Benefits and entitlements if you’re sponsoring a person/s under the Homes for Ukraine scheme

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is committed to providing all the help it can for people fleeing Ukraine. This page aims to support residents in the borough who are sponsoring people from Ukraine under the government’s Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine).

You may be hosting someone who is new to the UK, who is already settled here, or who has previously been hosted by someone else.

Whatever the circumstances, we hope this page will explain how your benefits and entitlements could be affected by taking someone into your home under the scheme, answer your questions and provide reassurance.  

Download a printable version of this finance and benefits information

The government has said that sponsors who are hosting refugees will not be better or worse off in terms of their benefit entitlements. 

We  have also listed some key sources of support in the borough for you and the person or family you are sponsoring. 

The information on this page is only for residents who are sponsoring people from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

There is a separate page about benefits and entitlements for people from the Ukraine arriving in the UK.  

Your questions answered

  • You will receive a tax-free 'thank you' payment of £350 per month if your guest is in their first 12 months in the UK. The payment will increase to £500 per month once your guest has been in the UK for over 12 months, even if you have not hosted before. They are paid in arrears and will not affect any benefits and entitlements you are receiving.

    You will need to tell the relevant benefit office/s about your change in circumstances, but the payment will be ignored when calculating Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and will not reduce the amount you receive.

    Thank-you payments are only payable if you are hosting a guest with the agreement of the council. They can continue for up to 2 years if you continue hosting for a longer period.

  • No - your 25% single person council tax discount should continue uninterrupted if you accommodate a Ukrainian refugee. Other council tax discounts are also unaffected.

  • No - this is because the person or family you are supporting won't be treated as normally living with you. The number of bedrooms considered for you, under the size criteria that's used to calculate your entitlement to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit housing costs, will not change.

  • If you receive a severe disability premium in your benefits (Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related ESA, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit), you will not lose your entitlement if you take in a refugee under the scheme as they would be considered as living with you temporarily.

  • No - you should not charge rent as the sponsorship scheme states that the accommodation will be provided rent free. You can ask for a reasonable contribution towards food and utilities if you are struggling with the cost of living.

  • Yes - people arriving under the scheme can live and work in the UK for up to three years and can claim the full range of health benefits, social security benefits and employment support. Please see our Benefit support and entitlements for Ukrainian nationals arriving in the UK webpage for more information.

    Find out more about (benefits and entitlements for people from the Ukraine arriving in the UK)

  • The Council's Emergency Support Scheme

    The Emergency Support Scheme is a discretionary council scheme to assist residents in crisis. Support includes Emergency Support Payments for residents who don't have enough resources to meet essential short-term needs in an emergency or crisis. You don't have to be receiving benefits to qualify. There are also Community Support awards for residents on low-income benefits who need help with one-off items.

    To apply visit our Emergency Support scheme page. Please call 020 8921 2078 (available Monday to Thursday 10am to 5pm and Friday 10am to 4.30pm) if you need help with the online form. If your emergency support payment application is successful, you will be issued with a cash payment which you can redeem at the Post Office.

    Greenwich Supports

    Help is available for residents who are struggling with the rising living costs. Sources of financial support include Cost of Living Payments for pensioners and people receiving certain disability or low-income benefits.

    Visit Greenwich Supports to find out if you could get extra help. If you are in crisis and need support, please call Live Well Greenwich on 0800 470 4831.

    Live Well Greenwich

    Live Well Greenwich supports residents to live healthier, happier lives for longer. It works together with local services, and communities to promote good physical and mental health and wellbeing.

    Live Well Greenwich can provide signposting and support to get help with things like eating well, becoming more active, stopping smoking, drinking less, money/debt/benefits advice, employment and training, support with housing needs, NHS health checks and support managing your long-term health condition.

    Call the Live Well Greenwich Line on 0800 470 4831 (available Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 7.30pm, Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday 9am to 12 noon) to access this support or visit the Live Well website for more information.

    The British Red Cross

    The British Red Cross supports people from Ukraine who are in the UK. Their website will help you and your family to find out about services and support that might be available. For any more information about British Red Cross, or for emotional support please call the free British Red Cross support line on 0808 196 3651 (open between 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 8pm on Wednesdays). Interpreters are available.