plant being watered

With the cost of living rising, it’s more important than ever before to check what you are entitled to. Many people believe that benefits are ONLY available if you are out of work or unable to work but this isn’t correct, some families with an income of £50,000 or more can qualify. Don’t miss out, benefits can increase your income and open the door to further discounts and additional income.

Benefits for your situation:

  • Low income – self-employed or employed and receive a low income.
  • Families – having a baby, have dependent children, a disabled child, a large family, or if you spend a lot on childcare.
  • Health & Carers – you have or care for someone with an illness, long-term health condition or disability, including a mental health issue.
  • Out of work– facing redundancy or you’ve lost your job for any other reason.
  • Older people – pensioners and those over retirement age.
  • Bereavement – recently bereaved.

Get in touch

It can be confusing working out what you might be entitled to, but don’t worry our team is here to help.

Please call our free helpline on 0800 093 8543, or complete the contact form and a member of our team can help you to understand and explore the options available to you. 

All advice is free and fully confidential and our office hours are Monday and Wednesday 10am – 5pm and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am – 5pm.

You can also check what you might be entitled to by using a benefits calculator.

Low Income

Universal Credit

This is for people who are unemployed, off work due to sickness, working for an employer or self-employed and on a low income. It provides a monthly payment which is paid in arrears and intended to help you meet your basic living costs.

Universal Credit takes into account you and your family’s individual circumstances, including housing costs, children, if you have a long-term health condition or disability. You can check what Universal Credit you may receive. There have been recent changes to Universal Credit and more people will qualify.  It is worth taking 10 minutes to check using a benefits calculator.

Claiming universal credit also allows you to access other forms of support, which can include increased free childcare hours, and reduced tariffs for certain utilities.

You might be able to claim universal credit if:

  • You are on a low income
  • You’re aged 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 or 17).
  • You or your partner are under state pension age.
  • You have less than £16,000 in savings – if you have a partner, their savings count too.
  • You live in the UK.

Find out more about Universal Credit and how to claim.

If you are already receiving benefits because you work and receive low pay or are unable to work due to a long-term health condition, Universal Credit is replacing six legacy benefits and you can no longer apply for these benefits.

If you’re currently claiming one of these benefits, you’ll eventually be moved over onto universal credit automatically:

  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Housing benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit

You will be moved on to universal credit if you have a change in circumstances (such as moving in with a new partner or changing job). The Government plans to move everyone currently receiving the legacy benefits by the end of 2024.

You can also choose to move onto Universal Credit and some people will be better off on Universal Credit than on their old benefits, but some will have a reduction. We advise that if you currently receive a legacy benefit, you check before applying for Universal Credit. 

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland follow the same guidance for Universal Credit. In Scotland only you can choose to be paid twice monthly, instead of monthly. In Northern Ireland payment is paid twice monthly and you can opt to be paid monthly.

If you’re Self Employed 

This information is a guide to help you understand what you need to do if you are self-employed and wish to claim Universal Credit (UC).

How Universal Credit calculates your payment:

  • Your self-employment is assessed on whether you are ‘gainfully self-employed’, to show this you will need to show proof that:
    • self-employment is your main job or your main source of income
    • you get regular work from self-employment
    • your work is organised – this means you have invoices and receipts, or accounts
    • you expect to make a profit
  • If you’re gainfully self-employed, your Universal Credit payment may be calculated using an assumed level of earnings, called a minimum income floor (MIF). This is based on what it would expect an employed person to receive in similar circumstances.
  • It’s calculated using the National Minimum Wage for your age group, multiplied by the number of hours you are expected to work. It also includes a notional deduction for tax and National Insurance.
  • If your self-employed earnings are below the MIF calculated, UC will use the MIF income level to work out your Universal Credit payment instead of your actual earnings.

Find out more information about Universal Credit and self-employment.

