This content applies to England only.
Housing laws vary between England and Scotland. Get advice relating to Scotland
If you are not available for full-time work, and you do not have enough money to live on, you may be able to claim income support.
Income support is there to ensure that no-one's income is below a certain minimum amount. If you are eligible, the amount you receive will depend on your circumstances.
Eligibility for income support
To be eligible for income support you must be aged between 16 and 59, and in one of the following situations:
- a lone parent
- egistered sick and disabled
- a student and either a lone parent or disabled
- caring for somebody who is sick or disabled
- ill due to pregnancy, or the baby is due within 11 weeks
- appealing against a decision that you are fit for work, and you are not in full-time study.
In addition to the above you will have to:
- have savings of less than £16,000
- be out of work, or working less than 16 hours a week.
If you are on a low income you may also be entitled to income support if:
- you are ill and the level of statutory sick pay which you receive is lower than the amount of income support you would otherwise be entitled to
- you or your civil partner are not working because of parental leave
- you are on paternity leave.
If you are still at school, you may be able to get income support if you are:
- not living with your parents or being supported by them
- looking after your own child
- unable to work because of a severe disability
- a refugee learning English
- at serious risk of abuse or violence.
You will not be eligible for income support if:
- you or your partner or civil partner works on average 24 hours a week or more
- you get jobseeker’s allowance
- you are a person from abroad who is not allowed to claim because of your imigration status.
Other help for claimants of income support
If you receive income support you will also be entitled to the following:
- free dental care
- free prescriptions
- free school meals
- housing benefit
- council tax benefit
- cold weather payment
- free NHS sight tests and vouchers towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses.
More information about income support
You can find more information, or make an online claim, by visiting the Gov.uk website. If you have problems with your claim, contact a local advice centre. Many of Shelter's services can help with benefit issues as well as housing. Use our directory to find an advice agency in your local area.