Increasing your income

Working Tax Credit

This is paid to people who are in work but on a low income, unless they are being paid Universal Credit instead. It is paid on top of your wages, and is dealt with by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC). You can claim whether you have children or not, but the hours you must work to be eligible will depend on your circumstances and age. For more information, ring the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 or check GOV.UK.

Support for council tax

Important:

Universal Credit

Universal Credit will replace the following benefits and tax credits:

  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income Support
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit.

You may need to apply for Universal Credit if you make a new claim, depending on where you live. Most people who claim benefits should be moved on to Universal Credit by the end of 2021.

Until you receive Universal Credit you can still claim tax credits. Once you get Universal Credit, tax credits will stop and you will be given an extra amount for a child that you look after.

Your local council runs a Council Tax Reduction scheme. Contact them for details of how to apply.

Council tax

If you live on your own you may qualify for a single person discount.

Can I reduce my bill?

​Other benefits

Some benefits are not means-tested, and you don't need to have paid any National Insurance contributions to claim them.

These include Child Benefit if you have dependent children. The amount of Child Benefit you will receive may be affected by the High Income Child Benefit tax charge if you or your partner earns more than £50,000 a year. If either you or your partner earns over £60,000, the charge equals the amount of taxable Child Benefit. Special rules apply to new arrivals in the UK. Contact us for advice or call HMRC's helpline on 0300 200 3100.

People with disabilities can claim benefits such as Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance, and their carers may be able to claim Carer's Allowance.

  • If you are under 16, you can apply for Disability Living Allowance.
  • If you are between 16 and 64, you can apply for Personal Independence Payment.
  • If you are 65 or more, you can apply for Attendance Allowance.

If you currently get Disability Living Allowance this will be replaced by the Personal Independence Payment at some point between 2013 and 2017. the DWP will let you know when you need to make a new claim.

If you are under 16, you can continue to claim Disability Living Allowance until you reach your 16th birthday. You will be invited to apply for Personal Independence Payment before your 16th birthday if you are living in an area where Personal Independence Payment is being rolled out.  If you are not, you will be checked to see if you are still eligible to receive Disability Living Allowance.

Whether you can claim any of these benefits will depend on the nature of your illness or disability and the effect it has on you.

The State Pension from 6 April 2016

The State Pension will change on 6 April 2016 for people who reach State Pension age on or after that date.  This involves men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born after 6 April 1953.

How much money you get in your State Pension depends on your record of making National Insurance contributions (NICs). In some cases it also depends on the NICs record of your husband, wife or civil partner. You can get information about your own record by going to the GOV.UK website www.gov.uk.

The amount of State Pension that you get may be more or less than the normal full amount, depending on the kinds of NICs that you have made before 6 April 2016 and your contribution record.  If you are already a pensioner, or you will reach pension age before 6 April 2016, you may be able to top up your contribution record with Class 3A contributions as long as you do this before 6 April 2017. See www.gov.uk for more information. You may be able to fill in gaps in your contribution record with National Insurance Credits or with Class 3 voluntary contributions for up to six years in the past. See www.gov.uk for more information.  You may get less than the normal full amount if you have been contracted out of the additional State Pension into a private pension scheme during the years before 6 April 2016.

Ask for a pension statement to find out how much State Pension you can get by going to the GOV.UK website www.gov.uk.

If you need more help to find how much State Pension you might get, contact us for advice.

Help with health costs

You may be able to get help with prescriptions, dental treatment, sight tests, glasses and contact lenses, travel to hospital, wigs and fabric supports. The rules are different depending on whether you live in England or Wales. Prescriptions are free in Wales for everyone.

If you live in England you may have to pay. Contact your local advice agency, the DWP or the NHS Low Income Scheme helpline on 0300 330 1343 to see if you qualify for free prescriptions and help with health costs. If you cannot claim free prescriptions. You may be able to reduce the costs by buying a prepayment certificate.