What benefits advice could I get?
You should always check to make sure you’re getting the benefits you’re entitled to. You may be entitled to additional benefits that could help you greatly with housekeeping costs, bills, childcare and more.
Don’t presume that because no one has told you that you’re entitled to a certain benefit or allowance, you’re not eligible. Some benefits, such as Child Tax Credits, rely on you making a claim and won’t be given to you unless you do so. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
To check if you are entitled to any benefits, speak to the welfare benefits adviser at your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or use our free online benefits calculator.
The calculator is free to use, and the details you provide are anonymous. Before you start, make sure you have information about your savings, income, pensions and existing benefits (for you and your partner).
Below is a list of some benefits with their eligibility criteria:
Working Tax Credit
Although Working Tax Credit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people, you can still make a new claim dependent on:
- The hours of paid work you do each week
- Your income and circumstances
You must also:
- Work at least 30 hours per week if aged 25-59
- Work at least 16 hours per week if single with 1 or more children
- Work at least 16 hours per week if disabled
- Work at least 16 hours per week if aged 60 or over
- Usually work at least 24 hours per week jointly (1 at least 16 hours) if a couple with 1 or more children
Child Tax Credit
Although Child Tax Credit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people, you can still make a new claim if you receive the Severe Disability Premium or have had it in the past month and are still eligible for it.
If your child is 16 years old, you can claim up until 31st August after their 16th birthday.
Here are annual Child Tax Credit rates for 2019-2020:
Basic amount, known as family element
up to £545 a year
For each child, known as child element
up to £2,780 a year
For each disabled child
up to £3,355 a year
For each severely disabled child
up to £4,715 a year
This is for people aged between 16 and the age they can get pension credit. To be eligible, you must:
- Have a low income
- Work less than 16 hours per week
- Not be in full time study
- Not get Job Seeker’s Allowance or Employment Support Allowance
- Not have savings over £16,000
For more information, please visit https://www.gov.uk/income-support
Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – Work/Support Group
ESA offers support if you are ill or disabled. You could get financial support if you’re unable to work, as well personal help if you can work. To be eligible for ESA, you must:
- Be unable to work due to illness or disability
- Be under the State Pension age
- Not get Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay
- Not get Job Seekers Allowance
Universal Credit, for those who have access to it, is a combination of the following benefits, paid monthly (or twice a month for some people in Scotland):
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income Based Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Income Based Employment Support Allowance
You may be able to get Universal Credit if you are out of work or on a low income.
Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment can help you with some of the extra costs if you have a long term ill-health or disability. The amount you receive is based on how your condition affects your physical and mental wellbeing, rather than the condition itself.
Find out more about PIP and disability benefits advice on the gov.uk website.
Attendance Allowance helps if you have a severe disability and require somebody to help look after you. It is paid weekly at two different rates (£58.70 or £87.65), depending on the level of help you require.
You could get the weekly amount if you’re both physically or mentally disabled and at the state pension age or older. This does not cover mobility needs but other benefit you receive could increase as a result.
If you have a carer, they may receive a Carer’s Allowance if your needs are substantial.
A Carer’s Allowance is permitted for those who:
- Care for someone in receipt of a disability benefit for at least 35 hours per week
- Cannot earn more than £120 per week net
- Is over 16 years old
- Has been living in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years
For more information, please visit https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance
You can receive a pension credit if you are of the pension age or older. This income-related benefit is formed of two parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
A Guarantee Credit tops up income if it’s below £167.25 per week for single person and £255.25 per week for a couple. A Savings Credit is an additional payment for those who have saved money towards their own retirement – in a pension, for example.
You will not pay tax on a Pension Credit but you may not be eligible for it if you reached the State Pension age on or after 6th April 2016.
Your next steps
If you’d like further help on your finances, please contact our Advice Team on 0800 917 7819 to talk about any debt concerns you may have. You can visit our Benefits and Welfare Advice page here: https://www.payplan.com/advice/managing-debt/income-maximisation/benefits/
All figures and information correct as of April 2019.