Additional Support

If you receive Universal Credit you may also be able to access:

  • Contributions towards School Uniform
  • Digital social tariffs for broadband and mobile
  • Social Tariffs for Energy and Water Costs
  • Water Sure to cap your bills if you have a water meter
  • Help with housing costs and bills
  • BT Home Essentials (or KCOM Flex Packages if you live in the East Riding or Hull City Council local authority areas and you have no income)
  • Cold Weather Payment
  • Disabled Facilities Grants
  • Discretionary Housing Payments if your Universal Credit payment is not enough to pay your rent
  • Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Affordable Warmth
  • A reduction in your Council Tax

Find out more about other financial support, you may receive and how to claim.

Household Support Fund

This fund is currently for 2022-23 and is to help families with the cost of living. You can apply directly for support, and it can help with the cost of energy and food. Your local council administers the fund, and it is their decision on how and what they will provide help for. 

To find out what help is available in your area through the Household Support Fund, contact your local council

Housing

You will find benefit information for support with housing costs and council tax on Perennial Housing Information.

You can check what you might be entitled to by using a benefits calculator or contact our Services Team who are trained to help people access the state benefits they are entitled to. You can call call us on 0800 0093 8543 or complete the contact form and we will get back to you.  All advice is free and fully confidential.

Families

Child Benefit

Child Benefit is for those with dependent children (under 16) and earn under £60,000.   Find out more about Child Benefit and how to claim.

When having a baby there is financial help you may be entitled to:

  • Maternity pay and leave
  • Paternity pay and leave
  • Shared parental leave and pay
  • Plan your shared parental leave and pay
  • Maternity allowance
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant
  • Guardians allowance

Find out more about financial help if you have children and how to apply.

Universal Credit

You may be able to receive additional income from Universal Credit and it can also provide you with other additional support and discounts.

If you receive Universal Credit and you’re pregnant or have a child, you might receive:

  • Free early education for 2 year olds
  • Free school meals
  • Healthy Start vouchers (in England and Wales) if you’re pregnant or have a child under 4 years old
  • Best Start Foods and a Best Start Grant (in Scotland) if you’re pregnant or have a child under 4 years old
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant in England and Wales
  • Pregnancy and Baby payment in Scotland
  • Up to £1,200 bonus for saving -The Help to Save account, anyone on Universal Credit can put away between £1 and £50 every month and you get a 50% bonus on top.

Find out more and how to claim other financial support.

Disability Living Allowance for children

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • is under 16
  • has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability
  • They will need to meet all the eligibility requirements.

Scotland

You need to apply for Child Disability Payment instead of DLA for children. If you currently get DLA for children, you’ll be automatically switched to Child Disability Payment before the end of 2022.

Additional benefits

If you are working on a low income or on welfare benefits you may be entitled to additional financial support as childcare costs.

We have further information about support available for Families and Children including Holiday Activities Food Programmes, Free School meals and Back to School.

Our team is trained to help people access the state benefits they are entitled to. You can find out more about benefits that you may be entitled to by calling us on 0800 0093 8543 or complete the contact form and we will get back to you.  All advice is free and fully confidential.

Health

New-style Employment and Support Allowance

This is paid if you are sick/disabled and unable, or have limited capacity, to work. You’ll need to have paid enough national insurance contributions over the past two years to qualify for new-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). ESA is a fortnightly payment, it can be claimed alongside universal credit, but not alongside statutory sick pay or jobseeker’s allowance.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can help with extra living costs if you have both:

  • a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
  • difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition

You can get PIP even if you’re working, have savings or are getting most other benefits.  If you’re over 16, and under state pension age, you could get PIP to help with extra costs caused by a long-term illness or disability. To be eligible you should have a health condition or disability that affects your daily life or makes it hard for you to move around. It must have been going on for three months and be expected to continue for at least nine months (unless you’re terminally ill and have less than six months to live).

There are two parts to PIP:

  • a daily living part – if you need help with everyday tasks
  • a mobility part – if you need help with getting around

Whether you get one or both parts and how much you get depends on how difficult you find everyday tasks and getting around. The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself. A healthcare professional will assess you to work out what level of help you need.

