Social assistance for homeless claimants: FOI release

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

Information requested

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 nonnationals in cases of homelessness.


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 web site, 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.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202300372222 - Information Released - Annex


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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