What is Income Support?
Income support is an income-related means-tested benefit in the United Kingdom for people who are on a low income. Claimants of Income Support may be entitled to certain other benefits, for example, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and help with health costs. A person with savings over £16,000 cannot get Income Support, and savings over £6,000 affect how much Income Support can be received. Claimants must be between 16–59, inclusive, work fewer than 16 hours a week, and have a reason why they are not actively seeking work (on grounds of illness, disability, caring for children, or someone who is ill).
Who is eligible for Income Support Benefits?
To claim Income Support you must be under state pension age, and you must usually be 18 or over. If you are over state pension age, you cannot get Income Support but can claim Pension Credit instead.
For more information about Pension Credit, see Benefits for people over sixty.
If you’re a woman, the state pension age is your pensionable age, and if you are a man, the state pension age is the state pensionable age of woman born on the same day as you.
You can find a calculator to help you work out your state pension age on the Directgov website at: www.direct.gov.uk.
Most 16- and 17-year-olds cannot claim Income Support. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you may get Income Support if you:
- have a child or are pregnant
- are on certain kinds of training course.
Being entitled to Income Support will also depend on whether you are still at school or live with your parents. 16- or 17-year-olds who have been in care cannot usually get Income Support, but there are exceptions. Lone parents who have been in care can get the benefit.
If you are 16 or 17 and want advice about claiming benefits, or you are 16 or 17 and have been in care, you should consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.
You are resident in the UK
You must be living in the UK to claim Income Support. If you are from overseas or have recently come to live in the UK you may have difficulty claiming Income Support, depending on your immigration status.
If you are not sure about your right to claim benefit, you should consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.
Not working or working less than 16 hours a week
To get Income Support, you must either not be working at all or work less than 16 hours a week. If you have a partner who lives with you, your partner must work under 24 hours a week. If they work for 24 hours or more, you won’t be able to get Income Support. If your partner is claiming income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, this will also prevent you getting Income Support benefits.
Off work because of sickness
You may be able to get some Income Support if you are off work sick and getting Statutory Sick Pay from your employer.
Your income and capital
You must have income and capital below a certain amount (see under heading How much Income Support you can get).
Not having to look for work
You cannot get Income Support unless you fall into a group of people who do not have to be ‘available for work’. (See under heading Who does not have to be available for work.)
In some circumstances you may have to attend a compulsory interview as part of your claim for benefit, and in some cases, if you have a partner who is not working, they will have to have an interview too (see under heading How your claim is dealt with).