3. Eligibility

To qualify for Income Support you must be all 5 of the following:

  • between 16 and Pension Credit qualifying age
  • pregnant, or a carer, or a lone parent with a child under 5 or, in some cases, unable to work because you’re sick or disabled
  • you have no income or a low income and no more than £16,000 in savings (your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account)
  • working less than 16 hours a week (and your partner works less than 24 hours a week)
  • living in England, Scotland or Wales - there are different rules for Northern Ireland

You don’t need a permanent address, eg you can still claim if you sleep rough or live in a hostel or care home.

You might still qualify if you do unpaid voluntary work or go on parental or paternity leave.

Also, you qualify if you’re aged 19 or younger, in full-time secondary education (including A levels) and one of the following:

  • a parent
  • not living with a parent or someone acting as a parent
  • a refugee learning English

You can also qualify up until the age of 21 if you’re one of the above, are orphaned or estranged from your parents and enrolled in education.

Use a benefits calculator to check your eligibility.

When you won’t qualify

You won’t usually qualify if you:

  • have savings above £16,000
  • need permission to enter the UK
  • get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
  • are a young person being looked after by a local authority

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.