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Benefits and Housing

Benefits and Legal Advice


If you have just entered Great Britain, the benefits you can get will depend on one or more of the following:


  • National Insurance contributions
  • Whether you are living or usually live in Great Britain
  • Why you have come or returned to Great Britain
  • Whether your entry to Great Britain is subject to limitations.


If you have not lived and worked in the UK, you will not normally have paid National Insurance contributions here, and so will not be entitled to contributory benefits.  However there may be circumstances where you may be able to get some benefits. You can get details on the website www.dwp.gov.uk/lifeevent/benefits/extra_rules_abroad.asp


Transferring benefits

In order to claim any benefits in the UK that you qualified for in another country, you will need to take certificate E301or E303 (from the social security office in your own country) to the local Jobcentre Plus Office to make a claim for benefits. This includes benefits because of unemployment, illness, invalidity and maternity.


You can get free advice about your rights from the Citizens Advice Bureau. They have Bureau in most towns in Cornwall, and a helpful website.




If you are working in Cornwall for an agency, you may already have somewhere to live provided by that agency. There are rules which say how many people should live in certain types of property, to prevent overcrowding and fire hazards. There are rules to make sure that the property is a good enough standard so as not to affect your health. If you want to know whether your home meets these standards, or think it is not safe, contact the Environmental Health Section at your local District or Borough Council. They will give you free advice. Your landlord does not need to know you have contacted them. There are also rules which say how much money an employer may deduct from your wages to pay for housing, if they are providing it for you. The Employment page will tell you more about this.


Housing Advice


For free advice on housing, you can contact the local District or Borough Council (see chapter 1) for the area you want to live in. Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau also give free advice. You should have some type of agreement between you and the person who owns the house you live in. This might be called a contract or tenancy agreement. They may give you a rent book to keep a record of when you have paid them rent.


Finding A Place To Live


If you have to find your own place to live, you will probably need to look for privately rented housing.  You should look in the local papers for houses to rent, and register with letting agencies. Some of the District Councils may be able to give you lists of agencies which rent houses. Be aware whether you rent a "furnished" or "unfurnished" house. Unfurnished will be cheaper, but you will have to find any furniture you need. Some houses are rented on short tenancies. You may also be able to rent a caravan or chalet on a holiday park. These are often seasonal, and you may need to leave when the tourists arrive in summer.


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