Support from work

You can get financial help if your illness affects your ability to work:

  • You can claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you are off work for at least four days in a row and earn at least £112 a week. Your employer will pay this for up to 28 weeks of sickness, after this you may be eligible to claim Employment Support Allowance.
  • Statutory Sick Pay is paid at a fixed rate found here.
  • You may also be able to get occupational or company sick pay. Check your contract or ask your HR department about this.
  • If you are self-employed, you may still qualify for benefits, such as ESA or Tax Credits.
  • If you have to give up work, you may be entitled to a tax refund.
Working tax credit

Working Tax Credit (WTC) is for people aged between 16 and retirement age who either:

  • work but have a low income
  • work and have a disability.

Working Tax Credit includes a basic amount which depends on your circumstances. There are also extra payments (called elements) for people in certain situations. The additional elements include; a single parent element, a disability element and a childcare element.

Universal Credit is replacing working tax credit and several other benefits. For any new claims please look at the Universal Credit section below.

Child tax credit

If you have children and you’re on a low income, you could be eligible for Child Tax Credit (CTC) to help you with the costs of raising a child. You do not need to work in order to receive Child Tax Credit.

There are variations if you have eligible childcare costs, however for reference purposes you should be able to claim Child Tax Credit if,

  • If you’re over 16 and responsible for a child who is either under 16 or under 20 and in full-time education or training.
  • You have at least one child and your household income is £26,000 or less a year
  • You have two children and your household income is £32,000 or less a year

There are other limits if you have more than two children.

Child Tax credits is also being replaced by Universal Credit, for any new claims please look at Universal Credit below.

Employment support allowance

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

There are different types of ESA, income related ESA which is those that are unable to work due to sickness or disability and are on a low income and have savings of less than £16,000.  However the type of ESA that most people can claim is called 'new style' ESA. New Style ESA is a contributory benefit. Normally, this means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.

You can’t claim new style ESA if you’re getting, or recently stopped getting, a benefit with a severe disability premium (SDP).

If you’ve been getting an SDP, you can apply for the old types of ESA instead.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit for people who can’t work because of illness or disability.

You’ll normally get the ‘assessment rate’ for 13 weeks while your claim is being assessed.

This will be:

  • up to £58.90 a week if you’re aged under 25
  • up to £74.35 a week if you’re aged 25 or over

If it takes longer than 13 weeks to assess your claim, you’ll continue getting the ‘assessment rate’ until you get a decision. Your ESA will be backdated if you’re owed any money after 13 weeks.

You’ll be placed into one of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA. If you’re able to get back into work, you’ll be put into the work-related activity group. Otherwise, you’ll be put into the support group.

You’ll get:

  • up to £74.35 a week if you’re in the work-related activity group
  • up to £113.55 a week if you’re in the support group

If you’re in the support group and on income-related ESA, you’re also entitled to the enhanced disability premium.

You may also qualify for the severe disability premium.

You can claim ESA by calling 0800 055 6688 or using textphone 0800 023 4888 or visit Alternatively contact your WIBSS welfare rights adviser for assistance.

New Style ESA

New Style ESA is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (UC).

New Style ESA is a contributory benefit as said above, you can check your National Insurance record on GOV.UK. It will say if you have a 'full year' of contributions, and if this comes from employment, self-employment or National Insurance credits.

Most income is not taken into account (but a personal pension can affect the amount you may receive).

While you receive New Style ESA you’ll earn Class 1 National Insurance credits, which can help towards your State Pension and other contributory benefits in the future.

You need to either call the Universal Credit helpline to make a claim for new style ESA or you can apply online

Universal Credit Helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 012 1888

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Income Support

Income support is a benefit for to help cover basic living costs. It is for people who do not have to register as being unemployed if they are out of work. Therefore you can claim if you;

  • are a carer
  • are a single parent with a child under five
  • are pregnant
  • get Statutory Sick Pay but still do not have enough money to live on.

