Eligibility of EEA nationals for Local Authority Support from 1 January 2021

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has created some guidance for local authorities on how changes to legislation, which come into force from 1 January 2021, will impact local authority responsibilities for assessing the eligibility of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members, wishing to access social housing and homelessness assistance. You can read the full guidance on the MHCLG website.

Changes outlined in MHCLG’s guidance to local authorities should also be considered alongside the Allocation Guidance and the Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities which provide relevant guidance relating to an applicant’s eligibility for an allocation of social housing and for homelessness services.

Changes to legislation are not an extension of local authorities’ responsibilities with regards to the allocation of social housing or provision of homelessness assistance. However, local authorities from 1 January 2021 may need to conduct extra checks to be able to determine an applicant’s eligibility.

The following section compiles and streamlines key information and guidance so that housing and homelessness staff within Coventry City Council are aware of new rules and regulations in relation to determining the eligibility of and ability to support EEA nationals from 1 January 2021.

a. Determining the eligibility of EEA national for support after 1 January 2021

Eligibility for accommodation support is determined through a child in need assessment or social care needs assessment. Emergency support may be provided whilst the assessment is carried out.

Assistance may only be provided to adults when they have care and support needs that arise from, or are related to, a physical or mental impairment or illness, rather than solely due to the person’s situation of destitution.

Immigration Status of EEA national, or family member of

How to determine eligibility

How to determine eligibility for support (accommodation)

Settled Status

Is eligible for support of the basis of having indefinite leave to remain (i.e. has Settled Status). You can verify their status on the GOV.UK website.

Child in need/ needs assessment

Pre-Settled Status

Is eligible for support given recent Court of Appeal judgement. You can verify their immigration status on the GOV.UK website.

Child in need/ needs assessment

Individual has joined a family member who was resident in the UK before 31st December 2020 and entered the UK under EUSS Family Permit

Individual has their rights to support protected up until 30th June 2021. You can check their status on the GOV.UK website.. Once in the UK, individuals are eligible to apply under the EUSS to gain Pre-Settled Status (must do so within 3 months) and must do so if they wish to maintain access to public funds beyond this date, unless under Section 75.

Up until 30th June 2021, child in need/ needs assessment

Individual is eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme but has not applied or received a decision on their application up until 30th June 2021

Individual can demonstrate they were exercising a ‘right to reside’ before 31st December  2020 and are exercising a qualifying right to reside.


Individual can show their Unique Application Number to show that they have submitted an application to the EUSS and are awaiting a decision from the Home Office.


  • Was exercising a qualifying EU right to reside (more information on qualifying right to reside can be found on the Citizen’s advice website) before 31 December 2020 (or they are a family member that has joined their sponsor EEA citizen before 30 June, and both have yet to apply). Evidence is required in order for the applicant to demonstrate they are part of the ‘grace period’ cohort (this cohort is EEA citizens and their family members resident in UK before 31 December but who have not made an application or acquired status before 30 June 2021) and their rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement; and
  • Meets the relevant eligibility criteria at the time of the initial application and again when considering making an allocation to them, particularly where a substantial amount of time has elapsed since the original application


Child in need/ needs assessment

Individual has leave to enter granted on or after 1st January as a visitor, student or worker

Individual will be ineligible and are subject to a ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition, unless under Section 75.

Child in need/ needs assessment

Individual has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30th June 2021 e.g. unlawfully present

Individual will be ineligible and are subject to a ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition, unless under Section 75.

Child in need/ needs assessment and a human rights assessment.


If eligible, the individual will fall within an excluded group, so support can only be provided if there is a legal or practical barrier preventing the person’s return to country of origin.

Individuals with work visa under Points-Based Immigration System.

Individuals will be in the same position as non-EEA nationals, unless under Section 75.


They will be considered eligible after indefinite leave to remain is granted, usually after five years of continuous residence, unless they are within one of the exempted categories in the Eligibility Regulations.


Child in need/ needs assessment and a human rights assessment.


i. When will a human rights assessment be required?

An EEA national who is in breach of immigration laws i.e. is unlawfully present in the UK.

 Schedule 3 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 applies to an EEA national who is ‘in breach of immigration laws. This exclusion places a bar on the provision of social services’ support when the person or family can return to their country of origin to avoid a human rights breach that may arise from being destitute in the UK.

When the Schedule 3 exclusion applies, the provision of support, under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 or the Care Act 2014, is subject to a human rights assessment, which must identify whether there are any legal or practical barriers preventing the person from returning to their country of origin. When there are no barriers preventing return, the local authority may refuse or withdraw support on the basis that destitution can be avoided by return to country of origin.

The Schedule 3 exclusion will only apply to an EEA national who is ‘in breach of immigration laws. For example, an EEA national may be without leave in the UK if they fail to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline of 30 June 2021, or if they enter the UK after 1 January 2021 with six months leave to enter as a visitor and become an overstayer following the expiry of their leave.

In practice, local authorities are unlikely to encounter an EEA national who is without leave or lawful status in the UK before 1 July 2021. Although EEA nationals who have not obtained settled or pre-settled status could be ‘in breach of immigration laws’ if they are not protected by the Grace Period Regulations, it is likely to be difficult to implement the exclusion in such cases, given that the person will still be entitled to apply for settled or pre-settled status before 30 June 2021, and instead should be assisted to access advice about that.