Windrush Compensation Scheme
Questions & Answers

What is the Windrush Compensation scheme?
The name of this compensation scheme refers to the ‘Empire Windrush’, one of the first ships, but not the first or only ship, that brought men and women from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom in 1948, in response to labour shortages following the Second World War.

Who are the Windrush victims?
The scheme is not limited to those connected to the Empire Windrush ship in 1948 or those who came to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean.


Who Qualifies?
The scheme is open to people who have suffered loss and/or impacted, who arrived in the United Kingdom before the end of 1988 from any country and who is now either a British citizen or whose lawful status is:

·       Indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
·       Indefinite leave to enter (ILE)
·       Right of abode, incl. people who arrived before 1 January 1973

Those affected mainly, but not exclusively, arrived from Commonwealth countries, before 1 January 1973. For those individuals, their right to stay in the United Kingdom derives directly from the Immigration Act 1971.

Children and Grandchildren of Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the United Kingdom before 1 January 1973 may also be eligible. Some who were born in the UK before or after 1988 to parents affected by status problems.

What are the nationalities of those impacted?
The nationalities of those impacted include citizens from the Windrush generation and the wider Commonwealth, inclusive of; Jamaica, the Caribbean islands, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria and the European Union.  To view the full list click here: Windrush – Commonwealth Countries.

What qualifies you as a Windrush victim?

You may be able to claim compensation if you have suffered losses because you could not show that you had a right to live in the UK. You qualify for eligibility as a Windrush victim if your lives have been impacted:

·       by being unable to confirm your immigration status in the UK
·       by the type of paper you have to remain in the UK
·       by having benefits stopped, being denied access to housing, or employment problems resulting from being unable to demonstrate lawful status in the UK
·       by having your family life impacted by your parent’s immigration status

What is the criteria for being able to claim?
Claims can be made either personally or on behalf of a deceased relative:
·       Primary Claimants: To make a claim as a primary claimant you should use the Primary Claimant Claim Form and the Primary Claimant Claim Form Guidance.
·       Deceased Estate Claimants: Where a person who would have been able to claim as a primary claimant has now died, it may be possible for a claim to be brought on behalf of their estate. To do this, close family members should use the Deceased Estate Claim Form and the Deceased Estate Claim Form Guidance.

What qualifies you to claim on behalf of a Windrush victim?
To qualify, you must be a close family member (Partner, Child, Sibling or Parent). Claimants can also be represented by a third party such as a friend, a faith leader or a solicitor. This representative requires a letter of authority and a professional representative requires a formal signed agreement.

What help and assistance is available to the claimant?
The official Windrush Team is available to help you wherever you live. You may need support working out whether you are eligible to claim, or filling out the application form. Just call the helpline and you will get the support you need.

The Windrush Helpline number is: 0800 678 1925. The lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9am until 5pm and your information will be handled with the strictest of confidence. No question is too big or too small, and our team of advisors are available to assist you with your queries and concerns.

The Urgent and Exceptional Payments Process allows urgent payments
The Vulnerable Persons Team (VPT) provides help and advice for more vulnerable people who:
·    may be in urgent need
·    may need support and advice on accessing mainstream benefits
·    need support and advice on housing


Is the application form easy to complete?
Firstly, you must make sure that you complete the correct form and that you read all the guidance notes before completing it.  Get as much support and guidance as you need to review the form before submitting it.

Is it a Quick and Simple process?
Everyone’s case is unique and specific to their own circumstances. Because of this there is no standard timescale for receipt of compensation.
Follow-up questions from your case-worker may need to be responded to.

Do not feel rushed or stressed about answering questions. Take as much time as you need to respond; your claim should not be affected.
Some people may find it beneficial to get an advocate; someone who they trust to support them to understand the questions asked by their caseworker. This advocate can support you and would need your permission act as your representative, if necessary. Some may want to find an organisation that offers advocacy.

How long will it take to process my claim?
Once claims move into caseworking (following registration, initial evidence gathering and an initial assessment for a preliminary award within 6 weeks), consideration of claims should begin in the order in which they were received by the department.

Processing times will vary depending on the complexity of your claim. It will take longer to process your claim if they need to ask for more information, if your claim is complex or if your claim covers many different areas. They aim to consider claims as quickly as possible, and may pay some elements of your claim earlier than others.

Whilst hardship or vulnerabilities may not generally be a reason to being the consideration of a claim out of order, in such instances, caseworkers will assess whether a referral to the Vulnerable Persons Team (VPT) or an Urgent and Exceptional Payment may be appropriate.

Exceptionally, it may be appropriate to begin considering a claim out of date order. This may include where an individual has a critical or life shortening illness that means there is a substantial risk they will not receive the outcome of their claim if it is considered in date order. If you or a family member who has made or is making a claim have such an illness, you should tell the Home Office, either on the claim form or by contacting the Help Team.

