can apply through the Welsh Government’s ‘Discretionary Assistance Fund’. More details about the Fund can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Refugee Integration Loan

You can also apply for a ‘Refugee Integration Loan’ from the UK Government. These loans can cover the cost of rent, household items, training or education. More information about Refugee Integration Loans can be found on the UK Government website.

To receive welfare benefits or a wage from a job you are likely to need a saving account. It is important that you open an account as soon as possible. There is a range of banks, ‘building societies’ and ‘credit unions’ which can be accessed for a saving account. More information about Credit Unions can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Free school meals

Refugees may also be able to access support for costs related to children being in school, depending on your income. Free school meals are available to those in receipt of certain social security payments. You must apply to your Local Authority for this funding to be provided. Find out more on the Your Local Area page.

If you receive free school meals for your child, you can also access up to an additional £125. You can use this to buy school uniform, equipment or a sports kit. This can also be used to pay for activities outside of school through the Welsh Government’s Pupil Development Grant. You must apply for this funding through your local authority and more details can be found on the Welsh Government website.

More information about costs relating to education after the age of 16 can be found on the Education for All Ages section of this website.

Title
Refused asylum seekers
Body

If you have been refused asylum, you may be entitled to ‘Section 4’ support.

Section 4 support will currently provide £35.39 per person each week. If you do not have a place to live or enough to buy essential items, the UK Government may also provide you with accommodation. This money will be available by using an ‘ASPEN’ card, which is a form of debit card. You will not be able to withdraw cash from a cash machine.

You will not receive any funding if you do not accept the UK Government’s offer of accommodation and follow their rules.

Pregnant

If you are pregnant or have a child under 3 years of age, you may get extra money. More information can be found here.

If you are pregnant or have a child under 3 years of age, you may get extra money. If your baby is due in 8 weeks or less, or if your baby is under 6 weeks old, you can apply for £250. More information can be found here.

Public Funds

If you are not entitled to ‘Section 4’ support, you will not be able to claim any ‘Public Funds’. Public Funds is a list of welfare benefits listed in the UK Government’s ‘Immigration Rules’. If you have been refused asylum you are unlikely to be allowed to open a saving account.

Discretionary Assistance Fund

The Welsh Government has a fund to support those who are destitute called the ‘Discretionary Assistance Fund’. You may be able to access some funds if you are destitute and you apply through a refugee support organisation. You may be able to Find Help from a local refugee and asylum seeker support organisation.

Free school meals

Local authorities are able to decide whether to allow refused asylum seekers to access funds to pay for school meals.You must apply to your Local Authority for this funding to be provided. Find out more on the Your Local Area page.

If you receive free school meals for your child, you can also access up to an additional £125. You can use this to buy school uniform, equipment or a sports kit. This can also be used to pay for activities outside of school through the Welsh Government’s Pupil Development Grant. You must apply for this funding through your local authority and more details can be found on the Welsh Government website.

More information about costs relating to education after the age of 16 can be found on the Education for All Ages section of this website.

Title
Resettled refugee
Body

The UK Government should help to find you an appointment with the ‘Job Centre Plus’ to try to find a job and access welfare benefits.

Universal Credit

As a refugee, you are likely to be entitled to welfare benefits such as ‘Universal Credit’. More information about Universal Credit can be found on the UK Government website. ‘Universal Credit’ usually takes a number of weeks to arrive in your saving account. However, you are likely to be eligible for an ‘Advance Payment’. You must ask for an advance payment when you apply for Universal Credit. More information about how to request Advance Payments can be found on the UK Government website.

Emergency Assistance Payment

You can apply for an ‘Emergency Assistance Payment’ if your social security payments are delayed. You can apply through the Welsh Government’s ‘Discretionary Assistance Fund’. More details about the Fund can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Refugee Integration Loan

You can also apply for a ‘Refugee Integration Loan’ from the UK Government. These loans can cover the cost of rent, household items, training or education. More information about Refugee Integration Loans can be found on the UK Government website.

To receive welfare benefits or a wage from a job you are likely to need a saving account. It is important that you open an account as soon as possible. There is a range of banks, ‘building societies’ and ‘credit unions’ which can be accessed for a saving account. More information about Credit Unions can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Free school meals

Refugees may also be able to access support for costs related to children being in school, depending on your income. Free school meals are available to those in receipt of certain social security payments. You must apply to your Local Authority for this funding to be provided. Find out more on the Your Local Area page.

If you receive free school meals for your child, you can receive up to £125 to buy school uniform, equipment, sports kit or activities outside of school. You can apply through the Welsh Government’s Pupil Development Grant. You must apply for this funding through your local authority and more details can be found on the Welsh Government website.

More information about costs relating to education after the age of 16 can be found on the Education for All Ages section of this website.