Income Support

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Income Support Information

Income Support is extra money provided as a benefit by the Government and which is aimed to help people on a low income or none at all. If you are on a low income you may be able to get benefit to help with your living costs, your rent and your Council Tax, or Rates if you are resident in Northern Ireland. In addition to this you may also be entitled to help with other costs like prescriptions.This benefit is about support for people specifically on a low income. It does not cover support for children which other benefits like Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits are designed to address, and it does not cover Working Tax Credit, which is specifically for people who are working.

You may be able to get help with your day-to-day living costs through Income Support. If you have a mortgage or other types of housing costs, Income Support may also be a help towards these.

Income Support is for people who meet the following criteria:-

• are between age 16 and the age they can get Pension Credit and have a low income

• work less than 16 hours a week (or a partner working less than 24 hours a week)

• are not in full-time study (but there are some exceptions)

• do not get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance

• do not have savings above £16,000

• live in Great Britain.

Because Income Support can depend on a number of factors being met it can sometimes viewed as a little confusing to understand. To understand the main criteria used to determine if someone qualifies to receive Income Support please read on, but as always it is always a good idea and recommend by us to contact a professional adviser who will be able to assist you with your specific circumstance. The following factors are taken into consideration when applying for Income Support:-

1. Your Age – To claim Income Support you must be both 18 or over and under state pension age to qualify. If you are over state pension age you are likely to qualify to claim Pension Credit instead. If you’re a woman, your state pension age is your pensionable age, and if you’re a man, your state pension age is the state pensionable age of a woman born on the same day as you. In most cases those aged 16 or 17 can’t claim Income Support unless you have a child or are pregnant or if you are on some specific types of training course. In addition the ability for 16 and 17 years olds to claim will depend on whether you still live with parents or are still at school. For those aged 16-17 who have been in care you usually can’t claim but there can be exceptions to this. For single parents who have been in care will still qualify for the benefit. Again we always advise those who are unsure of whether they would qualify based on their specific circumstance to contact an advisor who will help.

2. Your Residency Status – In order to claim Income Support you must be living in the UK. Those from overseas or those who have recently moved to live in the UK may experience difficulties claiming Income Support. This will heavily depend on your personal immigration status. Again we always recommend those unclear on their personal right to claim benefit, should always consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau.

3. Your Working Status – In most cases to claim you must not be doing any more than 16 hours of paid work per week. If you have a partner then they must not be doing more than 24 hours of paid work per week. There are situations whereby you may be allowed to work more than this number of hours and still be entitled to claim for Income Support. Examples of this Disabled, Carers, Childminders etc. As before always seek professional advise if unsure of how this applies to your persona circumstance. Additionally you may be able to get some Income Support if you are classed as being off work though sickness but you will need to prove you are getting Statutory Sick Pay from your employer.4d. Your income and capital If you have more than £16,000 in capital, you cannot get Income Support.

4. Availability For Work – You only qualify for Income Support if you fall into one of the categories of people who do not have to be ‘available for work’.

5. Interview Attendance – As part of the ongoing process for claiming Income Support you may be required to attend a compulsory interview as part of your claim. Sometime, in the case of those who have a partner who is not working, it may be requested that they will have to have an interview aswell. This doesnt always happen but is quite a common requirement to bear in mind.

A common question asked is “How much Income Support will i receive?” – As a general rule those who have more than £16,000 in capital, cannot claim for Income Support benefit. So what is meant by the term “Captial”? Well Capital means things like savings, land and/or property. There are however, situations where some capital is ignored. As an example your personal possessions would be one as well as the home you own and/or live in. There are certain other types of property that might not count aswell so it is worth speaking to an expert on this for a full explanation based on your own circumstance.

Once you have Capital of more than £6,000 then this will start to effect how much Income Support you get. As a useful guide you could expect to be treated as getting £1 a week in income for every £250 of capital above the £6,000 limit. This is regardless of how much money you actually receive from your capital, such as interest etc if indeed yo receive any. If you or your partner live in a care home, you must not have more than £16,000 in capital. The way it works is it will be assumed that you have an income from any capital over £10,000.

Additionally should you own property you dont live in this may be included in your capital. In the circumstance that you and/or your partner are in a residential care home or nursing home, the Capital limit for you in order to be able to claim would be no more than £16,000. You will be assumed to have an income from anything over £10,000. If you own property where you used to live this may be included in your capital.

In addition you may be interested to learn that you may be able to get help towards some of your housing costs as part of your applicable amount. For example this could include help with the interest on your mortgage. Please note that no help is available with paying the main capital part of a mortgage or endowment premiums for example and there are restrictions on the amount of interest which can be paid. In this scenario you would usually be expected to wait a few weeks from starting claiming before you would be able can get any help with interest. The exception to this might be if your partner is over state pension age. Again if unsure always seek the advice of a professional who will be able to help with your personal situation.
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Income Support Alternative – Income Support Number

0345 608 8545 – Standard charges apply. No Call Logs Available.

Address:

Department for Work and Pensions
PO Box 50101
London
SW1P 2WU