Requests to consider claims out of date order will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

We will write to you with an offer as soon as a decision has been made on your claim. You will be asked to confirm your acceptance of this offer in writing and return it to us.

When is the closing date for applications for the Windrush Compensation Scheme?
The Government have removed the end-date for applications.  Applications received after April 2023 will still be considered. You can read more about it here


Why haven’t some sought to confirm their immigration status before?
You are not alone. Many people simply thought that they were British Citizens because of their own, or their parents status as Commonwealth Citizens. 

Some are now working, or have in the past worked in the UK and paid national insurance and tax with no problems. 

Some were born in the UK before or after 1988 and believed that they were British Citizens.

Some only realised that there was a problem when they decided to travel abroad and applied for a British passport.

Some had “Indefinite Leave to Stay” stamped in their passport when they first arrived in the UK.


Is there any other compensation that can be claimed?
If you were previously eligible for UK Benefits from the Department of Works & Pensions, but lost benefits as a result of your immigration status being reviewed, you can submit a claim for lost benefits. However, you can only claim for up to 5 years prior to your claim submission.

Do I need to gather all of the supporting information for my claim myself?
No. You can provide your caseworker with permission and details to make contact with your Employer, Doctor’s surgery, etc. and they can request this information for free. You may be charged if you personally request the required information (e.g. pay slips, medical records). Put as much information into your application to avoid delays and if you have documents, send copies, and if possible, via email.

How do I submit additional supporting evidence?
Wherever possible, you should submit your claim form with supporting documents.  However, you can write to the Home Office if anything changes since you submitted the claim for compensation. You should:

• Include your claim reference number, which you will find on the acknowledgement letter you receive from them when you submit your claim.

• Write your full name on the documents.

• Send copies of the documents you want considered.

How will I know if I am eligible for Compensation?

Once your claim is submitted you will receive a letter confirming whether or not you are eligible to receive compensation.

How much compensation will I receive?
The amount that you are offered depends on your particular circumstances and the level of impact on your right to family life, and your losses.
Once evidenced, impact on life payments are currently between £10k and £100k.

Will any compensation I am paid be taken into account by DWP?
If your claim for compensation is successful, then payments made under the Windrush Compensation Scheme will be disregarded in the calculation of Universal Credit and other DWP means-tested benefits. This means that the money you are paid in compensation will not be taken into account when your eligibility for these benefits is being assessed.

How will I be paid compensation if I am living overseas?
Anyone claiming from overseas will normally be paid into their own bank account. The Home Office will pay claims from overseas using International Banking Transfer, which means the money will be sent securely to the specified bank account.  They will tell you when the payment is to be expected. If you do not have a bank account you must tell them, so they can arrange to pay you another way.  They will pay in Pound Sterling and you will receive your currency equivalent according to trading rates on the day they pay you.

Their offer of compensation will be recorded in Pound Sterling. It will be up to you to know the amount the offer converts to in your own currency. Remember, currency exchange rates change daily, which means you may get a different amount paid to you by the time you receive your compensation. The Home Office will not increase or reduce the amount offered to you to take account of currency fluctuations.

Do I need to accept Windrush Compensation Offer?
No. You can submit an appeal for the compensation to be reviewed.

How do I appeal?
There are 2 review stages and you can accept the offer at any stage:
Tier 1 review
Tier 2 Review – Independent adjudicator

What if I disagree with the amount you offer or with the decision you have made?
If you disagree with the amount of compensation you have offered, you or the person representing you, can ask the Windrush Compensation Scheme for an internal review. Instructions on how to do this will be included in your offer letter.

If you, or the person who represents you, is not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may be able to request an independent review. Your case will then be looked at by the Adjudicator’s Office. The Adjudicator is independent of the Home Office and she will review your case.

If you, or the person who represents you, is not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may be able to request an independent review. Your case will then be looked at by the Adjudicator’s Office. The Adjudicator is independent of the Home Office and she will review your case.


What support can the ACLC provide?
ACLC are hosting Windrush Compensation information sessions. We encourage everyone to attend an upcoming event over the next months.  ACLC will also provide follow-up support over the year to March 2023. 

Is this a confidential service?
Yes. For all claimants, this is a confidential service governed by the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). 

How can the victims and their family members be guaranteed that their confidential information won’t result in deportation?
Windrush victims and their family members can be guaranteed that their confidential information upon applying for Windrush compensation will not result in deportation. The Home Office have made the following official statement in their published guidance which states:

“We will not share your information with Immigration Enforcement, even if your claim for compensation is unsuccessful”

Windrush Compensation Scheme Rules

You can read the complete Windrush Compensation Scheme Rules including eligibility here

Windrush National Organisation

More information from the Windrush National Organisation is available here