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No Housing Benefit for new EEA migrants from April

Date of Publication: 
20 January 2014
Iain Duncan Smith announces that new EEA migrants claiming Jobseeker's Allowance will no longer be able to access Housing Benefit

No Housing Benefit for new EEA migrants from April

20 January 2014

The government has announced today that new migrant jobseekers from the European Economic Area (EEA) will no longer be able to get Housing Benefit from April 2014.

A government press release says that from the start of April, new EEA jobseekers will no longer be able to access Housing Benefit if they are claiming income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).

This builds on new rules introduced in January which mean EEA migrants cannot claim income-based Jobseeker's Allowance until they have been in the country for three months.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:

"As part of the government's long-term economic plan we have taken action to make sure our economy delivers for people who want to work hard and play by the rules. These reforms will ensure we have a fair system – one which provides support for genuine workers and jobseekers, but does not allow people to come to our country and take advantage of our benefits system."

The press release adds that the Housing Benefit changes do not affect UK and Irish Republic nationals, or EEA migrants genuinely self-employed or in a job.

The press release notes that other measures recently introduced include:

• From 1 January all EEA jobseekers have to wait for 3 months before they can get income-based JSA.

• After 3 months, jobseekers will also have to take a stronger, more robust Habitual Residence Test if they want to claim income-based JSA. If they pass the Habitual Residence Test, EEA jobseekers will then only be able to get JSA for 6 months. After 6 months, only those who have a job offer or compelling evidence that they have a genuine chance of finding work will be able to continue claiming.

A statement by Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa May with reasoning behind the introduction of the measures can be found here on the Daily Mail website.

According to BBC News, Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told ITV's Daybreak that the Housing Benefit changes had been agreed across the government.

"I think it is right to say to people who are coming here to look for work from elsewhere in the European Union, 'You have a right to look for work but you don't have a right to claim benefits, no questions asked, no strings attached, from day one'," Clegg was quoted as saying.