Home Advice & informationLow income benefits Who can claim Income Support?

Who can claim Income Support?

Income Support has been replaced by Universal Credit for any new claims.

The rest of this article is only relevant if you are already in receipt of Income Support or in circumstances where you have Severe Disability Premium in place. 

What is Income Support?

Who can claim Income Support?

Where to find more information

Income Support is a benefit for people who are not working (or only working a few hours a week) and are not expected to look for work because of their circumstances.

To get Income Support (IS) you must be someone who does not have to be available for work. You must also not be working (or treated as working) 16 hours or more, and meet conditions about your income and savings. There are several groups of people who do not have to be available for work. The main groups of parents and carers who can claim Income Support if they meet the other conditions are:

  • Lone parents with a child under 5
  • Single foster carers. This would apply if you are fostering a child under 16 through a local authority or a voluntary organization, and you do not live with a partner.
  • Someone temporarily caring for a child by themselves. This would apply if you are responsible for a child under 16 who is living with you, and the child’s parent or person who usually looks after him is ill or temporarily out of the UK.
  • Someone who is on parental leave. This would apply only if you receive no pay from your employer and were on certain benefits before your parental leave.
  • Some people who are on paternity leave.
  • Someone who is looking after their partner or child while they are temporarily ill. Your partner or child must live with you.
  • Someone who cares for a disabled child or adult.
  • Pregnant women and women who have given birth in the last 15 weeks
  • Someone getting Statutory Sick Pay (NB you are not treated as working whilst on Statutory Sick Pay for Income Support, but you are treated as working for Working Tax Credit, so you may have too much income to get Income Support).

 Income Support is one of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit. However, in many parts of the country you will still have to claim Income Support if you are in a group of people who are not expected to look for work. You will find more information on IS on the GOV.UK website. If you have to claim Universal Credit instead, you will be told what you have to do.

This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.

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