YOU could be entitled to extra benefits or entitlements if you’re on low income or out of work.
We explain what Income Support is, if you’r eligible and how you can apply.
What is Income Support?
Income Support helps people who do not have enough to live on.
It is only available to those who do not getand are not in full time employment.
It is a means-tested benefit which means that your income, saving and any of sources of cash are taken into account.
The amount you get depends on your circumstances – but if you qualify and have no income you’ll get at least £57.90 a week or £3,010.80.
You could get up to £73.10 a week if you’re single or £114.85 a week if you’re in a couple.
Are you eligible for Income Support?
You must be over 16 but under Pension Credit age.
One of the following must apply to you (or your partner if you have one)
- No income or low income and no more than £16,000 in savings
- You are not in full-time work (less than 16 hours a week and your partner can work less than 24 hours a week)
- You’re not eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance or an Employment and Support Allowance
- You live in England, Scotland and Wales – there are different rules for Northern Ireland
You must also be one of the following:
- A single parent with a child under 5
- A single foster parent with a child under 16
- A carer
- On maternity, paternity or parental leave
- Unable to work and you receive Statutory Sick Pay, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance
- In full-time education (but not university) and aged between 16 and 20, and a parent
- In full-time education (but not university) and aged between 16 and 20, and not living with a parent
- A refugee learning English (your course must be at least 15 hours a week
- In custody or due to attend a court or tribunal
You do not need a permanent address to claim and you can still get it if you sleep rough or live in a hostel or care home.
You can use the government benefits calculator to check if you are eligible before you apply.
Is Income Support included in Universal Credit?
If you live in an area where Universal Credit has been rolled out AND you’ve had a change in your circumstances then you’ll be rolled on to the new scheme.
You cannot get Income Support and Universal Credit at the same time.
Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:
- Child Tax Credits
- Housing Benefits
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
The new benefits scheme is being rolled out across 64 areas in Britain this month.
Once the Department for Work and Pensions has finished rolling out the scheme it will then move people who are already on benefits but have not had a change in circumstances on to UC.
That will start around July next year, its expected.
What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit
IF you’re experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don’t cover costs, here are your options:
Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it’s a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit pay out.
Alternative Payment Arrangements– If you’re falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you’re part of a couple.
Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the government to help with emergency household costs of up to £348 if you’re single, £464 if you’re part of a couple or £812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You’ll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You’ll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax or be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments if your payments aren’t enough to cover your rent.
Foodbanks – If you’re really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussel Trust website.
MOST READ IN MONEY
The Sun wants to make Universal Credit work
The Sun launched its Make Universal Credit Work on December 17 with demands for the government to fix its flagship welfare reform.
One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.
But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.
And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.
Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.
It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:
- Get paid faster: The government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
- Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
- Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.
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