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Saving money and increasing income

Which benefits am I entitled to?

Benefits are paid by the government to people who are unable to work or have a low income.

Claiming benefits can provide extra money for essential living costs such as food, clothing and housing if:

• You’re out of work 

• You have children or dependents 

• You have a low income 

• You’re ill or disabled

If you’re struggling financially it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the income you’re entitled to. The extra money you could claim from benefits can make a big difference to your situation. If you think you might be entitled to claim a benefit you should apply for it.

To find out if you’re entitled to any extra benefits use our free benefits checker.

Changes to Universal Credit coming in October 2019

From 2 October, if you’re having money deducted from your Universal Credit payments, the most that can be taken will reduce from 40% to 30%. Deductions can be taken out of a person's Universal Credit entitlement for various reasons, such as recovering money for rent or fuel arrears.

The change doesn’t affect claimants who only repay their advance payment, as the repayment threshold will remain at around 15%.

From 16 October, working parents and guardians will be given an additional month to claim back up to 85% of the money they’ve spent on childcare. The time limit was previously one month.


What kind of benefits can I claim?

Universal Credit is the standard benefit that most people in the UK can claim. It combines several previous benefits into one monthly payment (sometimes divided into two payments for people living in Scotland) and covers all of the circumstances listed above.

If your local authority has adopted Universal Credit as its standard benefits process, you’ll be directed to apply for Universal Credit when you make an application for any of the above benefits.

There are some areas in the UK that have yet to adopt Universal Credit as the standard benefit. In these rare cases, you may still be able to apply for:

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

Simply fill in an online form on the gov.uk website. You'll need to provide information about your living situation. You'll also need to provide your national insurance (NI) number and a contact telephone number you can be reached on.

Residents of Northern Ireland will need to apply for JSA online via NI Direct.

Income Support

Visit the gov.uk website (or NI Direct website for Northern Ireland residents) to find out how to call and apply for Income Support.

Visit the gov.uk website to find out how to apply for ESA / PIP over the telephone. You can also fill in and print out the ESA1 form and send or take it to your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Working and Child Tax credit

You can order a Tax Credits claim form by using the gov.uk online tool or calling the Tax Credits Office. It can take up to two weeks for your form to arrive.

I'm on benefits and need help paying debt - can you help?

We give free and impartial debt advice to people with all sorts of debt problems. If you feel that you need some help with your financial situation get help by calling us or through our online advice tool.