The humanitarian element of the crisis in Ukraine has led to the displacement of millions of citizens who are seeking safety for themselves and their families. More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, approximately 12,000 arrived in the UK by 08 April 2022. There is immediate support available for those who have already arrived, as well as information to help families acclimatise to life in the UK.
Access to Welfare
In March 2022, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) set out special regulations for Ukrainian refugees to be able to access Universal Credit and job support on arrival. Those arriving as result of the Russian invasion in Ukraine will be exempt from the Habitual Residence Test which requires a waiting period of up to 3 months before being eligible to receive Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a payment consisting of a standard allowance, with additional amounts available for those with children, a disability, or a work-preventing health condition. For those without a bank account, the first payment can be paid as a voucher, known as a government payment exemption service. Information on opening a bank account is set out below.
Ukrainians will also be eligible for Housing Benefit, Pension Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Child Disability Living Allowance and Carers Allowance, and Attendance Allowance. Claims can be made online at https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim, with translation services available for those making their claim at job-centres, on the phone and online.
To check all available benefits and eligibility: https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits
Universal Credit Full Service : 0800 328 5644
For Scotland: https://www.mygov.scot/benefits-support
To apply for a National Insurance number: https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number
Finding the local council: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
Opening a bank account
Opening a UK bank account is helpful for managing day-to-day money and receiving regular payments such as benefit payments and wages. There are different types of accounts offered by banks or building societies, such as a basic bank account with zero fees for standard use but will not include an overdraft facility. In order to set up a bank account an email address in the bank account holder’s name and a valid phone number is required. Proof of ID will also be necessary, so bringing any documentation for the Bank verification process will be helpful. The banks have recognised that some Ukrainians may not have all the necessary documentation.
Applications can be in person, at a bank or building society branch ( you may need to make an appointment), over the phone, online or via a bank’s mobile app. Below is an alphabetical list of some UK account providers you may wish to explore.
|Bank of Ireland UK||https://www.bankofirelanduk.com/personal/|
|Bank of Scotland||https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/bankaccounts/classic.html|
|The Co-operative Bank||https://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/products/bank-accounts/|
|Danske Bank UK||https://danskebank.co.uk/personal/help/ukraine-support|
|Lloyds Banking Group||https://www.lloydsbank.com/current-accounts/all-accounts/classic-account.html|
|Monzo (online only)||https://monzo.com/|
|Nationwide Building Society||https://www.nationwide.co.uk/current-accounts/help/how-to-open-a-bank-account/|
Charities and food banks
Charities and food banks in the UK may be able to provide new arrivals with essential items and other support whilst waiting for financial support. They are free to use and are a vital resource for households across the country.
To search for the nearest food bank: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/
To search for charities offering financial support: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/
To find information and support online from Ukrainian charities such as the Association of Ukrainians of Great Britain: http://www.augb.co.uk/
Other helpful guides and resources
Red Cross Translated Guides – https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-help/get-help-as-a-refugee/help-for-refugees-from-ukraine
Shelter ( for Housing needs)
Local contacts in Reigate and Banstead
East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services | 01737 771350 | https://www.esdas.org.uk/
North Surrey Domestic Abuse Services | 01932 260690 | https://www.nsdas.org.uk/
Horley Food Club | 07854 171383 | Horley Food Club – Facebook Page
Woodhatch Food Club | 07974 325138 | Woodhatch Food Club – Facebook Page
Preston and Tattenham’s Food Club | 07854 171376
Redhill Food Club | 07974 325000 | Redhill Food Club – Facebook Page
Merstham Food Club | 07974325280
You can receive support from Citizens Advice Reigate and Banstead by contacting our free adviceline on 0808 278 7945 (Monday-Friday 9.00-16.00).
To email us: Use an enquiry form at https://www.carbs.org.uk/get-advice/forms/
Luca Difato, 9th May 2022.