6.1 Section 95 Home Office support
A family with a pending asylum or Article 3 human rights application (or appeal) may apply for support from the Home Office under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 when they are destitute (have no accommodation or cannot afford to meet their essential living needs).
The Home Office can provide accommodation and subsistence support in the form of cash payments. Families who have accommodation may request cash support only.
Support will continue to be provided to the family if their asylum claim is unsuccessful and there is a child in the family group who is under 18 years old at time the asylum claim is finally determined.
If the family are in urgent need they can apply for emergency support from the Home Office under section 98 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and may receive this support whilst the Home Office make a final decision on the person’s application for section 95 asylum support.
A refused asylum seeking family will not be eligible to receive support from the Home Office under section 95 when the first child was born after the asylum claim was finally determined, or the family were not receiving section 95 support when their asylum claim was finally determined.
6.2 Section 4 Home Office support
Support from the Home Office may be provided to destitute refused asylum seekers, including families, under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 if they:
- are taking all reasonable steps to leave the UK;
- are unable to leave the UK due to physical impediment;
- have no safe route of return;
- have been granted leave to appeal in an application for judicial review in relation to their asylum claim; or
- require support to avoid a breach of their human rights, for example they have made further submissions for a fresh asylum claim.
Support provided comprises of accommodation and subsistence in the form of vouchers. A person who has accommodation cannot receive subsistence support only.
The following organisations provide more information about asylum support:
- Home Office
- Asylum Help (assistance with applications)
- Asylum Support Appeals Project (assistance when support is refused)
6.3 Local authority support for asylum seeking families
Local authorities are prohibited under section 122 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 from providing financial support and/or accommodation to a child under section 17 Children Act 1989 where the family are eligible for or are receiving support from the Home Office under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
The local authority would need to obtain confirmation from the Home Office that the parent has claimed asylum, and that the initial application or subsequent appeal is still pending to establish whether the family can apply for section 95 support.
Social services may be required to undertake a child in need assessment and provide assistance under section 17 Children Act 1989 to a destitute family whilst the application for asylum support is being processed. Asylum seekers are not excluded from social services support.
When a child is being accommodated by the Home Office and has additional needs, such as those relating to a disability, then the local authority in the area which the family are accommodated will be responsible for undertaking assessments and providing services. Should the family be moved to another area, then Children’s Services must transfer responsibility to the new local authority.
6.4 Local authority support for refused asylum seeking families
A refused asylum seeking family can only be referred to the Home Office for section 4 support if such support is ‘available and adequate’ – R (VC and others) v Newcastle City Council. The local authority must have confirmation from the Home Office that section 4 support will be provided and must be able to demonstrate that the support will meet the child’s assessed needs, although the courts have suggested that it is unlikely that asylum support would be sufficient to meet a child’s needs.
In practice this means that such families will often fall to be supported under section 17 Children Act 1989. However, the majority of refused asylum seekers will only be able to receive this support where this is necessary to prevent a breach of the family’s human rights. This will apply where the parents:
- claimed asylum after they entered the UK (rather than at the port of entry), or
- have failed to comply with removal directions, or
- have been certified by the Home Office as failing to take steps to leave the UK voluntarily.
For more information see section: