At Accident Advice Helpline, we get a lot of queries about what benefits are available to help people get by in the aftermath of serious accidents, so we’ve prepared this run-down of Income Support: the facts to help you understand the most important points about claiming. If you’ve been seriously incapacitated and are not going to be able to return to work for some time, if at all, we’ll do our best to help you get compensation that provides for your financial needs, but in the meantime welfare benefits are your best option. Don’t be shy about claiming them. If you’ve paid tax and National Insurance, you can think of it as just like making a claim on a private insurance arrangement.
What is Income Support?
Income Support is a benefit for people of working age who are on a low income and unable to work for more than sixteen hours a week. If they’re living with partners, their partners must be working for fewer than 24 hours a week. It is not available to people who are registered as unemployed.
Where does Income Support apply?
You can get this benefit if you live anywhere in England, Scotland or Wales, but not if you live in Northern Ireland.
How much money will I get?
If you qualify for full Income Support, you will be eligible for a basic rate of £56.80 per week. You could get more if you have a partner. If you have some income, money will be deducted from benefit.
What if I have savings?
If you have savings of over £2,000, some money may be deducted from your Income Support payments. If you have over £16,000 in savings, you will not be eligible to claim at all.
What if this isn’t enough to live on?
Don’t panic. You may also be eligible for Housing Benefit (to help with the cost of where you live) and for Council Tax benefit. If you are expected to have a lasting disability, you should claim straight away for disability benefits. Your doctor may be able to help you with this.
How do I apply?
You can now apply for all state benefits in the UK by downloading forms off the internet, printing them out, filling them in and sending them off. You should be aware that it may take a month or more for the Department of Work and Pensions, which handles benefit claims, to get back to you.
What if I need help filling in a form?
Your local branch of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau can often help you. If they have a long waiting list, they may be able to refer you to a charity that can help more quickly. If you are a member of a trade union, your union rep may be able to arrange assistance for you.
How Accident Advice Helpline can help
If you win compensation, we can sometimes make a deal with the other side so that you get part of your money early, whilst the rest is still being processed. This can help you to get through that difficult patch before you receive the rest of the money you’re entitled to.
Date Published: January 4, 2014
Author: David Brown