Refugees (inc HRT issues) | CPAG

Refugees (inc HRT issues)

JR15 FileFailure to offer a UC ‘new claim advance’ – refugee (last updated October 2019) See below note on new claim advances. 

JR14 Incorrectly required to meet HRT for UC – refugee (last updated March 2019)

JR57 Refusal to accept retrospective tax credit claim following grant of refugee status (last updated October 2019). Please let us know if you have a client in this situation as CPAG have secured funding from the Strategic Legal Fund to develop a challenge to this refusal. See guidance on how to protect your client's positon below and contact


JR7 UC incorrect requirement for a NINo – refugee (last updated October 2019)

JR13 UC incorrect requirement for a NINO – partner of a refugee (last updated October 2019)

CPAG are monitoring NINo requirements. See NINo templates page. Please let us know how the DWP respond to these NINo letters:


DWP Guidance on UC advances 

If your client asks for a UC advance, and it is not considered, please let CPAG know by emailing

DWP Guidance confirms that a UC advance can be paid before a NINo is received.

NINo staff guide: Completing the eDCI1 form (, scroll down to guidance - Published 13 December 2016). This states: 

Payments of short term benefit advances and of benefit without a National Insurance Number or with an unverified National Insurance Number

24.Where applicable, Short Term Benefit Advances (STBAs) might be considered for customers with no National Insurance Number (NINo), or who have applied for a NINo but whose identity has not yet been verified, providing they meet the STBA eligibility criteria. Included in this criteria is that they must be likely to be entitled to the benefit in respect of which the STBA is applied for.

DWP also published specific guidance: Claiming Universal Credit and other benefits if you are a refugee in October 2019.


National Insurance Number (NINO)

You do not need a NINO for your benefits claim to be made but if you do not have a NINO you need to tell DWP at the start of your claim.

DWP will apply for a NINO on your behalf as part of your claim for benefits. You do not need to apply for a NINO yourself.


Your asylum support payments will end after 4 weeks. If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first benefit payment, you can apply to get an advance.

The most you can get as an advance is the amount of your first estimated payment and you’ll need to pay the advance back from future benefit payments.

Refugee Retrospective Tax Credit Claim 

Step 1
Telephone HMRC within one month of confirmation of your client’s refugee status and state "please treat this telephone call as a claim". Provide your client’s National Insurance Number, or if one has not yet been allocated, confirm that an application has been made for a National Insurance Number.

Step 2
If HMRC refuse, complete a claim form and send it to HMRC by recorded delivery with a covering letter confirming the date on which your client claimed by telephone and that they provided National Insurance Number or confirmed they have applied for one. In your covering letter include you can include:

Under regulation 5 of the Tax Credits (Claims and Notifications) Regulations 2002 tax credit claims may be made either in writing or by such other manner as is appropriate in “all the circumstances”, including by telephone.

5.—(1) This regulation prescribes the manner in which a claim for a tax credit is to be made.
(2) A claim must be made to relevant authority at an appropriate office—
(a) in writing on a form approved or authorised by the Board for the purpose of the claim, or
(b) in such other manner as the Board may decide having regard to all the circumstances.

The manner of you client’s claim is appropriate in “all the circumstances” as HMRC have refused to send a claim form when your client has an entitlement to tax credits for the relevant period under regulations 3(4)-(9) and 4 of the Tax Credit (Immigration) Regulations 2003 which provide for retrospective tax credit claims to be made by refugees and treated as made on the date they claimed asylum and renewed each subsequent April providing they are made within one month of the grant of asylum.

Further, your client’s claim is not invalidated by the absence of a claim form. In CIS/995/2004 (reported as R (IS) 3/05) the tribunal held that a claim was not invalidated by the absence of a signed TC602 response.

Nevertheless your client is supplying a completed claim to ensure that all of the required information is available to HMRC in order to decide his/her claim. 

If HMRC refuse / refuse to decide the claim, seek a mandatory reconsideration of the decision not to award tax credits. 

Please contact CPAG for a template mandatory reconsideration request you can use.

Step 4

If the decision is not changed on mandatory reconsideration (either by a mandatory reconsideration notice or by a refusal to provide a mandatory reconsideration notice), lodge an appeal of decision not to award tax credits. If your client has not been sent a mandatory reconsideration notice, please contact CPAG for the following:


a) TEMPLATE request to the Tribunal that your client’s appeal to be heard without mandatory reconsideration notice

b) TEMPLATE appeal submisison 


This will ensure that if CPAG’s challenge is successful, your client will receive the tax credits they are entitled to for the period they were waiting for an asylum decision.


By emailing

This helps us keep the letters up to date and effective for other advisers.