Income Support (IS)

Who is it for?
People aged 16-59 who are not required to be available for work, with low income, savings below £16,000 and not working more than 16 hours a week.  People who became unable to work due to ill-health after October 27th 2008 now claim Employment Support Allowance instead.

Who pays it?
Job Centre Plus

Which leaflet? And how is it claimed?
A1 claim pack.  Claims can be made by phone (0800 0556688) and normally followed up with a work-focussed interview at Job Centre but paper claims are still acceptable and claimants should not be refused access to them.  .

What are the age limits?
16-59 (but special rules for most 16/17 year olds)

National Insurance based?

Means tested?
Yes. Tariff income (£1 pw assumed income for every £250 above lower limit) starts at £6,000 and there is an £16,000 upper savings limit. (Tariff income starts at £10,000 if in residential care).

How long does it last?
Until circumstances change.

What is effect on other benefits?
A passport to most other means tested benefits, e.g  free school meals, housing and council tax benefit and health benefits.

Is it taxable?
No (unless claimant is sick)

Increases for dependants?
Not for new claims after April 2004. Existing claimants with children will get increases within IS for additional children until transfer to combination of IS/CTC takes place in 2011/12. 

Payable if in EU or other?
Very limited: normal maximum 4 weeks; 8 weeks if child getting treatment.

Points to watch
Always check for fresh or increased entitlement if DLA (care) awarded. Income support for people who are unfit for work replaced by Employment Support Allowance from October 2008. Since November 2009, lone parents will have to register for work and switch to JSA when youngest child reaches 10 (previously 12 and 16 before that). This won’t apply to parents of disabled children or foster carers

You can view details of benefit amounts on the Community Care Inform website

The A-Z of Benefits 2009 was compiled by Gary Vaux and Community Care Inform


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