There is a wide range of social security benefits in the UK, with different rules governing how non-EEA1 nationals can access them. As a general rule, non-EEA nationals who are subject to immigration control have no access to income-related benefits and other non-contributory benefits administered by DWP. However, non-EEA nationals who are working in the UK and paying NI contributions have access to contributory benefits.
1 EEA includes EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
EEA nationals who have paid national insurance contributions will qualify for contributory benefits on the same basis as UK nationals. EEA nationals can claim UK disability benefits if they are normally resident in Great Britain and have been in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey for at least 26 out of the past 52 weeks. In certain circumstances, time spent in another EEA state can be aggregated to count towards the 26 weeks. Access to income-related benefits such as income-based jobseeker's allowance is subject to the habitual residence test and includes the requirement that a person must have a right to reside and be habitually resident in the UK.