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Income Support

What is it?

Income Support is an income-based benefit which can be paid to certain people who are on a low income.

It is being replaced by Universal Credit. New claims can now only be made for income support if you either:

  • get the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) in an existing income-based benefit


  • got or were entitled to the SDP in the last month and are still eligible for it

This is known as the SDP gateway. For more information visit the DWP website.

The majority of people who would previously have qualified for income support now need to claim Universal Credit instead and this should be done online by visiting the DWP website.

Am I eligible?

If you are able to make a claim for Income Support, rather than Universal Credit, because of the SDP gateway then all of the following must apply to you (and your partner if you have one) for you to qualify for income support:

  • 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 are aged between 16 and Pension Credit qualifying age

In addition at least one of the following circumstances must also apply:

  • you are pregnant and due to have your baby within the next 11 weeks
  • you have had a baby within the last 15 weeks
  • you are a lone parent (including a lone adoptive parent) with a child under 5
  • you are a lone foster parent with a child under 16
  • you are a single person looking after a child under 16 before they're adopted
  • you are a carer
  • you are on maternity, paternity or parental leave
  • you are unable to work and receive Statutory Sick Pay, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • you are in full-time education (not university), aged between 16 and 20, and a parent
  • you are in full-time education (not university), aged between 16 and 20, and not living with a parent or someone acting as a parent
  • you are 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
  • you are in custody or due to attend court or a tribunal

If you are unsure if you are one of the people who can still claim income support (due to having a severe disability premium) please seek advice from the Tackling Poverty team before claiming Universal Credit.

How do I apply?

The quickest way for you to apply for Income Support is by calling 0800 169 0350.

You can also apply by post by sending a claim form to your local Jobcentre Plus.

What if I already get it?

If you are already getting income support then you may be moved over to Universal Credit at some point in the future. The DWP will contact you when you have to claim Universal Credit. You do not need to do anything now.

Can I challenge the decision?

You can challenge a decision about income support if you are unhappy with it.

How to contact us

You can get in touch with the Tackling Poverty team by emailing or by calling us on 01698 332551.

Page last updated:
16 Sep 2022

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