We can offer assistance to asylum seekers who are not entitled to social security benefits or help from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS)

Who we can help

  • people who applied for asylum in this country before 24 July 2000, was refused asylum and have an appeal pending
  • people who applied for asylum at the port of entry before 3 April 2000, was refused before 25 September 2000 and have an appeal pending
  • families with children in school, who were refused asylum after 25 September 2000 - we help while NASS is considering there application, but not after they've made a decision
  • single adult asylum seekers who arrived after 3 April 2000 and referred to NASS
  • unaccompanied minors below 18 years old - these are children who are not living in the UK with their parents or an adult, and are registered with the Home Office waiting for the outcome of their application

What we can do for you

If you are seeking political asylum, you are entitled to be assessed for the same range of social services as other residents. We will refer you to other agencies, for example:

  • If your children are not in school
  • If you are subject to racial harassment
  • If you have family members who are disabled, have mental health needs or suffering from severe illness
  • Victims of domestic violence

We may also be able to provide:

  • Advice, including how to find a GP or how to get school places for your children
  • Temporary accommodation, if you are homeless and not entitled to social security benefits or help from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS)
  • Limited financial help if you have children under 18 years and have no other source of income
  • A referral to social workers and other services

Important points

The type of help we can give you will depend on whether or not you are responsible for caring for children under 18 years who are living with you.

Temporary accommodation may be in a bed and breakfast hotel. Some of the accommodation is outside Waltham Forest. We cannot guarantee you accommodation in any particular area and our policy is to only make one offer of accommodation.

Please note that our service can be suspended or cancelled if you do not declare any source of income or savings which you have.

Assessing your needs

Before providing any help, we must assess your needs and circumstances. The assessment will cover:

  • Your identity
  • Your immigration status
  • Your eligibility for benefits
  • Whether you have a connection with another area
  • Whether you are homeless
  • Your rights to employment
  • What financial resources you have
  • What special needs you or your family may have
  • Whether you have been assisted by another local authority

You must tell us immediately if:

  • The make up of your family changes
  • There is any change in your immigration status
  • You get a job

The documents you will need

Please bring all the documents about you that you have when you first visit the Asylum Seekers Service. These documents include:

  • All Home Office papers since your arrival in the UK
  • Letters from the Department of Social Security (DSS)
  • Letters from solicitors
  • Proof of where you have been living and the tenancy agreement if applicable

This will help us to complete the assessment as quickly as possible.


Give your appointment slip or letter to us when you arrive.

If you do not have an appointment, we will give you a ticket. We will see people in the order they arrived unless there are special circumstances. How long you have to wait will depend on how many other people are waiting, but we will try to make your wait as short as possible.

Comments and complaints

We welcome your comments - good and bad - on our services. We will try to resolve problems quickly.

If you are still not satisfied you have the right to complain.

You can make your complaint online.

Alternatively, you can write to us at:

Complaints Manager
Social Care Complaints Team
Residents First
Waltham Forest Council
Waltham Forest Town Hall
Forest Road
E17 4JF

This building is not open to visitors

Phone 020 8496 3000 (ask for the Complaints Manager for Children’s Social Care)
Minicom 020 8496 3010 (for deaf and hard of hearing users only)
Email Information.officer@walthamforest.gov.uk