Find out more about PIP and how to claim.

Disability Living Allowance for Adults

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people. If you already get DLA, your claim might end. You’ll get a letter telling you when this will happen and how you can apply for PIP.

Disability Living Allowance for Children

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • is under 16
  • has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability

Find out more on eligibility and how to claim Disability Living Allowance.

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance – helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you. 

To receive you should need help with personal support if you’re both:

  • physically or mentally disabled
  • State pension age or older

Find out more about Attendance Allowance and how to claim.

Additional Support

If you receive a benefit due to your health, you may be able to receive:

  • Water Sure Scheme – water saving devices and bill help
  • Help with Health Costs
  • Blue Badge
  • Bus Pass
  • Help with Heating Costs
  • Social Tariffs for Phone and Broadband

Find out more and how to claim additional PIP support.

Caring

If you are a carer for someone who has an illness or disability, there may be benefits, grants or other financial support available to you.

Carer’s Allowance

If you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and the person you care for is getting a benefit because of their disability. You can qualify for Carer’s Allowance whether you are in or out of work. However, you must not earn more than a set amount.

You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for, and you do not get paid extra if you care for more than one person. If someone else also cares for the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Allowance can affect the other benefits that you and the person you care for get. You have to pay tax on it if your income is over the Personal Allowance. Carer’s Allowance does not depend on national insurance contributions and is not means-tested, so it is not based on your personal income or savings, but earnings may affect your entitlement.  Find out more about Carer’s Allowance and how to claim.

Additional Support

For each week you get Carer’s Allowance you’ll automatically get National Insurance credits. You may also be able to apply for:

  • Support from your local council
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or out of work
  • Pension Credit if you’re over working age
  • Grants and bursaries to help pay for courses and training

If you live in Scotland and get Carer’s Allowance, you may also get Carer’s Allowance Supplement

Universal Credit

People who spend more than 35 hours per week caring for someone who is getting a benefit because of their disability get extra money included in their Universal Credit – find out more in our Low Income section

Carer’s Credit 

If you are under State Pension age and you are caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week. Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit that helps with gaps in your National Insurance record, which contributes towards your State Retirement Pension. 

Pension Credit

If you are caring for someone and you and your partner have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit. Pension Credit can increase your income, check out Older People section for more information.

Scotland

Young Carer Grant

Young Carer Grant is available in Scotland for young carers aged 16,17 and 18.

Carer’s Allowance Supplement

Carer’s Allowance Supplement is paid every six months. There is no need to apply for Carer’s Allowance Supplement. You will get this automatically if you get Carer’s Allowance and live in Scotland.

Our team is trained to help people access the state benefits they are entitled to. You can find out more about benefits that you may be entitled to by calling us on 0800 0093 8543 or complete the contact form and we will get back to you.  All advice is free and fully confidential.

Out of Work

Redundancy

If you are made redundant your redundancy payment won’t be treated as income when working out which benefits you can get. It will be treated as savings also known as capital. This means that the amount of your redundancy payment will be added to any other savings you already have.

If you have savings of more than £6,000, it will affect how much Universal Credit you can get. If you get pay in lieu of notice or holiday pay, this will affect how much Universal Credit you can get. If you have savings of over £16,000, you won’t be able to get Universal Credit. It won’t affect how much New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) you can get. The best way to check how this will affect you is to use look in the information on a Benefits Calculator.

 Job Seekers Allowance

Jobseeker’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are not in full-time employment (work less than 16 hours per week), can work and are looking for work. Type of benefit:

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is means tested – this has been replaced by Universal Credit.

New-style Jobseeker’s Allowance is non means tested and is calculated using your national insurance contributions. If you qualify, you can get New Style Job Seekers Allowance for up to 182 days. After this your work coach will talk to you about your options.

