Income Support helps people who do not have enough
to live on. It is for people who don't qualify
Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.
Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and
Age rules: You must usually be 18 or over but
under the qualifying age for Pension
Credit. Some 16 and 17 year-olds can get Income
Support though - see our section for Young People.
Type of benefit: Means tested
Taxable: No (in most instances)
Administered by: Jobcentre Plus
You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to
the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:
Who does it help?
You will get Income Support if you are not in full time
employment and fall into a category of people who do not have
to look for work. This includes:
If you are too sick or ill to work, and are not entitled to
Statutory Sick Pay, you should claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead of
If you are already getting Income Support because of sickness or
disability, you will carry on getting it for now but you will be
reassessed at some point to see if you qualify for
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Read more about the
ESA reassessment process.
You may be able to get Income Support if you are working less
than 16 hours a week and your income still falls below a certain
amount. There are also some jobs you can do where you're allowed to
work for more than 16 hours, for example if you are working at home
as a childminder.
You can claim Income Support for yourself and a partner who
lives with you. Your partner must work less than 24 hours a week.
If they work for 24 hours or more, you will not be able to get
If you have savings over £16,000 you will not be able to get
How much will I get?
It is complicated to work out how much Income Support you might
get. Your income from all different sources is added up and
compared against what the government considers your needs
are. Your needs will depend on your family circumstances, for
- how old you are
- if you live alone or in a couple
- whether you or your
dependants are disabled
- if you are caring for someone
- if you or your partner have savings over £6,000
- any earnings you or your partner may have
- if you have a mortgage.
The amount of Income Support you get is the difference between
the money you have and your needs. It can vary from one person to
Cold Weather Payment
If you are responsible for a child unde five, or receive one of
the following premiums with your Income Support, you also
qualify for a Cold Weather Payment of £25 if the average
temperature where you live falls to zero degrees celsius or below
for seven days in a row:
- Severe Disability
- Enhanced disability
- Disabled child
- Higher pensioner
You may also qualify if you are getting Child Tax Credit with the disability or severe
disability element alongside your Income Support.
You do not need to make a claim as the payment will be made
automatically for each week of cold weather.
How do I make a claim?
Phone Jobcentre Plus:
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Welsh language line: 0800 012 1888
Download a claim form from
the GOV.UK website (link opens in a new window PDF file size
In Northern Ireland
a claim form from the NI Direct website (link opens in a new
Contact your local
Social Security/Jobs and Benefits Office (link opens in a new
window) for a claim form.
If you have already claimed Income Support in
the past and you need to make a new claim within 26 weeks, and
there has been no change in your circumstance, you can fill in a
shorter 'Rapid Reclaim' form instead of the normal claim procedure.
For example, this could apply if you used to claim Income Support
then you took up a job which did not work out and you need to go
back on to Income Support.
What documents will I need?
You must give your national insurance number. You normally also
have to give your partner's national insurance number if you
are claiming as a couple. You also have to give evidence of
your personal and family circumstances.
Can it be backdated?
Income Support can be backdated for up to three months before
the date of the claim if you would have been entitled to it
earlier. You have to have an acceptable reason for claiming late.
Request this when claiming.
If you disagree with the decision made on your benefit claim you
can ask for a written statement of reasons. If you still believe
the decision is wrong, for example due to incorrect information
being used, you can ask for it to be looked at again, and/or
The time limits are strict, you will usually be given one
month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and
Further information on Challenges and
Change of circumstance
You must report changes in your circumstances
which might affect your entitlement to this benefit
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Last updated: 8 April 2013