Social Security Benefits in the UK

Information on the welfare benefits available to residents in the UK, where and how to register with the authorities and what contributions and benefits to expect...

Legal residents in the UK may be entitled, in certain circumstances, to a number of social security benefits. These include:

Most benefits are managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) through Jobcentre Plus offices.

Income Support

Income Support is available for people on a low income. It is dependent on how much money a person earns and any capital or savings they have. People with savings may get paid a reduced amount, and those with savings over a certain amount are not eligible.

Recipients must be over 16 years of age to get Income Support. They must not work more than 16 hours per week and, if they have a partner, that partner can not work more than 24 hours per week.

  • For further information on who is entitled to Income Support: Click here

Information can also be obtained from a Jobcentre Plus office or by telephone:

  • Jobcentre Plus
    : 0800 055 6688 between 08:00 and 20:00, Monday to Friday

Jobseeker's Allowance

Jobseeker's Allowance is paid to an unemployed person looking for work. It is paid to eligible people over 18 years old and under retirement age who are out of a job but capable of working and actively seeking employment. It is also available to people who work 16 hours or less every week.

Child Benefit

Every one with a child under 16 living permanently in the UK can apply for Child Benefit. They can also apply if a child is between 16 and 19, and in full time education, or a child of 16 or 17 years old who has recently left education or training but is registered for certain work or training.

According to the Direct Gov website, new arrivals to the UK must be one of the following to be eligible:

  • Physically present with their child in the UK
  • Have their main home is in the UK
  • Have the right to reside in the UK
  • Responsible for the child living with them

For advice on child benefit call the Child Benefit Helpline on 0845 302 1444, between 08:00 and 20:00, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

  • For further information on who may claim Child Benefit: Click here

Child Benefit is paid monthly or weekly, into any bank, building society, or National Savings & Investments (NS&I) account that accepts Direct Payment. There are two separate amounts, with a higher amount for the eldest (or only) child. It is usually paid every four weeks, however, parents getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit and single parents may receive weekly payments instead.

  • For information on child Benefit and how it is paid: Click here

To claim Child Benefit, fill in a claim form and send it to the local Child benefit Office along with a birth or adoption certificate. Claim forms are given to new mothers at the hospital after the birth. Alternatively, download the form online, print it out and send to the local office once it is filled in.

Direct payments are also available for parents and carers of children with a disability. These can be made for employing someone to care for the child, personal care, after school and holiday provision, assistance to attend activities and placement in a nursery that provides specialist care.

Housing Benefit

People on a low income, whether employed or not, may be eligible for help in paying all or part of their rent. If the salary plus savings are below a certain level, help may be available.

  • For more information on who qualifies see the Government's online benefit adviser: Click here
  • For further information on Housing Benefit: Click here

Council Tax Benefit

All residents, whether in a rented or privately owned property, in a flat, bungalow or house, must pay a Council Tax to their local authority to pay for local services such as rubbish collection. It is usually paid monthly.

As with Housing Benefit, for low earners or the unemployed, there is financial help available for paying Council Tax - for those who own their own home or rent it.

  • For more information on who is eligible, see the Government's online benefit adviser: Click here
  • For further information on claiming the benefit: Click here

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

This is a tax-free benefit for people that who need help looking after themselves, and there are different rates which apply to the extent of the disability. It can be claimed by anyone with mental or physical disabilities aged three to 65 with severe difficulty in walking, or anyone aged five to 65 who needs help to get around.

Invalid Carer's Allowance

Invalid Carer's Allowance is a taxable benefit to help people who look after someone who is disabled. The claimant does not have to be related to, or living with, the person for whom they care for.

People eligible for Carer's Allowance include those who are over 16-years old who spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who is entitled to certain benefits.

A person may not be able to claim if they earn over a certain amount and can not claim if they are in full-time education. It is important to be aware that receiving the allowance may affect any other benefits that are claimed or benefits claimed by the person they care for.

The amount is paid weekly and directly into the carer's bank account.

  • For more information on Carer's Allowance: Click here

State Retirement Pension

A State Retirement Pension is paid to women aged 60 and over and men aged 65 and over. The eligible age for the state pension is due to rise to 66 in the future.

To qualify, pensioners need to have paid enough National Insurance contributions throughout their working life. The amount they are paid depends on the contributions they have made.

Further Information