Income Support is extra money to help people on a low income. It’s for people who are not signed on as unemployed. Whether you are eligible for Income Support and how much you get depends on your circumstances.
Royal Mail strike action (Autumn 2022)
Should the upcoming strike action by Royal Mail delay you sending or receiving benefits information or health assessment details by post, contact your relevant benefits branch or service centre.
Customers in urgent need can arrange to use a local Jobs & Benefits office as a delivery point to send forms or documents.
You can no longer make a new claim for Income Support. If you’re on a low income and need help to cover your living costs, you can apply for Universal Credit instead.
You can contact the Benefits freephone by ringing 0800 022 4250 for any Income support queries you have.
If you already get Income Support
People who meet the qualifying criteria below and already get Income Support can continue to do so, but must report any change in their circumstances (or those of their partner if they have one) immediately.
- be between 16 and Pension Credit qualifying age
- not be signed on as unemployed
- be either pregnant, a carer, a lone parent with a child under five or, in some cases, unable to work because you’re sick or disabled
- have no income or a low income (your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account)
- be working less than 16 hours a week and your partner working less than 24 hours a week (you may still qualify if you do unpaid voluntary work or go on parental or paternity leave
- live in Northern Ireland
- not be under immigration control
You don’t need a permanent address. You can still claim if you sleep rough or live in a hostel or care home.
Under 21 in secondary education
You will also be eligible to continue receiving Income Support if you’re aged 19 or younger, in full-time secondary education (including A levels) and are one of the following:
- a parent
- not living with a parent or someone acting as a parent
- a refugee learning English
While your secondary education finishes, you can continue to receive Income Support up until you turn 21 if you’re also orphaned or estranged from your parents.
If your circumstances change
Contact the Benefits Freephone number on 0800 022 4250 straight away if something changes that may affect your Income Support. This includes if you or your partner:
- move home (or other people move into or leave your home)
- change the account you pay benefits into
- change your income – including maintenance and part-time earnings
- work more or fewer hours
- become ill
- have to stay in hospital
- get more or less of other benefits
How much you can get
Income Support is made up of three parts:
- personal allowances
- payments to cover certain housing costs
Details of Income Support rates are available on Gov.uk
You could also get an Income Support premium. This is extra money based on your circumstances, for example, if:
- your partner is a pensioner
- you’re disabled or a carer
The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to State Pension age can get. Some individual benefits aren’t affected but it may affect the total amount of benefit you get.
When claiming Income Support you may receive text messages (SMS) from the Department for Communities (DfC). They will always be clearly marked as DfC and will never ask you to give, or click a link to give, personal information or financial details by message or email.
If you’re concerned or unsure about any text messages (SMS) you receive from about Income Support you should contact your local Jobs and Benefits office directly. If you suspect you have received a fraudulent message as a scam, contact your local Jobs and Benefits office immediately.
Further information is available at scamwiseni.
Cost of Living Support Payment
A Cost of Living Support package has been put in place for 2022 that includes one-off payments to those on income related benefits, disabled claimants and pensioners. These payments are intended to provide support with the current rise in the cost of living.
You may be eligible for one, or more, of these Cost of Living Support Payments if you get or had started a claim for Income Support on 25 May 2022.
Find out more about Cost of Living support
Get a proof of benefit letter for Income Support
A proof of benefit letter may be needed to access various government supports and services.
If you need proof that you are getting Income Support you can get a proof of benefit letter
If you cannot use the online service, contact Income Support by ringing the
Benefits Freephone number: 0800 022 4250.
Appeal against a decision
You can ask the Department for Communities to look at its decision again if:
- your claim is turned down
- you think your benefit has been worked out wrongly
- Appealing against a benefits decision
Help with housing costs
If you receive Income Support and have a mortgage, remortgage or home loan, you may be able to get a loan to help towards the interest payments.
There are circumstances when you may be paid too much benefit and you will be asked to repay this. To make a repayment contact Debt Management.
If you require further support contact Debt Management as soon as possible to discuss an affordable repayment plan and other potential options.