Your savings and capital (or your partner’s savings, capital and income) are not taken into account when claiming New Style JSA. However, your earnings and any payment you are getting from a pension can affect the amount you may receive.  While you receive New Style JSA you’ll be awarded Class 1 National Insurance credits, which can help towards your State Pension and other contributory benefits in the future. If you qualify for both New Style JSA and Universal Credit, any New Style JSA you receive will be taken into account as income for Universal Credit.

Find out more information on new-style Jobseekers Allowance.

Universal Credit

You may be entitled to Universal Credit for more information please check our Low Income section.

Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card

When you’ve been claiming certain benefits (including Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit) because you are out of work and looking for a job, after 3 months, you’re entitled to a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card. You can get half-price rail tickets and discounts on selected bus services for six months (18-24-year-olds) or nine months (over 25s). You can apply for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card at your local Jobcentre Plus.

Flexible Support

You might be able to use the Flexible Support Fund to help with the cost of travelling to interviews and training or with extra costs you might have in the first months of starting a new job. You can also apply to pay for upfront costs if you need to secure a childcare place. You can apply to the Flexible Support Fund at your local Jobcentre Plus.

Our team is trained to help people access the state benefits they are entitled to. You can find out more about benefits that you may be entitled to by calling us on 0800 0093 8543 or complete the contact form and we will get back to you.  All advice is free and fully confidential.

Older People

State Pension

Your State Pension is worked out using your National Insurance record. You’ll usually need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any State Pension. They do not have to be 10 qualifying years in a row. This means for 10 years at least one or more of the following applied to you:

  • you were working and paid National Insurance contributions
  • you were getting National Insurance credits for example if you were unemployed, ill or a parent or carer
  • you were paying voluntary National Insurance contributions
  • if you’ve lived or worked abroad, you might still be able to get some new State Pension.
  • you might also qualify if you’ve paid married women’s or widow’s reduced rate contributions.

You do not have to stop working when you reach State Pension age, but you’ll no longer have to pay National Insurance. You can also request flexible working arrangements if you want to keep working. Find out more about the new State Pension.

You have to claim your state pension, you will not get your new State Pension automatically. You should get a letter no later than 2 months before you reach State Pension age, telling you what to do. If you have not received an invitation letter, but you are within 4 months of reaching your State Pension age you can still make a claim. The quickest way to get your State Pension is to apply online.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges. If you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person, you may get additional financial support. Pension Credit is separate from your State Pension. You can get Pension Credit even if you have other income, savings or own your own home. If one of you is under pension age and one is over it, you should use our Benefits Calculator to check what benefits you might be able to claim. Find out more on Pension Credit in England, Scotland and Wales and Pension Credit in Northern Ireland, including how to claim.

If you get Pension Credit you can also get other help, such as:

  • Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in
  • Support for Mortgage Interest if you own the property you live in
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
  • Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
  • Help with your heating costs
  • Cold weather payment

To check the help you may receive from Pension Credit, take 10 minutes to use a Benefits Calculator.

Attendance Allowance

If you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you, Attendance Allowance can help with the additional costs. You do not have to have someone caring for you to claim. It’s paid at two different rates and the amount you get depends on the level of care that you need because of your disability. Attendance Allowance is paid weekly and is to help with personal support if you’re both:

  • physically or mentally disabled
  • State Pension age or older

Attendance Allowance considers your care needs and does not take into account your mobility. If you receive Attendance Allowance, any other benefits you may get can also increase, such as Pension Credit. If you do have a carer and you receive Attendance Allowance, they could get Carer’s Allowance if you have substantial caring needs. Find out more about support available for carers.

Our team is trained to help people access the state benefits they are entitled to. You can find out more about benefits that you may be entitled to by calling us on 0800 0093 8543 or complete the contact form and we will get back to you.  All advice is free and fully confidential.

 

Bereavement

If you are recently bereaved, there may be benefits, grants or other financial support available to you. To find out more about the benefits available for people who are recently bereaved, select from the list below:

Bereavement Support Payment

Bereavement Support Payment is a benefit paid to widows, widowers, or surviving civil partners who are bereaved on or after 6 April 2017. You may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner died in the last 21 months. To be able to claim the full amount available you need to claim within 3 months of your partner’s death. You can claim up to 21  months after their death but you’ll get fewer monthly payments.

