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Since one of the key issues surrounding benefits is ignorance of what's out there we have created a list of the main ones so that you can go and claim what you're entitled to!
Remember if you have any questions just ask in our forum.
The most commonly known benefit is probably Income Support. It's designed for people who are on low incomes, and those who are recognised as being unable to work.
To claim income support you must
- be 16 or over
- not working more than 16 hrs per week
- not in full time employment
- not in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseekers allowance.Other groups which should try and claim are:
Whether or not you're entitled to Income Support is dependent on any other sources of income or savings/capital you might have. For example, a person will be ineligible if they have over £16,000 of savings.
- single parents
- those on parental leave
Jobseeker's AllowanceTo apply for Job seekers Allowance you must be :
- in the process of 'actively seeking' employment,
- below pensionable age
- Older than 18 years
- either out of work, or working an average of less than 16 hrs a week
- residing in Great Britain
Whilst on JA you will be expected to show regular evidence of actively seeking work whilst you are claiming the benefit. More information can be found at your local jobcentre.
Working Families' Tax CreditUnlike Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support, this tax credit is designed for people in paid employment. Eligibility is likely if you are either single or married/co-habiting, in paid employment (or self-employed). It is designed to help families whose income is below a certain amount, by providing tiered tax credits which depend on the household annual income. More information can be found by calling the national Tax Credit Helpline - 0845 609 5000.
There is also Children's Tax Credit for families with more than one child which is paid to the family, at a rate depending on the age and personal circumstances of the child and family. For example, if the child has a disability, there will be a higher payment. Again, the Tax Credit Helpline can advise on your circumstances.
Child BenefitChild Benefit is for people raising families, and is paid per child. Unlike many other benefits, it's not affected by either income or savings. It can be claimed for
- all children under 16,
- children under 19 years of age who are studying full-time up to A-level, NVQ 3 or equivalent standards
- children under 18 years of age registered with Connexions / Careers Services.
You don't actually have to be the child's parent to claim, but you have to be responsible for the child. Speak to the Child Benefit Centre on 08701 555 540.
Housing BenefitThis is paid by the local council and is designed to assists with rent payments where your landlord is the local council, private landlord or social housing association. It's income tested and designed for those on low incomes. As with council tax benefit, it doesn't matter if you're claiming other benefits or work full time, but savings of £16k or more will affect whether you're entitled to claim, and for how much. You can find out more by speaking to your Council or Social Security Office
Council Tax BenefitThis benefit is paid by the council if you're eligible for assistance paying your Council Tax. It doesn't matter if you are claiming other benefits, or even currently get a council tax discount. In fact, even if you're in full-time work, you may find you can claim this benefit if you are on a low income and have savings of less than £16k. Call your council for further details.
Disability Living AllowanceYou can claim this allowance if you need support or help looking after yourself. The allowance doesn't affect any jobseeker's/income support benefits, but rates of payment depend very much on the extent of your disability. These payments aren't affected by income /savings and can be paid to children as well as adults. However, those aged over 65 cannot claim it.
Claimants must also demonstrate that they've required assistance for three months prior to any claim, and that they will need this help for at least a further 6 months. Note however that you may not be able to claim Disability Living allowance if you are currently in a hospital, or living in residential care. Speak to your council for further details.
Incapacity BenefitThis is claimed when a person can't claim Statutory Sick pay, but is only applicable if the person was under the state pensionable age when the illness occurred. There are various different benefits which depend on incapacity/sickness duration, age, and national insurance payments. As there are various categories of payment and eligibility, this benefit should be discussed with your Social Services Office.
Invalid Care AllowanceThis carers allowance supports carers working in excess of 35 hours a week for a person who claims either attendance, disability, war pensions or industrial injuries disablement allowances. The claimant must be between the ages of 16 and 65, and cannot claim if income is over a certain band, or the carer is currently in full-time education. This allowance can also affect the eligibility of other benefits, so should be discussed with your local authority.
State Retirement PensionThis pension is paid to women over sixty years of age and men aged over sixty five years of age. Currently a single person's allowance is £67.50, and a married couple can claim £107.90 - though this will change year on year with the adjustment affects of inflation. Qualification is only possible if claimants have paid sufficient NI contributions over their working lives. Again, the local Social Security office can help you with more information.