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Frequently Asked Questions - Income Support

Who is eligible for Income Support?

Income Support is non-contributory but means-tested. This means that it is not linked to National Insurance contributions. However, if you have capital (including savings, shares and property other than your own house) of over 8,000 you cannot usually claim Income Support. For pensioners (all people over 60), the capital limit is 12,000. It is not taxable. It is payable to people aged 18 years and over, however some 16 and 17 year olds may qualify. Income Support is claimed from the Benefits Agency and can entitle you to other benefits.

How is it calculated?

The first 3,000 of savings are ignored. A tariff of 1 is added to your weekly income for every 250 or part of it between 3,000 and 8,000. The calculation includes additions for mortgage interest, ground rent and certain other charges. Pensioners' savings are ignored up to 6,000.

The calculation is based upon the circumstances of the claimant and their family and can include additions for adults and children.

Income Support is available to those not working (who do not have to sign-on as available for work) or those who are working for less than 16 hours per week, for example:

  • Single parents

  • Carers

  • People unable to work due to ill health or disability

  • People over 60 (pensioners)

Income Support is usually paid weekly or fortnightly in arrears. A claim for Income Support will trigger involvement from the Child Support Agency.

Which premiums are payable as part of Income Support?

The following premiums can be paid as part of your income support as well as your personal allowances and any housing costs. Premiums are added to your basic personal allowances and are intended to help with extra expenses caused by age, disability or the cost of children. There are seven different weekly premiums. Each one has specific qualifying conditions and they are:

1) Family Premium

This is awarded if you have a dependant child aged under 19. It is not applicable to new claimants.

2) Disabled Child Premium

This is for each child who lives with you, who is either registered blind or receives Disability Living Allowance.

3) Carer Premium

You qualify for this if you or your partner are getting or are treated as getting Invalid Care Allowance.

4) Pensioner Premiums

You qualify for a pensioner premium if you, or your partner are aged 60 or over. There is a single person premium and a couple premium (even if only one partner qualifies).

5) Disability Premium

This is payable only while the person who qualifies is aged under 60. The qualifying conditions for disability premium are applied for you or your partner:

  • Registered blind.

  • Getting one of the following benefits: Constant Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Disability Working Allowance, long-term Incapacity Benefit, Mobility Supplement, Severe Disability Allowance.

  • Still getting help under the pre-1976 vehicle scheme, e. g. an invalid tricycle.

6) Enhanced Disability Premium

You may be eligible for this where at least one member of the family receives the higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance.

7) Severe Disability Premium

This can be awarded on top of the Disability Premium or Pensioner Premium.

To qualify:

  • You must be an Income Support Claimant, who is in receipt of the middle or higher rate of the care component of the Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance.

  • No-one gets Invalid Care Allowance for looking after you and nobody aged over 18 lives with you who is not getting a qualifying benefit.