Freedom from Torture - Asylum allowance: can you survive in the UK asylum system?

Asylum allowance: can you survive in the UK asylum system?

Asylum allowance: can you survive in the UK asylum system?

Most of the torture survivors we treat are in the process of claiming asylum in the UK, a process that can take years.

While people wait in limbo for an asylum decision, they aren’t allowed to work or claim mainstream benefits. Instead, an “asylum support” regime provides asylum seekers with £37.75 each a week and basic, often substandard, accommodation where necessary to avoid destitution.

That means many people who’ve survived torture are living off less than £5.40 a day for food, clothing, sanitary items, bus fare to asylum interviews - everything.

Every day, many people have to make impossible choices: would you buy a winter coat to keep warm if it meant you might not have enough food for the rest of the week?

The day-to-day struggles of living without the basics reinforce the powerlessness, fear and isolation that torture survivors inherit from their past and act as a barrier to them being able to rebuild their lives after torture.

Take our Asylum Allowance quiz and explore the content below to understand more about the poverty many torture survivors face. Watch the A to Z of Poverty and hear from torture survivors themselves. Read our in-depth report The Povery Barrier for evidence of how povery impedes recovery from torture. And sign up to email updates for ways to take action to support our work.

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