3. Eligibility

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

  • 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
  • between 16 and Pension Credit qualifying age
  • 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 must also work less than 24 hours a week (you may still qualify if you do unpaid voluntary work or go on parental or paternity leave).
  • living in England, Scotland or Wales - there are different rules for Northern Ireland

Also, you qualify if you’re in full-time education (excluding university), are aged between 16 and 20 and are one of the following:

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

You’ll continue to receive Income Support until your course finishes if you’re orphaned or estranged from your parents and it ends the same year that you turn 21.

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

When you won’t qualify

You won’t usually qualify if you:

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

Use a benefits calculator to check your eligibility.

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.