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DLR and Benefits - My Tips & Experience

Our story started seven years ago. My wife who is from the United States came to the United Kingdom as a visitor and overstayed her visa. Seven years and two children later she was granted Discretionary Leave to Remain for three years.

It's always best to do things the proper way with regards to immigration and not apply outside the rules. We did things the hard way. Of course some people have no choice and have to go through the hardship of what being an illegal immigrant is like while waiting an often long time for a decision from the Home Office. One of the main problems for us was money. Not thinking we were entitled to any child benefits made life a struggle for years until we researched and found out that life did not have to be this difficult

There is also alot of confusion about what benefits and help families can get when one member of a couple is subject to immigration control and the other is not. We have been through the experience and I'd like to give members some pointers on what to do and to have confidence in the benefits system so that it's a little easier to put forward a claim.

Firstly I am British and entitled to claim any benefits my circumstances dictate but my wife is not. This does not mean that we can't claim benefits together. It took us a long time to figure all this out and we have lost thousands of pounds in Tax Credits over the years with the confusion and fear that if we claimed anything, my wife would be deported and so on.

The fact is if only one member of a couple is subject to immigration control and the other is not then both are treated as not being subject to immigration control for Tax Credit purposes. This effectively means they are both legally entitled to put a joint claim in for Tax Credits.

There is also the issue of a National Insurance Number. Even though my wife had no legal right to work, the Department of Work and Pensions are obliged to issue her a NI Number as a joint claimant for Benefits. Normally when a claim for Tax Credits is made the HMRC will automatically set up a NI Number interview for you if you don't have a NI Number, but you must make it clear that you require a NI Number as a benefits claimant, not for working. We were refused twice because of this confusion. So again make it as clear as possible and take plenty of identification

My advice is to take plenty of paperwork with you to any interviews to prove your identity and be completely honest when asked questions. In my experience, the HMRC and the DWP can be very difficult to work with and some staff are ill trained with regards to immigration matters. There are also some very nice people, so don't be scared just be prepared.

It may take a while and there could be delays with claiming Tax Credits or obtaining a NI Number because of the immigration situation but stay strong and hang it there, it will be worth it in the end.

Useful and Relevant UK Immigration Forum Discussions:

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author's and not necessarily those of or any entity associated with This article is not checked for accuracy by any qualified immigration consultant or solicitor either represented on this site or otherwise. We will not be legally responsible for any statement made in this article. If you're going through the UK immigration process we strongly advise that you appoint a UK immigration consultant or immigration solicitor to deal with your case.


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