Benefits and Prison

Any benefit payments and entitlements that you receive may cease or change if you, your partner or one of your children is sent to prison, a young offender’s institution or is in custody awaiting trial.

Your entitlement to benefits stop if you go to prison, with the exception of:

  • Housing benefit for shorter sentences
  • Help with council tax if you are eligible to receive this
  • Industrial injuries disabled benefit

If you are on remand, you can’t claim:

  • Job Seeker’s Allowance shutterstock_138714137
  • Income support
  • Working tax credits
  • Disability living allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Attendance allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Industrial injuries disabled benefit

If you happen to be owed any benefit arrears at the time that you are sent to prison or on remand, you can request in writing for this to be sent to someone else.

If you are entitled to benefits, you can put in claims as soon as you leave in prison.

 Housing Benefit

You won’t be able to claim Housing Benefit if:

  • You are likely to be on remand for more than 52 weeks
  • You are likely to be imprisoned for more than 13 weeks
  • You won’t be returning home on release
  • You are claiming as part of a couple and you have split up
  • The property is going to be rented out

 Council tax exemption and reduction

You will not count as an adult living in a property for council tax if you are in prison or on remand. If you are single and there is no one living in your house whilst you’re in prison or on remand, you can apply for council tax exemption. If you’re in a couple and you receive joint Council Tax Reduction, you can continue to claim if your partner is on remand for a year or less, or in prison for less than 13 weeks. If you’re going to be the only adult in your property because your partner is going to be absent for 13 weeks or more, you could get a 25% tax reduction.

Tax Credits

For working tax credit, if you’re single and on remand/sent to prison or a young offenders institution, this payment will stop. If you are in a couple and your partner goes to prison for a year or less, you may be able to continue claiming it. shutterstock_240875227

If you’re single with children and you go to prison, your child tax credit may stop. The tax office will assess this by looking at whether you are still responsible for your child, how long you are in prison for, if you’re still in regular contact and lastly if your child is with you in prison.

Your child tax credit will continue if you’re in a couple and one of you goes to prison. If your child goes to prison for 4 months or more, you won’t get child tax credit.

Child Benefit

You are able to continue claiming child benefit whilst in prison if your child is with you in prison or the child that you’re claiming for is living with someone else and you pay an equivalent sum to them. If your child goes to prison, your child benefit will stop after 8 weeks.

Support for mortgage interest

You cannot get support for mortgage interest if you’re in prison, but your partner may be able to claim. SMI can only be paid through pension credit or income support.