Income Support rules for lone parents

Income Support rules for lone parents

Once your youngest child reaches age 5 (7 in Northern Ireland) your entitlement to Income Support may stop if you’re only claiming it because you’re a lone parent.

This age restriction does not apply if you:

  • have a child who is entitled to the middle-rate or highest-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • have a foster child living with you

You may qualify for Income Support on other grounds. If you are not sure, ask your Jobcentre Plus adviser.

What happens when your Income Support stops

Jobcentre Plus will contact you before your Income Support is due to stop to tell you when your last payment will be. Jobcentre Plus will also invite you to an interview with an adviser, who will explain what you need to do to make a claim for another out of work benefit if you have not found full time work (16 hours or more for a single claimant).

It is very important that you attend this interview so that you continue to receive the right benefits and financial support if you need it.

Other benefits which you may be entitled to

If you have not found full tiime work when your Income Support ends, and you don't qualify for Income Support on other grounds, you may be able to apply for Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

Jobseeker's Allowance is the main benefit for people who are out of work or working less than 16 hours. To receive it, you must be available for and actively looking for work. As a lone parent with a youngest child aged 12 or under, you have the right to restrict the hours you are available to work. This means that you will not be expected to work outside your child’s normal school hours. Your adviser will be able to provide you with more information.

Employment and Support Allowance is the main benefit for people who are not able to work due to a health condition or disability.

Claiming tax credits

Child Tax Credit is paid by HM Revenue & Customs and replaces the child related element that may currently be paid with your Income Support.

Working Tax Credit is to top up the income of those in full time work who are on low pay. To be eligible for this a single parent would need to work 16 hours or more.

To get tax credits you need to complete a claim form. Your Jobcentre Plus adviser can help you to complete the right form.