You could be eligible if your partner either:

  • paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since 6 April 1975.
  • died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work.
  • When they died you must have been under State Pension age.

Find out more about Bereavement Payments, eligibility and how to claim.

Widowed Parent’s Allowance 

Widowed Parent’s Allowance (WPA) is being replaced by Bereavement Support Payment. You can only make a new claim for WPA if your husband, wife or civil partner died before 6 April 2017 and the cause of death has just been confirmed. 

Funeral Expenses Payment

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you could get a Funeral Expenses Payment (also called a Funeral Payment) if you get certain benefits and need help to pay for a funeral you’re arranging. Funeral Expenses Payment can help pay for some of the costs it will not usually cover all of the costs of the funeral.  How much you get depends on your circumstances. This includes any other money that’s available to cover the costs, for example from an insurance policy or the deceased person’s estate. You do not have to repay a funeral payment, but if the person who has died left money or property the Funeral Payment might have to be paid back out of that.  

If you live in Scotland, you can apply for a Funeral Support Payment. It has replaced Funeral Expenses Payment in Scotland. You can use the payment towards funeral costs for a baby, child or adult. This includes babies who were stillborn. It usually will not cover the full cost of the funeral, but it should help pay for some costs. It can be paid either to you or the funeral director who’s helping you plan the funeral. 

Children’s Funeral Fund – England only

If you are paying for the funeral of a child under 18 or a stillborn child and the funeral took place in England, you may be able to get help from the Children’s Funeral Fund. You can still apply for a Funeral Payment for any additional costs that weren’t covered by the Children’s Funeral Fund. The Children’s Funeral Fund is not means-tested. 

Dealing with bereavement is a difficult time, our team is here to offer you support and advice to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 0093 8543 or complete the contact form and we will get back to you.  All advice is free and fully confidential.

Benefits Calculators

Benefits calculators are independent and free to use, they are fully confidential and will not share any of your information.

Use an independent benefits calculator to find out:

  • what benefits you could get
  • how to claim

What you’ll need before you start, you’ll need accurate information about your:

  • savings
  • income, including your partner’s (from payslips, for example)
  • existing benefits and pensions (including anyone living with you)
  • outgoings (such as rent, mortgage, childcare payments)
  • Council Tax bill

Our team is trained to help people access the state benefits they are entitled to. You can find out more about benefits that you may be entitled to by calling us on 0800 0093 8543 or complete the contact form and we will get back to you.  All advice is free and fully confidential.

Terminology

Means-Tested Benefits

Some benefits are means-tested. In other words, the amount of income and capital you have can affect your entitlement. Means-tested benefits are available to people who can prove that their income and capital are under a certain level. If your means are greater than your needs (the amount the government estimates you need to live on), the benefit is reduced or may not be paid at all, so the amount you are entitled to can vary from one person to another. You can get these benefits even if you have not paid enough national insurance contributions.

Non Means-Tested Benefits

Non-means-tested benefits don’t take into account your income and savings in the same way as means-tested benefits do, but they do have their own rules which must be met

Contributory Benefits

These benefits are to replace earnings, if you lose your job or are unable to work because of illness or disability. Whether you get the benefit depends on if you (or in sometimes your partner) have paid or been credited with enough national insurance contributions. They are not means-tested, but if you have income in the form of earnings or pension payments the amount you get may be affected.

Non-contributory benefits

Most of these benefits are to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or caring for someone with a disability. There is no means-test and no national insurance contributions conditions, you just have to fit the rules for who can claim. They are usually ignored as income for means-tested benefits.

Statutory benefits

These benefits replace earnings if you are off work due to maternity / adoption / paternity or sickness. There is no means-test but there are earnings rules to meet to qualify. These benefits are paid through your employer.

 

 

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