Benefits Expert: Applying for Income Support

Advice from our Benefits Expert regarding Income Support.

Advice from our Benefits Expert regarding Income Support.

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Q. My partner had a serious accident last month and needs assistance. She has applied for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), but we know she can’t be paid until 3 months after the accident. I am on Jobseeker’s Allowance, but I can’t look for work as much as I should as I need to help her, but I am worried that my claim will be sanctioned.

A. You could consider making an application for Income Support rather than Jobseeker’s Allowance. You can claim if you are caring for someone who has applied for PIP, but whose claim hasn’t yet been decided. You can claim Income Support for up to 26 weeks or until the PIP claim has been sorted, whichever is soonest. If, once the PIP claim is processed, your partner is awarded PIP for daily living, then you can make an application for Carer’s Allowance.

Q. I have two children and I’m pregnant with my third. I’ve heard that you can’t claim anything for more than 2 children, is that right?

A. You will be able to claim Child Benefit for your third child, but if they are born on or after April 6, 2017 then you will not receive an increase in your Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit claim for them. For people already claiming Universal Credit for three or more children born before April 6, 2017, they will be redirected back to tax credits so that they can continue to receive payments for all of their children. There are exceptions to this rule if the third or subsequent child was born as part of a multiple birth, was born as a result of rape or if the child is living with family or friends because they are unable to live with their parents and would be at risk of going into care.

Q. I live in a rented property and I get Housing Benefit, but it doesn’t cover the full rent. I am struggling to pay the shortfall from my Jobseeker’s Allowance. Is there anything else that I can claim?

A. You could make an application for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from your Local Authority. The Local Authority would require information about your income and expenditure and would assess how much financial need you are in. The awards that they can make are completely discretionary based on your circumstances. If you disagree with a decision on a DHP application you can ask the Local Authority to look at the decision again, but there is no legal appeals process.