Income Support is still available for the most vulnerable and needy. But, generally speaking, you need to be getting a low income or none at all to meet the eligibility criteria.
Furthermore, you can only make an application for Income Support if you (either):
- Are already getting the severe disability premium (or you have entitlement to claim it).
- Received (or were entitled to) the severe disability premium in the last month and you still remain eligible to claim it.
Note: In most cases, you will be able to start a claim for Universal Credit if you fail to qualify for Income Support.
When You Can Get Income Support
So, when can you get Income Support in the United Kingdom? First of all, you (and your partner if you are in a couple) must:
- Have no income at all, or a low income, and you must not have more than £16,000 in savings.
- Not be in full-time paid work. So, you can work and claim Income Support providing it is less than sixteen (16) hours a week. Your partner can also work if it is for less than 24 hours a week.
- Not be eligible for certain welfare allowances (e.g. the Jobseeker’s Allowance or the Employment and Support Allowance).
- Be living in England, Scotland, or Wales (different rules apply in Northern Ireland).
Next, you need to be at least sixteen (16) years old but not over the Pension Credit qualifying age. Then, one or more of these must apply to your situation, such as by being:
- A lone parent (can also include being a lone adoptive parent) with a child under the age of five (5).
- A lone foster parent with a child under the age of sixteen (16).
- A single person who is looking after a child under sixteen before they get adopted.
- A carer.
- Away from work because you are on maternity, paternity, or parental leave.
- Unable to work and receiving Incapacity Benefit, Statutory Sick Pay, or the Severe Disablement Allowance
- In full-time education (cannot be at a university), between 16 and 20 years old, and a parent. The same would also apply if you are not living with a parent or someone who is acting as a parent.
- In custody or due to attend court or a tribunal.
- A refugee who is learning English. The course would need to be at least fifteen (15) hours per week and you would need to have started it within 12 months of entering the United Kingdom.
It is important to be aware that you do not need to have a permanent address to get Income Support. So, you can still make a claim even if you are sleeping rough or you are living in a hostel or a care home, for example.
Income Support Rates 2019
Income Support payments combine a basic amount (called your personal allowance) along with extra payments (called premiums).
You need to be at least sixteen years old to make an application. Even so, having income or savings (more than £5,999) can affect the total amount that you will get.
|Circumstances||Your Age||Personal Allowance (weekly)|
|Single person||16 to 24||£57.90|
|Single person||25 (and older)||£73.10|
|Lone parent||16 to 17||£57.90|
|Lone parent||18 (and older)||£73.10|
|Couples||Both under 18||£57.90|
|Couples||Both under 18 (higher rate)||£87.50|
|Couples||Under 18 (partner 18 to 24)||£57.90|
|Couples||Under 18 (partner 25 or older)||£73.10|
|Couples||Under 18 (partner on higher rate)||£114.85|
|Couples||Both 18 or older||£114.85|
Higher Rate for Couples
If either you or your partner is responsible for a child you might get the higher rate. The same would apply even if you are not a couple providing each of you qualify for (any):
Income Support Premiums
If you qualify for an Income Support ‘premium’ you would get extra money based on your personal circumstances, such as if:
- Your partner is a pensioner.
- You are disabled or a carer.
Effect of the Benefit Cap
The government benefit cap places limits on the total amount of benefit you can get. It applies to almost all claimants aged between 16 and the State Pension age.
The cap doesn’t affect all individual benefits. But, you are likely to find it affecting the total amount of social security benefits you receive.
For most people, Income Support payments arrive every two weeks (fortnightly). The money from almost all allowances, benefits, and pensions will go straight into a secure bank, building society, or credit union account.
How to Claim Income Support
Having confirmed that you are eligible for Income Support, the quickest way to make an application is likely to be by telephoning your local Jobcentre Plus office.
Making New Benefit Claims
Jobcentre Plus (new claims)
Telephone: 0800 169 0350
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0350
Welsh language: 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
You can also fill in Income Support claim form A1 on screen through the GOV.UK website and then print it off and send it to Jobcentre Plus. You can also contact them to get alternative formats (e.g. audio CD, Braille, or large print).
When you claim Income Support for yourself (and your partner unless they already made a claim) you will need to give some details about:
- Where you are living (e.g. in a hostel)
- Who, if anyone, is living with you
- Your income (and your partner’s income)
There are steps you can take if you disagree with, or want to dispute, a decision about your claim. But, to challenge a benefit decision you would need to follow the process called ‘mandatory reconsideration’.
Reporting a Change of Circumstances
You must report any significant changes to your circumstances to continue getting the correct amount of Income Support. The DWP can reduce a claim, or stop it altogether, if you fail to report certain changes straight away.
Note: Giving wrong or incomplete information, or failing to report changes straight away, can result in a DWP civil penalty or prosecution.
Some of the most typical change of circumstances that you would need to report, include:
- Starting or stopping work, education, training, or an apprenticeship.
- Certain changes to the benefits that you get (or anyone else in your house).
- Changes to the amount of money you receive (e.g. grant funding, student loans, money from a charity, sick pay).
- Moving homes.
- Going abroad for any length of time.
- Changing your name (e.g. by deed poll).
- Going into hospital, a care home, or sheltered accommodation.
- People move into or out of your household (e.g. a child, your partner, or lodger).
There are several different ways to report a change of circumstances, such as:
- Calling the Jobcentre Plus helpline (if it’s about an existing benefit claim).
- Writing a letter to the Jobcentre Plus office that is paying your Income Support. You will find the address written on letters you get from them.
Jobcentre Plus (existing benefit claims)
Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Welsh Language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Find out about phone call charges
If You Get Paid Too Much (an overpayment)
It is not uncommon to get benefits overpayments if you delay reporting a change or you supply the wrong information. If this happens, you would usually need to pay some of the money back.