What counts as income

Usually, what you’re entitled to is based on your income for the last tax year (6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021).

Income includes:

  • money from employment before tax and National Insurance, including if you cannot work but you’re still getting paid (‘on furlough’) - check your P60s, P45s or payslips
  • earnings if you’re self-employed before tax and National Insurance, including grants from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - check your Self Assessment tax return
  • money from some coronavirus (COVID-19) payments
  • benefits from your employer (check your P11D)
  • certain state benefits
  • money from a pension - including your State Pension
  • interest on savings
  • your partner’s income - if you make a joint claim
  • UK company dividends
  • profit from a property you own or rent out in the UK
  • earnings from the Rent a Room Scheme above £7,500 (or £3,750 if you’re a joint owner)
  • payment above £30,000 because your job ended

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has detailed guidance if you need help working out your income.


Income includes money from UK state benefits (or their foreign equivalents) except income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or ‘tax-free’ benefits. Tax-free benefits include:

  • Child Benefit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • the foreign equivalents of UK tax-free benefits

To support your claim, keep records of your income, bills, payslips, benefits, tax credits, childcare and child’s education for the current tax year and at least 2 years before that.