Income Support is extra money to help carers who are on a low income and too young to qualify for Pension Credit. It can top up your Carer’s Allowance or a range of other benefits. However, the amount you get varies according to your family circumstances, income and age. It is not possible to get Income Support if your savings are higher than £16,000.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
ESA is for people whose ability to work is limited by their ill-health or disability and carers may be eligible if they have their own health problems as well as caring responsibilities. ESA can either be means-tested or based on National Insurance contributions you have made through previous work.
The amount of means-tested benefit you can get varies according to your family circumstances, income and age. You cannot claim means-tested ESA (known as Income-related ESA) if you have savings of more than £16,000.
For the first 13 weeks of your claim you will be paid a personal allowance while you are being assessed. If you qualify for the means-tested type of ESA you may be entitled to additional amounts called premiums. Following the assessment you will be placed in one of two groups and paid either the work-related activity component or the support component in addition to a personal allowance. People with the most severe conditions are placed in the support group.
Most people are placed in the work-related activity group. If you are placed in this group you will have to take part in assessments, attend interviews and you may have to undertake work-related activity. If you fail to fulfill these conditions without a good reason your ESA can be reduced.
Carers claiming ESA may be able to postpone interviews and work-related activity because of their caring responsibilities. Contact Carers UK’s Adviceline for more information.
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Some people are caring whilst looking for work and it might be appropriate for them to claim JSA. However, to claim JSA you must be available for and actively seeking work and you will have to sign on regularly to prove this. However, you may be able to restrict the number of hours you are available for work to fit around your caring role, but not to less than 16 hours.
Like ESA, JSA can either be means-tested or based on National Insurance contributions. The amount of means-tested JSA you get varies according to family circumstances, income and age. It is not possible to get means tested JSA if your savings are higher than £16,000.
Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit are paid to top up the incomes of families or workers with a low income. The amount you get of either/both depends on your household taxable income. Child Tax Credit is a means-tested benefit paid to people with a child under 16 (or 20 if they are in certain education or training). It can be paid to people both in and out of work. Extra money can be paid if you have a disabled child.
To claim Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance contact Jobcentre Plus. In Northern Ireland contact your local Social Security office. To claim Tax Credits call the Tax Credits helpline on 0845 300 3900.