Pitiful increase in Home Office asylum support payments

Legal Updates

a messy pile of various pennies

If you have claimed asylum, and do not have anywhere to live and/or money to support yourself, you may be able to get “asylum support”. This is provided by the Home Office and, depending on your circumstances, can include housing and/or basic living expenses. 

How much support will people now receive?

People who receive asylum support receive very little financial assistance from the Home Office (even though many are not allowed to work).

The increase in this allowance which was announced this week is unfortunately very small. People who were receiving £45.00 per week will now receive £47.39, and people who were receiving £9.00 per week will now receive £9.58.

This (tiny) increase will apply from Monday 24 July 2023. 

The Home Office made the following statement: 

“From 17 July, the standard weekly level of the allowance increased from £45 to £47.39 on an interim basis (this means for the foreseeable future) for each supported person [and any dependants in their household] in self-catered accommodation. For those in catered accommodation, the standard weekly level of the allowance proportionally increased from £9.10 to £9.58 for each supported person on an interim basis.

… The interim uplift will be provided on top of the usual subsistence rates by a one off payment on Tuesday 18th July for this week only, with the uplifted rates being paid in full from Monday 24th July until further notice.”

What is asylum support?

Asylum support is provided by the Home Office while your asylum claim is being considered (this means while you are waiting for a decision), or after your claim for asylum has been refused. 

If you have claimed asylum, and do not have anywhere to live, or have somewhere to live but do not have the money to support yourself, you may be able to get “asylum support”. This is provided by the Home Office and, depending on your circumstances, can include housing and/or basic living expenses (money).

There are different types of asylum support that the Home Office provides, depending on the stage of the asylum process you are in. Asylum support is provided under section 98 (temporary), section 95 (while waiting for an asylum decision) or section 4 (after an asylum claim has been rejected) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. 

To receive asylum support, you will need to prove to the Home Office that you are experiencing ‘destitution’.  

Under the legal test (in section 98 and 95), a person is experiencing destitution if: 

  • They do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it; or 
  • They have adequate accommodation, but cannot meet their other essential living needs.

To learn more about asylum support, read our detailed and easy-to-read Toolkit page. 

What do we think of the increase?

At Right to Remain, we are aware that we should celebrate all wins – big and small. 

However, the situation for people seeking asylum in the UK is so bleak, given the immense delays in receiving a decision from the Home Office, as well as the ban on working. Inflation has increased far above this tiny increase in asylum support payments, and the cost of living crisis has forced many into poverty. The fact that people are expected to live on such small amounts (without the option of an alternative), particularly in the midst of a cost of living crisis, is quite frankly abominable. 

Conditions like this further isolate migrant communities from the rest of society, and from accessing basic necessities like adequate food, toiletries, transport fees, and phone data. 

People seeking asylum in the UK should be empowered and given the right to become self-sufficient, set down roots, and move on with the lives they have so bravely started to restart in a new place. Also, they should be given this right without it taking away from the support they so require – often, if people get a job (after a year of waiting for an asylum decision), they are forced to reject the offer because they would be earning too much to still receive support payments. Read more about this issue here

To learn more about initiatives like the #LiftTheBan campaign, read this report on the Refugee Action website which shows that 71% of people believe that people seeking asylum in the UK should have the right to work. 

2 comments on “Pitiful increase in Home Office asylum support payments

  1. Arman majid mohammadi on

    I applied for asylum seeker 18/09/2021 and the home office gave me accommodation to stay but I moved to one of my friends house but I didn’t get any financial support . This person I live with he can’t support me for money but he will let me stay on his accommodation . Can I apply for financial support please?

    Reply

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