Guide to benefits

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new type of financial support for people of working age who are looking for work or on a low income. It merges together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now.

Housing Benefit 

Housing Benefit is available to people on a low income who are renting their homes to help them to afford to pay the rent.

Council Tax Reduction

The government wants us to continue to support households on low incomes to pay their Council Tax. But they have given us less money to fund this support. We have had to make tough decisions on how to use the limited funding we have been given. Most households of working age will be entitled to less support under the new scheme and be expected to contribute towards their Council Tax.

Tax Credits

Tax credits (external link) are payments from the government. If you're responsible for at least one child or young person, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you work, but are on a low income, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit. You can often get both types of tax credits. They aren't taxable.

Job Seekers Allowance

Job Seeker’s Allowance (external link) will help you financially while you look for work. You usually have to be over 18 and looking for work in addition to meeting other rules for eligibility. If you are aged 18-24 you may receive up to £57.90 per week, if aged 25 or over you may receive up to £73.10 per week.

Income support

Income Support (external link) is extra money you may be able to get if you have no income or you are on a low income, you’re working less than 16 hours a week and haven’t signed on as unemployed.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit (external link) is an income related benefit designed to help with daily living costs if you are over State Pension age and on a low income. It is made up of two parts:

  • Guarantee Credit - Tops up your weekly income to £201.05 (single people) or £306.85 (couples)
  • Savings Credit - An extra payment for people who have saved some money towards their retirement, e.g. a pension.

The government has made available an online Pension Credit calculator (external link), which you can use to check how much you may be eligible to claim.

You don’t pay tax on Pension Credit.

Incapacity Benefit 

Incapacity Benefit (external link) has been replaced by Employment Support Allowance (ESA) - Jobcentre Plus will review your Incapacity Benefit claim to see if you're capable of work or eligible for ESA. ESA is only for new claims. You'll carry on getting Incapacity Benefit if you're already receiving it.

Employment Support Allowance

If you’re ill or disabled you may be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (external link).  ESA offers you financial support  if you are unable to work and personalised help so that you can work if you are able to. You can apply for ESA if you're employed, self-employed or unemployed. 

Personal Independence Payments

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (external link) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64. You could get between £21.80 and £139.75 a week. The rate depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself. You’ll need an assessment to work out the level of help you get. Your award will be regularly reassessed to make sure you’re getting the right support.

Disability Living Allowance 

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (external link) is no longer available for over 16s. New claims for DLA can only be made if you’re claiming for a child under 16 - this is known as DLA for children.  Anyone over 16 must apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead of DLA. PIP is gradually replacing DLA for people aged 16 to 64, even for those with an indefinite or lifetime DLA award.

Child Benefit 

Child Benefit (external link) is a payment that you can claim for your child. It is usually paid every four weeks but can sometimes be paid weekly. There are separate rates payable for each child. The payment can be claimed by anyone who qualifies, whatever their income or savings. 

Attendance Allowance 

You could get £55.10 or £82.30 a week to help with personal care because you’re physically or mentally disabled and you’re aged 65 or over. This is called Attendance Allowance (external link). It’s paid at two different rates and how much you get depends on the level of care that you need because of your disability. The other benefits you get can increase if you get Attendance Allowance.

Maternity Allowance 

The amount you can get depends on your eligibility. You can claim Maternity Allowance (external link) as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due.

Benefit for 16 & 17 year olds

16 and 17 year olds (external link) are not generally entitled to claim unemployment benefits as they are guaranteed a Job Skill place under the Department of Employment and Learning. However there are some exceptions.

Need help?

If you have any questions about benefits please contact us.

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