Increasing your income

Check for any benefit/tax credit entitlement

The easiest way to find out what benefits you might be entitled to is to use a free online calculator to check entitlement to all benefits.

If you are unable to use an online calculator, contact Turn2us on 0808 802 2000. They are a charity that helps people to access benefits they are entitled to and will be able to help you.

Take on more work

Can you, your partner or others living in your home take on more work to increase the household income? Check what difference this would make if you are receiving any benefits, you can do this with a benefit calculator. 

More information on Job seeking and employment support.

Receive contributions from household members

Any adult living with you/you and your partner should be working or claiming benefits, and you should be receiving a contribution from them towards rent, food and other bills.

Your entitlement to Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support could be reduced because they live with you. This means it’s even more important you receive a contribution from other adults in the property to afford to pay for vital goods and services including rent.

Long term ill-health or disability

If you or someone in the household are working age and have a health condition or disability that affects your daily living and/or getting around, and you have had these difficulties for over three months and expect them to continue for at least nine months you might be able to claim PIP. There are special rules if you are terminally ill with less than six months to live.

You can receive PIP whether you are in or out of work, and it could increase your income without reducing any other benefits.  

You can request an application form by calling the Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 917 2222 or visit www.gov.uk/pip/how-to-claim for more information.

You will need the following information before you call:

  • Your contact details.
  • Your date of birth.
  • Your National Insurance number – this is on letters about tax, pensions etc.
  • Your bank or building society account number and sort code.
  • Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and phone number.
  • Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital.

A paper application form will be sent to you to complete within four weeks. You can receive help filling in the application from a local organisation (link to Money Matters website).

People over state pension age you might be able to claim Attendance Allowance.

People under 16 years old you might be able to claim Disability Living Allowance.

Carers Allowance

If you provide care for someone for at least 35 hours a week, and that person receives one of the below benefits, you would receive £67.60 a week Carers Allowance.

  • Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • If someone else also cares for the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance.

If someone else also cares for the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance. You also need to be eligible to receive a payment, for example you cannot be in full time education or earn more than £128 a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses.

Full list of Carer’s Allowance eligibility criteria.

Child Maintenance

If you have children with an ex-partner, they should contribute towards the child’s everyday living costs. Even if the absent parent does not see their child/children, they are legally responsible for the costs of raising them.

You can arrange child maintenance yourselves in a flexible arrangement that can include what works for both of you including shared care, splitting the costs of items or a regular contribution towards things like household costs, uniforms or school trips or clubs etc.

You can find independent advice about child maintenance options on the Citizens Advice website. The maintenance you receive may affect other benefits.

This might not be appropriate if you think the other parent poses a threat to you or your children, or if you are a victim of domestic violence.

Discretionary Payments

If you are receiving Housing Benefit or Housing Costs Element of Universal Credit and have a shortfall in the financial support you receive to pay rent, you might be able to receive a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) if you are struggling financially.

If you receive Council Tax Support and are struggling to pay your bill, you can apply for a Discretionary Council Tax Support payment (DCTSP).

You do not need to repay a DHP or DCTSP and if your application is successful, it might provide you with short term financial help to give you time to improve your situation.  

Apply for a Discretionary Council Tax Support Payment.

Child Benefit

Children can leave school on the last Friday in June if they will be 16 by the end of the summer holidays. However, they must do one of the following until they are 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

Child Benefit stops on 31 August on or after your child’s 16th birthday if they leave education or training. It will continue up to the age of 20 if they stay in approved education or training, but you will need to inform Child Benefit.

Approved Education must be full-time (an average of 12 hours or more a week supervised study or course related work experience), it includes:

  • A level or similar
  • NVQs and other vocational qualifications up to level 3
  • traineeships in England
  • home education if started before your child turned 16

Courses are not approved if paid for by an employer or ‘advanced’, for example a university degree or BTEC Higher National Certificate.

Approved Training is unpaid and can include:

  • Foundation Apprenticeships

Courses that are part of a job contract are not approved.

When your child leaves approved education or training, payments will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever comes first).

You must tell Child Benefit if there is a change of circumstances or any breaks in your child’s education or training. You can call them on 0300 200 3100 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm.

Winter Fuel Payment

If have you reached state pension age, you may be entitled to between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.

This is normally paid automatically, but if you haven’t received your payment by the beginning of January call the Winter Fuel Helpline on 0800 731 0160 or visit www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

Benefit overpayment recovery

If you claim benefits and your entitlement is being reduced by deductions to repay a debt you owe, you can speak to the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) on 0800 916 0647. You can find out how much you owe for each debt being deducted from your benefits and ask for the deductions to be reduced if you are in financial hardship.

By reducing the amount being deducted, you will increase the income you have available.