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Information relating to benefits paid and homelessness: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

FOI Reference: FOI/202300372222
Date received: 18 August 2023
Date responded: 13 September 2023


Request for Information 1: Any policy documents, guidelines or regulations that would explain how benefits/social assistance is to be paid in the event that a claimant is homeless or becomes homeless.

Request for Information 2: Any guidance on if this differs for calculating habitual residence for non-nationals in cases of homelessness

Response to your request

Request for information 1:

We have interpreted “to be paid” to mean making a benefit application and receiving payment should an award be made. The Scottish Government has a published approach to homelessness, which is available to view here:

Homelessness: code of guidance - (

A person identified as homeless or at risk of homelessness is a category of vulnerable person. Internal operational guidance is available for “clients who need extra support” a copy of which has been attached.

Information is contained within the decision making guidance which is published on the Social Security Scotland website, which is available to view here:

Social Security Scotland - Decision Making Guide

In addition there are a number of methods by which a client can be paid, internal operational guidance in relation to this has been attached.

Request for information 2:

We have interpreted “non-nationals” to be anyone living in the UK / Scotland who does not hold UK citizenship. I can confirm that there is no difference in our assessment of habitual residence between UK nationals and non-UK nationals, who are living lawfully in the UK. Habitual residence has been defined by Courts rather than in legislation. To be considered habitually resident in any place, a person must satisfy two conditions:

  • that they have lived in the place in question for an ‘appreciable’ period (this is usually for a minimum of 1-3 months); and
  • that they have a ‘settled intention’ to continue living there for a reasonable although not necessarily permanent period.

The individual’s nationality has no impact.

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