What Benefits Am I Entitled To?
Lots of people think that benefits are just for anyone who’s out of work – but that simply isn’t the case. Believe it or not, there are benefits available for even quite well-paid individuals and families, so it’s important to understand what you’re entitled to make sure you’re not missing out.
Here, we’ll take a look at the kind of benefits that are available – and help you understand which benefits you can claim.
Find out if you qualify to write off up to 81% of your unsecured debts.Check if you qualify
Am I eligible for benefits?
It’s estimated that nearly 7.5 million households in the UK are entitled to benefits that do not claim – that’s almost £16 billion in benefits payments that go unclaimed.
If you’re struggling with debt, you’ll know that every a little bit of support can make all the difference – so it’s worth exploring whether or not there are benefits you or your partner might be entitled to.
We’ve put together a detailed list of benefits here – along with a little information about the kinds of individuals who may be entitled and able to claim.
Everyone’s circumstances are a little different – so there’s no saying for certain that you’ll be definitely be entitled – but if you think you are, it’s well worth talking to an advisor at the Job Centre or calling the Department of Work and Pensions to get some more information.
What kind of benefits are available?
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to benefits – so even if you think you’re in a similar position to a friend or a family member, you should always explore what’s available to make sure you’re not missing out.
There are too many different benefits to simply list – so we’ve put them into categories to make them easier to explore. This way, you can read through categories that are best suited to you:
- Benefits to help if you’re on a low income
- Benefits if you work or are looking for work
- Benefits designed to support families
- Benefits for elderly people or people with health conditions
Be sure to check through each list though – remember; everyone’s circumstances are different, so you may find there’s a relevant benefit for you in each of these sections:
Benefits to help if you're on a low income
There are some benefits there are there to support someone with a low income to meet their day-to-day costs of living. They include:
This is a payment made to anyone who cannot look for work or are not expected to. In most parts of the UK, this is now part of the Universal Credit benefit.
Income-related employment and support allowance
This is a benefit that’s paid if your circumstances mean you cannot work or you can only work very limited hours. Like income support, this is another benefit that most parts of the UK now include in Universal Credit.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit that’s designed to ensure most individuals over government pension age receive a minimum income. The amount you can receive depends on your National Insurance contributions through your working life.
Housing benefit is a local authority payment that’s made to individuals or families on a lower income who would otherwise have difficultly paying their rent or housing costs.
Council tax reduction
A council tax bill reduction an income related-benefit sometimes available for someone who may otherwise struggle to pay their council tax because of a limited income.
Mortgage interest support
If you get certain benefits already, you may also be entitled to support with your mortgage payments in the form of a loan.
Budgeting loans and advances
If you can’t afford essentials or items for your home, you may be able to get an advance or an interest-free loan to help you purchase things you need.
If you have no other way of paying, government support is available to help towards funeral costs.
Cold weather payments
If the area you live in experiences a very cold spell, individuals who get certain benefits may also get help with the energy costs with an extra weekly payment.
Benefits if you work or are looking for work
Some benefits are designed to help if you cannot find work – or need their income boosting to meet their needs. These benefits include:
Working tax credit
Working tax credit now comes under the ‘Universal Credit’ scheme in most of the country – but was previously available to top up low-paid workers income.
Income-based Jobseeker Allowance (JSA)
Jobseeker’s allowance is a short-term benefit designed to help with finances while someone finds work – or find additional work if they do limited hours.
Benefits designed to help families
Some benefits are there especially for individuals who have children. They include the following:
If you have a child or children who depend on you, you may be able to receive an amount to help towards additional costs for each child.
Child tax credits
Child tax credits are now almost always part of the Universal Credit scheme across the UK – but are still available to those with a very limited income who receive certain disability benefits.
If you receive child benefit for a child and one or both of their parents has died, you may be entitled to a weekly amount to help with costs.
Statutory maternity/paternity/adoption pay
If you or your partner is pregnant, has a baby, or adopts a child, there are a variety of possible benefits that you may be able to claim. These will depend on your individual circumstances and the company you work for.
A marriage allowance allows married couples or civil partners to transfer some of their personal income tax allowance to reduce the amount of tax they could pay as a couple overall.
A maternity grant is a one-off payment that’s designed to help towards the cost of having your first baby. You might also be eligible if you have children already but are expecting twins or a multiple birth.
A maternity allowance is designed as a kind of maternity pay but for someone who is in self-employment.
Free school meals, uniforms, or healthcare
If you earn less than £16,000, there’s a package of benefits that you may be entitled to. These include free school meals, help towards school uniform costs, and some vouchers to help encourage healthy eating.
You may also get help towards healthcare costs – including things like prescriptions, dental treatments, eye tests, glasses, and more.
Benefits for elderly people or individuals with health conditions
There are a number of benefits designed to help with housing costs and health costs for those who are elderly, disabled, or unwell. They include:
This is a benefit that could be available if someone of state pension age needs additional help with tasks around their home or personal care.
Personal independence payment (PIP)
If you have a long-term illness or disability, PIP is designed to support you with the additional costs of living. PIP was previously called Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
If you care for someone for 35 hours or more each week, you may be entitled to a carer’s allowance to reflect that fact that your ability to work could be limited.
Contribution-based employment support allowance
This is a benefit that offers an income you cannot work or have a limited capacity to work.
Statutory sick pay
If you are employed and you’re unable to work because of illness for more than four days, statutory sick pay covers some of your income for up to 28 weeks.
A state pension is a weekly income for someone who has reached the government-decided retirement age. This is not income-based but does depend on national insurance contributions made when working.
If you are over the age of 45 but not yet at pension age, you may be entitled to financial help if your spouse or civil partner dies.
Winter fuel payments
If you are over pension age, you should receive a one-off annual payment to help you with fuel costs through the winter.
What is Universal Credit?
You’ll notice we’ve mentioned Universal Credit here a few times – usually as a replacement for different or older related benefits. If you’ve claimed one of the benefits it replaces, you’ll usually be able to claim universal credit too.
It is now the standard benefit in the UK. It combines a number of existing benefits (including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Working and Child Tax Credit) into one or two regular payments.
These payments are usually monthly in England and Wales and two-weekly in Scotland. Claiming Universal Credit can be done online or through the Job Centre.