Those of us who are immigrant and disabled (by law this includes mental distress) can still access care, support and accommodation in some situations.
Support from Social Services is not counted as a public fund. It can be provided to people who are barred from getting benefits under ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF). Human rights law says that you should not be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. Human rights law can cancel out where you are banned from receiving services. We strongly recommend that you get a solicitor to help you secure these rights and as a protection for yourself. You can get Legal Aid regardless of your immigration status. Legal Aid is available for community care and homelessness.
We have heard from women in our network that disabled people are being denied direct payments for their support, on the basis of their immigration status. According to the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds Network‘ (Council network which provides information on legal duties) immigration status should not be used to stop you from getting direct payments:
4.2 Direct payments
Any person requiring care may request that they are given a direct payment to arrange their own care and support. In such instances they would either use an agency or employ a carer directly. If they chose the latter option then they will need to register as an employer and must adhere to several requirements, including checking that the carer they employ has the right to work in the UK.
The Care and Support (Direct Payments) Regulations 2014 do not prohibit a local authority from providing a person with NRPF with a direct payment. Where a person with NRPF requires a care package only, for example, because they are living with family, it may be appropriate to provide a direct payment in order for them to employ a carer or use an agency to obtain home care. However, when accommodation is being provided under the Care Act, the care package will usually be arranged by social services.
If a person with NRPF requests a direct payment, then the local authority must decide whether to provide this based on the regulations and chapter 12 of the Statutory Guidance. Additional considerations may include the impact of any language barrier on the person being able to arrange their own care, and whether the person can open a bank account or obtain a National Insurance number, which may be needed to register as an employer.
Here are some webpages with useful information:
No Recourse to Public Funds Network
HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network
Eligibility for Transport for London ‘Freedom Passes’ (info from NRPFN)
The No Recourse to Public Funds Network say:
There has been some inconsistency in the interpretation of eligibility for Transport for London ‘Freedom Passes’ across London local authorities. Those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) however face no specific restrictions on access to Freedom Passes for use on London’s transport network because of their immigration status.
Section 240 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 outlines the conditions under which the Transport for London ‘Freedom Pass’ is issued. The eligibility criteria are set out in section 240(5) of the Act as amended by the Transport Act 2000 and the Travel Concessions (Eligibility) Act 2000 (see http://tinyurl.com/d5o487). Section 240 Greater London Authority Act 1999 is not included in the restrictions to support outlined in Schedule 3 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Nor is any immigration test applied under the Transport Act 2000. Freedom passes are not included in the definition of ‘public funds’ in the Immigration Rules, which are the basis of the NRPF condition.
What does this mean? People with NRPF being supported by a local authority are eligible for a Transport for London ‘Freedom Pass’ if they meet the eligibility criteria as set out in Section 240 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.