By: Laura Vitelli
December 7 2022
The claim exaggerates the financial aid provided to people seeking asylum in the U.K. Asylum seekers in need get £8-£40 weekly in their Aspen cards.
A post on Facebook makes several claims regarding the financial assistance awarded to immigrants arriving in United Kingdom. The post claims that "economic migrants" who arrive in Dover –– presumably referring to the Dover Immigration Centre –– are given a £250 food voucher, a £500 clothes voucher, a top-of-the-range laptop, and a phone apart from other benefits. The post also claims that individuals receive £175 on an Aspen payment card every week and three meals a day.
Similar claims have been circulating on social media for at least several months and have been repeatedly debunked. The claims greatly exaggerate or misrepresent the financial support provided to asylum seekers in the U.K.
There is nothing on the U.K. government website nor any other government website supporting the claim that asylum seekers receive vouchers worth £250 and £500. There is also no evidence that immigrants receive a top-of-the-range laptop and a phone. These claims appear to be entirely fabricated.
The 'asylum support' page of the U.K. government website states that people seeking asylum in the U.K. can apply for support if they are homeless or do not have the money to purchase food, and they can show that there's a reason why they cannot leave the U.K. yet. This support may include a place to live, a small cash allowance, or both.
Far from the claim made in the post, asylum seekers living in self-catered accommodation receive a weekly allowance of £40.85 per person in each household to cover the costs of food, clothes, and toiletries. Those living in 'full-board' accommodation (meaning that three meals a day are provided for them) receive an £8.24 weekly allowance to cover essential living items (such as clothing, non-prescription medicine, and travel) that are not provided by their accommodation.
An additional £3 a week is provided if the individual is pregnant or has a child between the ages of 1 and 3 years, and an extra £5 if the person has a baby under a year old. A one-off £300 maternity payment is also available to pregnant women whose due date is less than eight weeks away or if the baby is under six weeks old. This figure is reduced to £250 for those who have been refused asylum. This support is provident under various sections of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
These funds are distributed as a cashless allowance which are loaded onto an Aspen card. An Aspen card is a debit payment card and does not provide the cardholder with a bank account. Only the U.K. Home Office can put funds onto the card, so it cannot be used to receive payment from others. Reuters and other fact-checking organizations have debunked claims that inflate the financial assistance figures.
The Facebook post exaggerates the financial support provided to people seeking asylum in the U.K. Some of these claims are outright fabrications. Therefore, the claim is marked false.