And you also meet all of the following criteria;

  • You, (and your partner) have no income or a low income and savings less than £16,000 between you
  • If you are single, you must work less than 16 hours a week.
  • If you have a partner, you must work less than 24 hours a week between you.

The amount you will receive depends on your circumstances, however there are premiums made payable for different situations, such as claiming Personal Independence Payment.

Income Support is also being replaced by Universal Credit for any new claims.

Jobseekers allowance

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) gives you a weekly income while you look for work. You can claim JSA if you are all of the following:

  • aged 18 or above and fit for work (or aged 16 or 17 in certain cases)
  • not in full-time education
  • available for work and actively looking for work
  • working less than 16 hours a week on average

There are two types of JSA:

  • contribution-based JSA – if you have paid enough National Insurance
  • income-based JSA – if your income and savings are low

The amount you can get depends on your circumstances, including your income and savings, and those of your partner if you have one. Importantly, you may need to claim Universal Credit instead. To claim visit or contact your Local Job Centre Plus. Alternatively contact your WIBSS welfare rights adviser for assistance.

Universal credit

Universal Credit

Please get advice before moving from any legacy benefits below to Universal Credit as there is no way back and you may be worse off. If the drop in income is temporary (E.G Covid-19)  then you may  want to stay on the old system.

Universal Credit (UC) is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. It replaces some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now:

  • Housing benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

If you currently get any of these benefits, you do not need to do anything unless:

  • you have a change of circumstances you need to report
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit

You cannot claim Universal Credit if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • got or were entitled to the severe disability premium in the last month, and you’re still eligible for it

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get.

Your Universal Credit payment is made up of a standard allowance and any extra amounts that apply to you, for example if you:

  • have children
  • have a disability or health condition which prevents you from working
  • need help paying your rent

How much Universal Credit you get will depend on your earnings.

Your circumstances are assessed every month. Changes in your circumstances can affect how much you’re paid for the whole assessment period - not just from the date you report them.

The benefit cap may limit the total amount of benefit you receive.

Standard Allowance

Your circumstances Monthly standard allowance
Single and under 25 £342.72
Single and 25 or over £409.89
In a couple and you’re both under 25 £488.59 (for you both)
In a couple and either of you are 25 or over £594.04 (for you both)

Extra Amounts

You may get more money on top of your standard allowance if you’re eligible.

If you have children

If you have 1 or 2 children, you’ll get an extra amount for each child.

If you have 3 or more children, you’ll get an extra amount for at least 2 children. You can only get an extra amount for more children if any of the following are true:

  • your children were born before 6 April 2017
  • you were already claiming for 3 or more children before 6 April 2017
  • other exceptions apply

You’ll get an extra amount for any disabled or severely disabled child - no matter how many children you have or when they were born.

How much you’ll get Extra monthly amount
For your first child £281.25 (born before 6 April 2017)
£235.83 (born on or after 6 April 2017)
For your second child and any other eligible children £235.83 per child
If you have a disabled or severely disabled child £128.25 or £400.29
If you need help with childcare costs up to 85% of your costs (up to £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for 2 or more children)

You might get the extra amount if you start caring for another child, depending on when they were born and how many children you have.

If you have a disability or health condition

How much you’ll get Extra monthly amount
If you have limited capability for work and work-related activity £341.92
If you have limited capability for work and you started your health-related Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claim before 3 April 2017 £128.25

If you care for a severely disabled person

How much you’ll get Extra monthly amount
If you provide care for at least 35 hours a week for a severely disabled person who receives a disability-related benefit £162.92

This is on top of any extra amount you get if you have a disabled child.

Housing costs

You could get money to help pay your housing costs. How much you get depends on your age and circumstances.

The payment can cover rent and some service charges.

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get a loan to help with interest payments on your mortgage or other loans you’ve taken out for your home.

You have to both apply for, and manage your claim online, which can be done here. If you need help with your claim call the Universal Credit helpline.

Universal Credit Helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 012 1888

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

If you would like a benefit check completed or require any assistance then please call the WIBSS Welfare Team on 02920 902280 and press 2 to speak to one of our advisors.