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Unemployment - Disability support

If you are out of work you need to register unemployed as soon as possible with your local Job Centre Plus, or you could be overwhelmed by accommodation and other living costs. If you are looking for work or working less than 16 hours a week, you may also be entitled to Jobseekers Allowance. Check the link on this page to find out what you may be eligible for.

Please see the types of benefit below for an overview of benefits available or click on the title to be taken to www.gov.uk for more detailed benefits information or to make a claim online.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.

Universal Credit will help claimants and their families to become more independent and will simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment.

It was introduced in 2013 replacing:

income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Income Support

Child Tax Credits

Working Tax Credits

Housing Benefit

The differences between Universal Credit and the current system

The main differences between Universal Credit and the current welfare system are:

Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work

Most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account

Universal Credit will be responsive – as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they’ll get ongoing support, giving people more incentive to work for any period of time that is available

Most claimants on low incomes will still be paid Universal Credit when they first start a new job or increase their part-time hours

Job Seekers Allowance

Overview

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is at least £56.80 a week to help you while you look for work.

How much you get  depends on your circumstances and the type of JSA you qualify for.

To qualify for JSA you usually have to be:

When you apply for JSA, you must go to an interview to complete your claim.

To keep getting JSA you must go to a Jobcentre office (usually every 2 weeks or when asked) to show how you’ve been searching for a job. This is known as ‘signing on’.

Employment Support Allowance

Overview

If you’re ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers you financial support if you are unable to work:

  • financial support if you’re unable to work
  • personalised help so that you can work if you’re able to

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

You might be transferred to ESA if you’ve been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefit.

You might have to go to regular interviews with Jobcentre Plus to keep getting ESA.

Personal Independence Payment (previously Disability Living Allowance)

Overview

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64.

You could get between £21 to £134.40 a week to help with the extra costs caused by your condition. How much you get is not based on your condition, but how your condition affects you.

You’ll need an assessment to work out the level of help you get. Your award will be regularly reassessed to make sure you’re getting the right support.

If you get Disability Living Allowance

PIP started to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64 from 8 April 2013.

Use the PIP checker to find out if and when PIP affects your DLA. Help with PIP

You can contact a local support organisation to get help understanding PIP.

Income Support is extra money you may be able to get if you

  • you have no income or a low income
  • you’re working less than 16 hours a week
  • haven’t signed on as unemployed

You must meet specific conditions to get income support.

The actual amount you get depends on your circumstances, but if you qualify and have no income you could get £56.80 a week.

You can claim Child Tax Credit if you claim Income Support and have children.

Use the benefits adviser to work out what money you can get if you’re on a low income.

Child Tax Credit

Overview

You could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for:  

  • under 16
  • under 20 and in approved education or training

You don’t need to be working to claim Child Tax Credit.

You get money for each child that qualifies and Child Tax Credit won’t affect your Child Benefit.

How much you get depends on your circumstances - you can use the tax credit calculator to work this out.

Only 1 household can get Child Tax Credit for a child.

Working Tax Credit

Overview

You could get Working Tax Credit to supplement your income if you are over 16 and receive a low income.

  • you’re aged 16 or over
  • you work a certain number of hours a week
  • you get paid for the work you do (or expect to)
  • your income is below a certain level

The basic amount of Working Tax Credit is up to £1,920 a year - you could get more (or less) depending on your circumstances and income.

Use the tax credit calculator to work out how much you could get.

You can apply for Working Tax Credits even if you don’t have children or you’re on leave or about to start a new job.

Housing Benefit

Overview

You could get Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent if you’re on a low income.

Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances.

You can apply for Housing Benefit whether you’re unemployed or working.

You may also be able to get help with your rent if your benefits stop.

Housing Benefit can’t be paid for heating, hot water, energy or food - if you need help, use the benefits adviser to see what else you might be entitled to.

Council Tax Reduction

Overview

You can apply for Council Tax Reduction whether you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

Council Tax Benefit will no longer exist from 1 April 2013, instead you can apply for Council Tax Reduction.

You’ll get money off your Council Tax bill if you qualify for Council Tax Reduction.

You can apply for Council Tax Reduction whether you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

What you’ll get

The most you can get is a 100% reduction. How much you get depends on:

  • where you live - each council runs their own scheme
  • your circumstances (eg income, number of children)
  • your household income - this includes things like savings, pension, your partner’s income
  • if your children live with you
  • if other adults live with you

Eligibility

You may get Council Tax Reduction if:

  • you pay Council Tax
  • you’re on a low income or claiming benefits

How to apply

Contact your local council to apply for Council Tax Reduction.

Benefit cap

There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap.

Benefits that are affected

The cap applies to the total amount that the people in your household get from the following benefits:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (unless you get the support component)
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widows Pension you started getting before 9 April 2001)

How much is the benefit cap?

The level of the cap is:

  • £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
  • £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them
  • £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them

This may mean the amount you get for certain benefits will go down to make sure that the total amount you get isn’t more than the cap level.

Use the benefit cap calculator to find out how the benefit cap affects you.

Who won’t be affected?

You’re not affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
  • Employment and Support Allowance, if you get the support component
  • War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension
  • War pensions
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

You might be affected by the cap if you have any grown-up children who still live with you and they qualify for one of these benefits. This is because they won’t normally count as part of your household.

If you’re seeing a Jobcentre Plus adviser, Work Programme or Work Choice provider, they’ll continue to help you look for work and get skills you may need for a job.

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