Q. I am a returning UK citizen and have spent the last 10 years living and working in Germany. My claim for Job Seekers Allowance was refused as I was told I am not habitually resident in Great Britain. What does this mean and what can I do?
A. As you have been outside the UK you won’t having paid regular National Insurance contributions and so will have been assessed for Income Based Job Seekers Allowance. As part of the condition for this and most means-tested benefits you must prove habitual residence. The term has been defined by case law and the DWP will assess whether it thinks you have cut ties with your former country and if you are seeking to remain in the UK on a permanent basis. There is no set of conditions you must fulfil, each case is decided on its own merits but consideration will be given to any ties you might have in the former country (did you have family, have they came with you, did you own a home, was it sold) and will consider similar actions you’ve taken when returning to the UK (have you secured a home, how long is the tenancy, have you children, are they registered with a local school, etc.) These are just some of the circumstances considered and is not a definitive list. You can challenge the decision by asking for a Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision and it is also advisable to make an fresh application for the benefit as well (the DWP often advise although this is incorrect that you must wait another three months before trying). If the subsequent application is again turned down request a Mandatory Reconsideration. As always seek advice for other information that may help with the application and appeal.