Ukraine sponsorship scheme

We’ve recently had several enquiries from customers who are keen to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their homes. However, we’ve also been asked how this might affect the benefits customers receive. We hope the information below provides some clarity.

Ukraine sponsorship scheme

UK sponsors are entitled to a tax free, monthly “thank you” payment of £350. Please see the impact on different payments and benefits below:

 

Housing benefit

The payment will be disregarded for housing benefit as income and capital. This is because it is a payment of local welfare provision made by local authorities.

 

Universal credit

The payment will be treated as unearned income and disregarded for the purposes of calculating universal credit.

 

Pension credit

The payment will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating State Pension Credit.

 

Income support or income-related ESA

The payment will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating ESA.

 

I have a severe disability premium or element within my legacy benefit or pension credit. Will that be protected if I accommodate a refugee?

As Ukrainian refugees will be living with you temporarily, they will not be considered as normally residing with you. This means that you will not lose your entitlement to the severe disability premium.

 

I currently receive a 25% council tax reduction as a single occupier. Will I lose that discount if I accommodate a refugee?

Our understanding is that entitlement to the council tax single person discount should not be impacted by an individual’s participation in the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

 

I’m affected by Bedroom Tax. How will the refugee be considered?

As Ukrainian refugees are to be treated as not normally residing with you, there is no change to the number of bedrooms that you are entitled to. The rules are clear that a host will be no better or worse off in terms of their benefit entitlement.

 

I’m related to a refugee staying with me. Will I still receive the £350 payment per month, and will they be treated as a non-dependent with non-dependent deductions (NDD) or Housing Cost Contributions (HCC) applied?

We think the two schemes are getting confused here. The Homes for Ukraine Scheme is a Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) led scheme, and is separate to the Home Office fast track visa scheme for family members. Any Ukrainian national who arrives in the UK through the family visa scheme and moved in with a family member will be treated as a non-dependant.

 

If I accommodate two or three refugees, will the payments be treated as earnings from self-employment for benefit purposes?

No, they will be disregarded as unearned income in Universal Credit.

 

Regarding Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA) applications for Ukrainian refugees – will the requirement to be in the UK for 104/156 weeks be waivered?

On 22 March, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introduced new legislation exempting certain cohorts from having to meet the Past Presence Test for disability benefits (104 weeks residence in the UK out of the previous 156) and exempting the same cohorts from having to meet the Habitual Residence Test for income related benefits, which can take up to 3 months.

 

The following cohorts will be exempt from the Habitual Residence Test (for income related benefits) and the factual habitual residence test and Past Presence Test (for Disability benefits):

 

  • Those with a right of abode in the UK, including British nationals and non-British nationals with pre-existing leave in the UK, who left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022, and were resident in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022.

 

  • Anyone granted leave either under or outside the Immigration Rules, who left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022 and were resident in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022.