DWP urges eligible Europeans to make late EU Settlement Scheme claims as deadline passes
European citizens had until June 30 to apply for the ESS which awarded EEA and Swiss citizens with either settled or pre-settled status. Both of these statuses allowed European citizens to access certain British state benefits, pensions and NHS services.
The Government detailed a person can still apply for ESS beyond the original deadline if they had “‘reasonable grounds” for why it was missed or, they had certain extenuating circumstances.
For some people, the deadline of June 30 2021 did not apply and this would be the case if the claimant was one of the following:
- The family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who was living in the UK by December 31 2020, and they joined them in the UK on or after April 1 2021
- They’re applying for a child, who was born or adopted in the UK on or after April 1 2021
- The family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland, but they could not move back to the UK by December 31 2020 without the claimant – they must be from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
- Exempt from immigration control, or they stopped being exempt from immigration control after June 30 2021
- They’re in the UK with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK (for example, if they’re here on a work or study visa) which expires after June 30 2021
- A family member of a British citizen who they lived with in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein – they must have lived with them in that country by December 30 2020, and returned to the UK with them
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Those who are applying as a family member of a British citizen who they lived with in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, must apply by March 29 2022.
People will also be able to apply for the scheme beyond the June deadline if they remain eligible and can show “reasonable grounds” for why they did not apply by the deadline that applied to them.
The DWP detailed there are “many different reasons” that can be included as reasonable grounds for missing the deadline.
It noted however there is not a “complete list” of reasons available and claimants can still act and have their application considered even if they do not hit certain examples.
On June 30, the Home Office also announced it would accept many claims as on time even as the deadline passed, revealing a certain amount of leeway.
This was due to unprecedented last minute demand, as the Home Office detailed: “We are seeing exceptionally high volumes of applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.
“If you are on the website waiting to apply, please continue. Your application will be accepted as in time, even if it is submitted after midnight.”
It remains to be seen how many claimants apply for the scheme overall but as it stands, around five million Europeans applied prior to the deadline.
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