What benefits can I claim?
We know the welfare benefits system can be difficult to understand.
This quick guide looks at the main benefits available – and who gets them.
Housing Benefit helps with the cost of rent if you are on a low income. It’s paid if you’re in or out of work. You can claim Housing Benefit at any age. The amount you’ll get depends on:
- your age
- your income
- if you are claiming as a single person
- if you are claiming for you and your family
- if you are claiming as part of a couple.
You may get extra benefits if you are disabled or a carer.
Universal Credit is a single monthly benefit for working-age people on a low income or who are out of work. It replaces six existing benefits, including Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.
You are of working age if you are over 18 and under Pension Credit age. You need to sign a ‘Claimant Commitment’ which sets out what you’ll do to find work. If you don’t do this you may be sanctioned and your benefits cut.
You can also click on this short video for more information.
You can also click on how Universal Credit can help you into work video.
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is a benefit for people who are unemployed but who can work. You must live in the UK to claim JSA. If you are from overseas, or have recently come to live in the UK, you may have difficulty claiming, depending on your immigration status.
To get JSA you also have to meet several other conditions, which include showing that you are looking for work. Claim online on the GOV.UK website www.gov.uk or claim on the phone by calling Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.
Employment Support Allowance
Employment Support Allowance is for people who are unable to work because of illness or disability. It also provides personalised support to those who are able to work.
You will get a medical check called the Work Capability Assessment. This is used to assess what you can do, rather than what you cannot do.
Benefits for over 65s
The State Pension is based on National Insurance contributions and is paid when you reach pension age. State Pension age is currently 65 for men and is gradually increasing for women from 60 to 65 – it is 63 from April 2016.
There are two parts to Pension Credit – you may get one or both of them:
- Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level set by the UK Government.
- Savings Credit is extra money you receive if you’ve got some savings or your income is higher than the basic State Pension. You can’t claim Savings Credit if you reach State Pension age after 6 April 2016.
Disability and Carer's benefits
Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance is a benefit that helps with the extra costs you may face if you’re disabled.
Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment is a new benefit for people who need help taking part in everyday life or who find it difficult to get around.
It replaces Disability Living Allowance for people aged 16–64 who have extra care needs or mobility needs. It supports those in most need to remain independent.
Attendance Allowance is for people aged 65 or over who have care needs. Claiming Attendance Allowance won’t reduce any other income you receive.
You must have needed help with your care needs for at least six months. If you’re terminally ill, you can make a claim straight away. To ask for a claim pack, call the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0345 605 6055.
For people aged 16 or over who spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who is ill or who has a disability. To ask for a claim pack, call 0345 608 4321 or by filling in the Carer’s Allowance claim form.