Who can apply for Income Support
You can apply for Income Support if you:
are on a low household income
pass the Income Support residence test
are working, looking for work or exempt from looking for work
Income Support residence test
Income Support policy guidelines
Amount of Income support you can receive
You can call us to get a quick estimate of how much Income Support you might get. It will vary according to your household circumstances, eg:
if you live alone or as a couple
the number of dependent children or young adults living with you
the age and income of non-dependants living with you
any disability and medical needs, including needs of any dependants if you're caring for someone
any earnings, other income or savings you or your partner have
Income Support rates
How to claim Income Support
You need to complete an Income Support claim form and provide specific documents depending on your circumstances. You can download an example of the form below.
If you have a long term illness or disability, you’ll need to complete an extra form.
You must return your form and all the relevant documents within 14 days or the start date of your claim will be affected.
Make sure you provide all the relevant documents, this will reduce the time it takes us to process your claim. If we require any additional information we will contact you directly.
We'll write to you to confirm that your claim has been processed with details of any entitlement.
Checklist of documents that covers most circumstances
An example of the Income Support claim form
Support for people with long term illnesses or disabilities
Looking for work or exempt from working
If you’re an adult under 65, you’re expected to work full-time (35 hours a week) or to look for full-time work.
Some people are only expected to look for part-time work, and some people are not expected to work at all.
If you’re expected to work, you must register as a jobseeker and we will help you look for work. You must visit the Social Security Department regularly and prove that you’re actively seeking work.
If you don’t prove that you’re looking for work
If you don’t do enough to look for work, you’ll receive a written warning.
If you ignore this warning, your benefit will be cut and all payments to your Income Support Household will eventually be stopped.
If you leave work without good reason, your Income Support claim will also be affected.
Income Support: what happens if you leave your job or fail to look for work
Who is covered under an Income Support claim
Your Income Support benefit is based on the needs and income of your family unit, which is known as an 'Income Support Household'.
A ‘household’ can be any of the following:
one person living alone
a couple (married, unmarried or civil partners)
a family living together at the same address with children under school leaving age or still in full time education
A young adult who is a jobseeker will be included in the family household up to the age of 25.
Any other family members won’t be part of your Income Support Household, even if they share a property with you.
For example, if an elderly relative lives with their son or daughter, the child and the parent would each be a separate Income Support Household and would have to make a separate claim.
Each adult who is included in an Income Support Household must pass the Income Support residence test.
Income Support residence test
Special payments, exceptional payments and emergencies
Certain households may qualify for other payments, including help with heating costs or those with a long-term illness, disability or very young children.
Special payments may also be made to meet urgent or essential expenses. The Social Security minister can also make them to people who wouldn’t normally qualify for Income Support.
Special payments: help with emergency costs
Food Costs Bonus and Cold Weather Bonus
Appealing an Income Support decision
If you’re unhappy with an Income Support decision, you can ask for it to be reviewed.
If you still don’t agree with the decision, you can appeal to an independent tribunal.
If you think a Social Security decision is wrong