Who can apply for Income Support?

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Contact the Income Support helpline on 0843 178 4315 to check if you are eligible.

Income Support is a government benefit for people who are on a low income and need financial support. Universal Credit is replacing this benefit, so you might be able to apply for that if you are not able to get Income Support. Read this guide to find out if it is worth applying for Income Support after checking the eligibility criteria you need to meet.

New Income Support Applications

Due to the national roll-out of Universal Credit, most claimants are moving onto this new benefit instead of Income Support. This means that it is not possible to make new claims for Income Support. The only people who can do so are those who are receiving the severe disability premium. There are a lot of other conditions to be eligible for this. If you don’t receive the severe disability premium already, then you should try applying for Universal Credit benefit instead. They will redirect you to it.

Income Support Claimants and Partners

If you are receiving the severe disability premium and you want to claim Income Support, there are several conditions that you will need to meet. These have to apply to both yourself and your partner, if you have one. Firstly, you must live in England, Scotland, or Wales. Next, you must not be eligible for Jobseekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance. You must also be on a low income or have no income at all. If you have savings, they must not exceed £16,000. You cannot be in full-time paid work, although you can work up to 16 hours a week. Your partner must work for fewer than 24 hours a week in order for you to be eligible for it.

Income Support Circumstances

In addition to the conditions above, you must be between 16 years old and pension qualifying age. You must also either have children, be in full-time education, or be unable to work. You may also be able to claim if you are a refugee learning English or if you are in custody. Even if you do not have a permanent address, you can still claim. It does not matter if you are sleeping on the streets or live at a hostel. These are the more specific conditions for claiming Income Support regarding those above:

  • You must be pregnant or on maternity/paternity/parental leave
  • A single parent with a child under 5 years old
  • A carer or lone guardian of a child under 16 years old in foster care or before adoption
  • Not able to work and in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay, Incapacity Benefit, or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • In full-time education that isn’t university, between 16-20 years old, and either a parent or not living with a parent or guardian
  • A refugee starting an English course within 12 months of coming to the UK and studying for at least 15 hours per week

If you claim Income Support under certain circumstances and then your circumstances change, you need to report this to the DWP. It could affect your benefit entitlement and they could charge you a £50 penalty. They would also make you pay back any overpayments. Examples of changes that can affect your eligibility include stopping or starting employment or education, moving home or any of the people you live with moving out, any changes to your income at all, or going into hospital or abroad.

How much Income Support can you get?

Income Support is paid to claimants every 2 weeks. This is made up of a basic payment and any additional premiums that you might be eligible for. Your circumstances will determine the amount of Income Support.

  • £57.90 per week – single people between 16 and 24 years old, lone parents aged 16-17, and couples that are either both under 18 or one person is under 18 and the other is 18-24 years old
  • £73.10 per week – single people over 25 years old, lone parents aged 18 or over, and couples where one person is under 18 and the other person is over 25 years old
  • £87.50 per week – higher rate for couples under 18 years old
  • £114.85 per week – couples who are both 18 or over, or the higher rate for couples where one person is under 18 and the other is over 18

Couples can only get the higher rate of Income Support if either person is responsible for looking after a child, or if either would be eligible for another benefit if they were not a couple. They would have to be eligible for ESA, JSA, or Income Support as an individual. You might be able to get a premium on top of the personal allowance if you have a disability, you are a carer, or your partner is a pensioner. The Benefit Cap applies.