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Other benefits

Check your entitlements

You, or the person you're looking after, may be entitled to benefits to top up your income, so it's worth checking to see if you're eligible. These benefits can be claimed by you or the person you're looking after, or both of you, depending on your circumstances.

For more information on the benefits and tax credits you may be able to claim as a carer, see the section Benefits for carers.

For more information on the benefits and tax credits that the person you're looking after can claim, see the section Benefits for the person you look after.

Top-up benefits are known as means-tested benefits because they're only paid if you have limited income and capital (savings, investments and property that is not your main home).

Your own income is taken into account as well as that of your spouse or partner. Apart from Pension Credit, if you have income above a certain amount you will not entitled to any benefit. If you have some capital, but it is below the amount which stops you getting any benefit, the amount of benefit you're paid may be reduced.

These benefits are paid in addition to other benefits to top up your income. Use the links below to check if you or the person you're looking after are entitled to one or more means-tested benefits.

You will only get one of the following four means-tested benefits:

  • Income Support: paid to people below the qualifying age for the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, if they're in one of the groups of people who can claim, such as carers or lone parents (see External links). It can also help with the interest part of your mortgage payments
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance: a benefit paid to people under 65 who have a limited capacity for work because of ill health or a disability. It can also help with the interest part of your mortgage payments
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance: paid to people who are actively seeking work. It can also help with the interest part of your mortgage payments
  • Pension Credit: This has two parts: the guarantee credit and the savings credit. The guarantee credit is paid to people who have reached the qualifying age and tops up their income. Between 2010 and 2020, the qualifying age for guarantee credit will move gradually from 60 to 65. You can check what your qualifying age will be on GOV.UK. The savings credit is paid to people aged 65 and over and rewards them for having some savings.

In addition to one of the means-tested benefits from the above list, you may also be able to claim Housing Benefit, paid to people who pay rent and have a low income, or Council Tax Reduction, if you're on a low income or claiming benefits.

Personal Independence Payment

In 8 April 2013, a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment replaced DLA for disabled people aged 16 to 64.

Being awarded Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA) increases the amount of income you can have while still receiving one of the means-tested benefits. If you've just started to receive DLA or AA, you may be entitled to a means-tested benefit, even if you have previously been turned down for one. Visit GOV.UK's Disability Benefits Centre for helpline information or use the Citizens Advice Bureau's online Adviceguide.

Entitlement to means-tested benefits often entitles you to other benefits such as free school meals, health benefits and social fund payments.

Also check if you're entitled to any tax credits, especially if you have any children.

Same sex couples and benefits

Same sex couples are treated in the same way as opposite sex couples in relation to their eligibility for means-tested benefits.

Co-habitation

If a same sex couple lives together in a relationship, they are treated in the same way as an opposite sex couple living together in a relationship.

Civil partnerships

If a same sex couple enters into a civil partnership, they are treated in the same way as an opposite sex couple who are married.

Both co-habitation and civil partnerships mean that their partner’s income will be taken into account when assessing their eligibility for means-tested benefits, which are based on income such as Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit and Housing Benefit. Tax credits may also be affected.

Non-means-tested benefits, which are not assessed on income, may also be affected in that same sex couples may now be entitled to pension and bereavement benefits where they previously weren’t.

If you have any change in circumstances, such as moving in together or entering into a civil partnership, you should seek advice from the office that pays each particular benefit you receive to check whether it might be affected.

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Page last reviewed: 15/08/2012

Next review due: 15/08/2014

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Media last reviewed: 17/07/2013

Next review due: 17/07/2015