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Income Support - What is Income Support?

Find out more about Income Support.

What is Income Support?

Income Support helps people who do not have enough to live on. It is only available for certain groups of people who do not get Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance and are not in full time employment. 

Income Support is being replaced by Universal Credit.  Please go to the ‘Can I get Income Support?’ page in this guide for information on who can still claim Income Support.

If you qualify for Income Support, the actual amount you get depends on your circumstances.

Income support is a means-tested benefit which means entitlement is based on your income and savings and other capital, which will be looked at to see if they are low enough for you to qualify.

Income Support can be paid on its own if you have no other income or can top-up other benefits or part time earnings to the basic amount the law says you need to live on.

You do not have to have paid national insurance contributions to qualify for Income Support.

If you are making a claim for Income Support and you have children, you should claim Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit as well.

You can’t claim Income Support if you are claiming Universal Credit. If you live in an area where Universal Credit has been introduced and are eligible to claim it you will not be able to make a new claim for Income Support and will need to claim Universal Credit instead.

Applies to: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Age rules: You must usually be 18 or over but under Pension Credit age. Some 16 and 17 year olds can get Income Support though - see our section for Young People

Type of benefit: Means tested

Taxable: No (in most instances)

Administered by: Department for Work and Pensions - Jobcentre Plus


Updated: December 2018

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