Income Support

Income Support (I.S) is a means tested benefit designed for people who do not have enough income to support themselves. Your eligibility to claim will be based upon your personal income plus any savings or other capital you may have. If this is calculated to be below the qualifying criteria amount then you may be entitled to start receiving payments.

Those who are eligible to claim are often also in receipt other other welfare benefits including Housing Benefit, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits, Carers allowance. However I.S cannot be claimed by those who are in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance plus anyone who is working full time. You also cannot claim income support if you are claiming Universal Credit. It can however be paid on it’s own should you not have any other form of income or you are able to top up other benefits or earnings to the basic amount you need to live on. The amount you will receive will depend entirely on your individual circumstances.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

In order to claim you must be…

  • Aged between 16 and the qualifying age for Pension Credits
  • On a low income
  • Work fewer than 16 hour per week (and your partner less than 24 hours)
  • Have less than £16,000 in savings
  • Not be in full time study
  • Live in England, Wales or Scotland
  • Not be in receipt of JSA or ESA

You may also be able to apply if…

  • You are a single parent or pregnant with a dependent under 5 years old
  • You are receiving carers allowance
  • You care for someone who is receiving attendance allowance
  • You are on paternity leave
  • You are a refugee learning English who arrived less than 12 months ago

Other circumstances…


Before ESA was introduced, sick or disabled people were able to claim income support. However, new claimants who meet the qualifying criteria will be awarded ESA, as opposed it income support. Some existing claimants are still receiving I.S but will in the end be migrated over to ESA.

Young Person

If you are a young person you could claim income support as long as you meet the below criteria…

  • You are deemed as a “qualifying young person” and meet all other qualifying criteria.
  • You are under 21, live apart from your parents and started a full-time (but non-advanced) training course before you were aged 19.
  • You are attending Work Based Learning for Young People

It is worth noting also that you do not have to have made National Insurance contributions in order to claim I.S

How much will I get?

Payments are split into two categories…

(a) Basic payments known as personal allowance
(b) Extra payments known as premiums

Below is the weekly allowance amounts for Income Support

Weekly allowanceAmount
Single aged 16–24£57.90
Single aged 25 or over
Lone parent aged 16–17£57.90
Lone parent aged 18 or over£73.10
Couple both under 18£57.90
Couple both under 18 – Higher rate£87.50
Couple one under 18, other 18–24£57.90
Couple one under 18, other 25 or over£73.10
Couple one under 18, one over – Higher rate£114.85
Both 18 or over£114.85

How to get a Higher Rate

Higher rates of I.S are available for those who look after children as well as those who if they were not in a couple, would have both been eligible one of the following benefits..

  • ESA
  • JSA
  • I.S

How to get Income Support Premiums

This is an additional amount that is automatically added to your award amount should you meet the qualifying criteria.

Below is the additional amounts available..

  • £32.55 a week – single person
  • £46.40 a week – couples

However, you could be entitled to even more than this should you qualify for the severe disability premium or the enhanced disability premium

Severe disability premium

  • £62.45 (should either you or your partner qualify)
  • £124.90 (if you both qualified)

Enhanced disability premium

  • £15.90 (single person)
  • £22.85 (couples where one person qualifies)

How to apply

The fastest way to start receiving I.S is by phoning Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Alternatively you can apply by post by accessing the following application forms…

You can also apply In person at your local Jobcentre Plus.

When you apply you will need to submit the following details…

  • You and your partner’s income
  • Where you live
  • How many people live with you

When and how will I get paid the money?

You can opt to receive the money in advance weekly payments, or if you prefer, you can receive them in areas (either 4 or 13 weeks)

How to calculate Income Support

There are several online calculators available for calculating income support

How to contact the DWP

If you have a complaint regarding income support you should call the DWP on 0345 608 8545

You can also write to them at…

Department for Work and Pensions
PO Box 50101


Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions with regard to claiming income support.

How does being pregnant affect my claim?
How do I cancel my income support?
What are income support bank holiday payments?
What happens if I'm already claiming Carer's allowance?
What is an income support loan?
Is income support taxable?