Getting Help with Income Support Claims and Questions
If you’re currently in a job with a low salary, or you are simply unable to work then you may be eligible to claim income support. The amount you may be entitled to will depend on your exact circumstances, however if you qualify you could be entitled to a minimum of £57.90 a week.
Although this benefit can be claimed alongside others such as Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefits, you can check your eligibility by getting in touch with the Jobcentre Plus on the number listed above.
What is Income Support?
This vital financial lifeline is a form of benefit paid by the government that you are entitled to if you have a low income job that doesn’t currently meet your living costs, whether it’s accommodation fees or feeding and clothing your family. The main principle of the benefit is to offer those who may be suffering financial difficulties the means to maintain a satisfactory lifestyle.
If you have previously claimed Jobseekers Allowance whilst you were actively seeking employment and have now found work, Income Support may be the next logical step to take, particularly if your current income is not providing enough money to give you the basics for living.
Although this particular welfare benefit has been provided by the government for a number of years, many are unaware that they’re eligible to claim. By calling and speaking to the Income Support helpline, they can advise you if the benefit is suitable for you and explain the criteria for claiming.
Am I eligible to claim?
To be eligible for income support you must match all five of the following criteria:
- You must be between the ages of 16 and Pension Credit qualifying age (your qualifying age will depend on your date of birth)
- You must be a resident in England, Scotland or Wales (Residents of Northern Ireland should follow a different process which can be found here)
- You should have either no income at all or a low income and have no more than £16,000 in savings. If you have a partner, their income and savings will also be taken into account.
- You should be working less than 16 hours a week – and if you have a partner, they must work no more than 24 hours per week. You could still qualify if you do unpaid voluntary work.
- You must be pregnant, a single parent (or be the sole carer) of a child under 5 or, in some circumstances, unable to work due to disability or sickness.
If you are aged between 16 to 20 and still in full-time education you may be able to claim if you meet the following criteria:
- You are a parent
- You are not currently living with a parent, or someone who is acting with parental responsibility i.e a relative
- You are a refugee who is currently learning English
Payments can be backdated up to a maximum of 3 months, however when you claim you may have to explain why your claim was not made sooner. Claims can be made by calling the Income Support Contact Number above.
Reasons why you may not be eligible
There are a number of reasons you may not qualify to receive Income Support. Although you may be able to claim together with some other benefits, a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance or ESA will mean you’re not eligible as you’re already receiving the maximum amount of benefit. In addition, those with savings exceeding £16,000 or considered to have enough money to support themselves may not be eligible to claim.
To find out more information, make a complaint or appeal a decision you can call the customer service helpline during their opening hours.
How much Income Support will I get?
Every claimant is entitled to a basic payment (a personal allowance) and depending on your circumstances you may be entitled to an enhanced or premium payment.
The basic payment for a single claimant between the ages of 16-24 or a lone parent of 16-17 is £57.90. If you are over 25 or a lone parent over the age of 18, the claim amount will be £73.10.
The same rates apply to couples, however some couples may be entitled to a higher-rate payment. You can claim this if either of you is responsible for or a child, or if each of you would be eligible for one of the following if you weren’t a couple:
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
You may be entitled to an additional ‘premium’ payment depending on your situation, for example you are disabled or you care for someone with a disability, or your partner is a pensioner.
Payments are normally paid into a bank account every two weeks.
How do I claim?
The easiest way to claim for Income Support is to call the support number above to speak to a member of staff on the helpline. They can also answer any queries you have regarding an existing application or a current claim. The availability of the helpline is Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (except for Bank Holidays).
If you’re calling from abroad, you can find an alternative local rate number on the official website.
Alternatively you may wish to apply by post – you can do so by sending a claim form to your local Jobcentre Plus.
You can claim for yourself, and you may also claim on behalf of your partner if they have not done so themselves previously. Whether you apply by phone or post, you will be expected to provide details about the following:
- Your income
- Your partner’s income (if applicable)
- Your health/disability if unable to work
- Where you live
- Who lives with you (i.e. any children or dependents)
You will usually need to provide your National Insurance number and date of birth whenever you call.
How long will my claim take?
Because each claim is based on individual circumstances, it is therefore unique so the time taken to reach a decision can vary. Some cases may be simple to administer, however others may be of such a complex nature that they may take a lot longer to process. In order to find out how long your individual case will be it is best to call the Income Support contact number and one of the helpful assistants can update you on the progress of your application.
My claim for Income Support failed – can I appeal?
If you are disappointed with the outcome of your Income Support claim you may wish to appeal the decision. If you are unhappy the best way to resolve the issue is to call the support line so that your case can be reviewed as quickly as possible.
If you would like to make a formal appeal, they will be able to run through the process with you and let you know which steps you need to take. This can often be a long and complicated process, but you will be given support and the appropriate assistance to proceed.
What if my circumstances change?
If your circumstances change and you no longer need to claim benefits, you must inform Customer Services as a matter of priority. If there are any changes to your situation that you feel may affect the benefit you receive, you should always report this by telephone to the support number as above.
This may include:
- A change of address
- A new job
- your income changes or your savings increase
- the number of people who live with you changes
You have a legal obligation to update the Jobcentre Plus whenever you have a change to any of your personal circumstances. If you’re unsure whether a recent change will affect your claim, call the phone number listed above for further assistance.