Immigration status and residence rules mean you may not be able to claim all the benefits mentioned on this website. If this affects you, you should seek advice before you apply, for example, from Citizens Advice.
You can use a free benefits checker to see what to claim and calculate how much you should receive. However, it can be confusing to know what to claim, especially if you are already getting any benefits.
The table below may help if you are confused about which benefits apply in different situations.
As well as the benefits in the table below, you may be able to claim benefits to help with other expenses, for example Housing Benefit (usually only if you have an existing claim) to help with your rent, Council Tax Reduction to help with council tax (or help with the rates in Northern Ireland), free school meals, and help with health costs. There is more information about these kinds of help on the GOV.UK, EntitledTo or Turn2Us websites. Being on benefits can also sometimes mean you get additional help such as free school meals or vouchers to help with the cost of fruit and vegetables if you have young children or are pregnant. Some local authorities (councils) have funds called local welfare assistance to help with one off costs or financial needs in a crisis, but not all do – you can ask local advice agencies about this, for example, your Citizens Advice Bureau.
The benefit cap may reduce your entitlement to benefits, especially if you are not working.
|Working||Not working/working part-time|
|You and/or your partner work||Looking for work||Bringing up children as a lone parent||Sick or disabled||Caring for a disabled adult or child|
|Money for adults||Working Tax Credit*(depending on hours worked) or Universal Credit|
and/or Universal Credit
|Income Support*/Jobseeker’s Allowance* or Universal Credit|
|Money for children||Child Benefit; Child Tax Credit* or Universal Credit|
*If you make a new claim for one of these benefits you will usually be told to claim Universal Credit instead. There are exceptions for people entitled to a severe disability premium. The UC system will ask you questions to stop you claiming UC if you are, or recently have been, on the older benefits and entitled to a severe disability premium. If you are not sure, you should get further advice as you may not be able to return to the older benefits if you claim UC.
If you claim Universal Credit any tax credits, Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance will stop. Housing Benefit usually stops after 2 weeks (unless you are in temporary or certain types of supported accommodation). You cannot return to these benefits once you are on Universal Credit, and you may lose out depending on your circumstances.
This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.