Income Support is extra money to help people on a low income. It’s for people who don't have to sign on as unemployed. Whether you qualify or not and how much you get depends on your circumstances. Find out more, including who can get it.
Who can get Income Support
It's for people who all the following apply to:
- are between age 16 and the age they can get Pension Credit
- have a low income
- work less than 16 hours a week, depending on the amount of your wage
- aren't in full-time study (but there are some exceptions)
- don't get Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
- don't have savings above £16,000
- live in Northern Ireland
You may get Income Support if you are one of the following:
- a lone parent
- on parental or paternity leave
- a carer
- a refugee learning English who arrived less than a year ago
Young people in relevant education may also get Income Support. Generally this means full-time education GCE or A Level. This might apply if you:
- are a parent
- don't live with a parent or someone acting as a parent
- are at serious risk of abuse or violence
- are a refugee learning English
You can get Income Support as well as some other benefits.
If you or your partner have a low income and have reached the minimum qualifying age, you may be entitled to Pension Credit.
Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level.
Families and Income Support
You can claim Income Support for yourself and your partner.
Social Security or Jobs & Benefits offices will treat you as a couple if you live with:
- your husband, wife or civil partner
- someone as if they were your husband, wife or civil partner
Social Security or Jobs & Benefits offices call this other person your partner.
Income Support is no longer paid for children if you're making a new claim. To get money for children, you must now claim Child Tax Credit instead.
Only one person in a family can claim Income Support at any one time. There are several types of premiums (extra amounts) you may get based on your and your partner's circumstances.
Lone parents and Income Support
If you have just started claiming Income Support you may not have had an interview with a personal adviser yet. Personal advisers can help you consider your options for returning to work and tell you about the support available. You can ask for an appointment to see an adviser at any time. The support available includes information about:
- other benefits
- tax credits
- helping lone parents back to work
Contact your local Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office if you would like to talk to an adviser.
Working and Income Support
You can claim Income Support if you work less than 16 hours a week and your partner works no more than 24 hours a week. The Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office will take into account some of the amount you earn when they assess your claim for benefit. The amount they ignore will depend on your circumstances.
Parental leave and Income Support
If you take unpaid parental leave, or paternity leave (paid or unpaid), you may get Income Support. You must meet all other conditions for getting Income Support, and be entitled to one of the following benefits:
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit / Rate Relief
- Child Tax Credit (at a higher rate than the family element)
If you're not entitled to one of the benefits listed above and you take unpaid parental leave, you may still be able get Income Support.
Volunteering and Income Support
You can volunteer as long as you meet the conditions for getting Income Support.
If you volunteer, you must tell your Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office. They will ask you to fill in a form.
As a volunteer, you may be paid some of your expenses, like travel costs for example. These aren't normally counted as income. You'll need to keep receipts for any payments you get, to prove these are for expenses only.
How to claim Income Support and how much you can get
Find out how you can claim Income Support and how much you might get.