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Benefits and debt

A lot of people aren't aware of the benefits they are entitled to. If you are struggling financially, in debt, or your circumstances are tough, you may be entitled to the following benefits, which will help maximise your income.

Job Seekers allowance

If you're capable of work, but not currently working or you work less than 16 hours a week, you may be entitled to claim Job Seekers Allowance. In order to claim this benefit you must be actively seeking employment, attending the job centre every two weeks and have sufficient national Insurance contributions in the past.

Income Support

This benefit is based on your level of income. If you are aged 16-66 and on a low income, you may be entitled to this benefit. You cannot claim income support if you have savings of more than £16,000, if you regularly attend the job centre, and/or your partner works a 24hr week or more. You should contact your local benefits office for more information on this.

Working tax credit

Previously known as Working family tax credit, this benefit is for people who work 30+ hours per week, but are on a low income. It can also be claimed if you are responsible for a child to help cover childcare costs. As with other benefits, the amount you are entitled to is determined by your circumstances.

Child Tax Credit

If you have one or more children under the age of 16, you could be entitled to Child Tax Credits. The factors taken into consideration for child tax credit entitlement is the household income and the number of children in the family. If you earn more than £65,000 per year, you are not entitled to child tax credit. You can apply online for this benefit.

Child Benefit

This benefit is not means tested and is supplied for each of your children under the age of 16 or 19 if they are in full time education. For information on claiming this benefit you should contact your local child benefit office.

Incapacity Benefit

Incapacity benefit is for people who are not able to receive statutory sick pay or are out of work. There are 3 types of benefit that determine how much benefit you are entitled to. These are

  • Short term incapacity benefit at a lower rate - when you have been off work for 4 days and you aren't able to claim statutory sick pay. The amount you would receive is £78.50 per week.
  • Short term incapacity benefit at a higher rate - If you have been unable to work for more than 28 days but less than 52 weeks due to illness you could claim approximately £92.95 per week.
  • Long term incapacity benefit - If you have been off sick for over 52 weeks you would be entitled to this benefit. You would receive approx 104.10 per week.

Disability Living Allowance

Also known as DLA, this benefit is entitled to people who have mobility restriction and to help those who require help getting around. This benefit is entitled to those from the age of 5 and up to retirement age. The amount you are entitled largely depends on your disability and how it affects your everyday life.

Carers Allowance

Carers allowance can be claimed by anyone who is caring for a family member or a friend for atleast 35 hours per week. The person being cared for must be receiving DLA. Claiming carers allowance could possibly reduce the benefits of the person you are caring for.

Council Tax Benefit

Council Tax benefit contributes to the council tax for people living in rented and mortgaged accommodation. It for people on a low income, or if someone living with you cannot contribute towards the council tax, which can only be claimed if the person living with you is NOT a partner. If you are already claiming other benefits you should be supplied with a form for the council tax benefit.

Housing Benefit

If you are on a low income or you are claiming other benefits you may be eligible for housing benefit, which will cover all or some of your rent or mortgage depending on your circumstances. You may not be able to claim it if you have over £16,000 in savings, you are in f/time education or living with a friend/relative and paying rent. You can contact your local benefits office about this benefit.

Pension Credit

Pension credit offers people over the age of 60 a guaranteed income. Itcan top up your pension to £15.20 if you are single or £230.85 if you are a couple.

State Pension

A state pension is for women aged 62+ and men aged 64+. the maximum allowance for a single person is currently £115.95 per week and for a couple it is double this amount per week. In order to qualify for state pension you need to have paid enough national insurance contributions throughout your working life.

State Second Pension

The State Pension is changing. This information doesn’t apply to you if you’re:

  • a man born on or after 6 April 1951
  • a woman born on or after 6 April 1953

You won’t be eligible for the Additional State Pension if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. Instead, you’ll get the new State Pension.

Depending on a persons circumstances they may be entitled to State Second Pension or the Additional State Pension. This is paid in addition to the State Pension. Whether you are applicable is determined by your National Insurance contributions, your level of earnings, low and moderate earners, certain carers, people with long term illness and/or disability.

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