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About Income Support

Income Support is a benefit that's paid to top up your money if you have a low income.

Why claim Income Support?

Even if the amount of benefit you get is quite small, it's still worth claiming Income Support because it entitles you to extra help, such as:

  • help with your housing costs if you have a mortgage
  • if you pay rent, some, if not all, of it will be paid, but you'll need to claim a separate benefit called Housing Benefit  
  • you may be able to get a Council Tax Reduction
  • you may be entitled to free prescriptions and dental treatment, help with hospital fares and free school meals
  • you may also be able to get help with housing grants

Eligibility for Income Support

To get Income Support, you have to:

  • be over 16 and under Pension Credit qualifying age
  • be pregnant, or a carer, or a lone parent with a child under five or, in some cases, unable to work because you’re sick or disabled
  • have no income or a low income
  • be working less than 16 hours a week

To qualify for Income Support, you will not be expected to "sign on" as available for work – this will depend on your particular circumstances. Otherwise, if you need to claim benefits because you're unable to work due to illness or disability, you must claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

The rules can be quite complicated, so it may be worth speaking to an adviser at your local authority, Citizens Advice or a local carers’ centre.

Find out about Income Support eligibility on GOV.UK.

How to claim Income Support

You can claim Income Support using the claim form (PDF, 324kb), or by calling 0800 055 6688 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. If you need to re-claim Income Support after a break of no more than 26 weeks, you can do a "rapid re-claim", which requires less detail.

Read more about claiming income-related benefits.

The official government source of information on benefits is GOV.UK.


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Page last reviewed: 25/11/2014

Next review due: 25/11/2016

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