3. Eligibility

Use a benefits calculator to check if you can get Income Support before you apply. You may need to claim Universal Credit instead.

To be eligible for Income Support, you must be between 16 and Pension Credit qualifying age.

All of the following must also apply to you (and your partner if you have one):

  • you have no income or a low income, and no more than £16,000 in savings
  • you’re not in full-time paid work (you can work less than 16 hours a week, and your partner can work less than 24 hours a week)
  • you’re not eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
  • you live in England, Scotland or Wales - there are different rules for Northern Ireland

You must also be at least one of the following:

  • pregnant
  • a lone parent (including lone foster or adoptive parent) with a child under 5
  • a carer
  • on maternity, paternity or parental leave
  • unable to work and you receive Statutory Sick Pay, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance (or are appealing a decision about work capability for these benefits)
  • in full-time education (not university), aged between 16 and 20, and a parent
  • in full-time education (not university), aged between 16 and 20, and not living with a parent or someone acting as a parent
  • a refugee learning English - your course needs to be at least 15 hours a week, and you must have started it within 12 months of entering the UK
  • in custody or due to attend court or a tribunal

You don’t need a permanent address - for example, you can still claim if you:

  • sleep rough
  • live in a hostel or care home

You can’t get Income Support and Universal Credit at the same time.

If your circumstances change

Tell Jobcentre Plus about any change in your circumstances such as your address, income, savings or the people in your household.

You might be committing benefit fraud if you choose not to report a change.