What is income support?
Income support is the payment allowed to certain individuals who are financially eligible. The person must be unable to work full time and as a result of this not have sufficient income to live on. An example of someone who may be eligible could be a single parent who has child care commitments or perhaps a registered disabled person who is impaired from working.
Who can be eligible?
In order to qualify the person applying for this support must be a full time resident in the United Kingdom. The person must also be aged between 18 and 60 years old to qualify. The person must also not work over 16 hours per week. Any hours worked over this period will mean that no support of this nature can be offered. A person would also be ineligible for the support if they have over £16000 worth of capital available to them. Also an applicant who may be eligible for the support by meeting all the above criteria may still not be eligible because they have a partner who works over 24 hours a week. In this scenario it is presumed that the person can be given support by their partner.
How is it calculated?
If an applicant has a family then it is important to note that the income is calculated according to the entire family income and not just that belonging to the applicant. This will include spouses, civil partnerships and any other people cohabiting with the person making the application. However certain other payments made to the person applying for the support can be disregarded when calculating the household income. These include statutory sick pay and child benefits. As well as this certain ancillary relief orders received from a divorce settlement will also not be considered in the calculation assessment for the application, this could include for example a lump sum order.
What can a person receive?
The amount available to receive from income support varies from each year. This means that the amount for the current year in question should be determined correctly at the time of the application. Other factors can effect what a person could potentially receive such as the age, disability and marital or cohabiting status of the applicant. People who are in receipt of income support can also gain other benefits such as free dental care, free prescriptions, free school meals and a council tax benefit. These are sometimes described as ‘passport benefits’.
Support for Mortgage interest.
Support for the interest connected to a mortgage can also be paid to people who are on income support if they are having problems keeping up with repayments on their mortgage. It is important to note however that the payments given are only available towards the interest element of the mortgage and no payments can be made towards the repayment or endowment elements of the mortgage.
On the 2nd of September 2008 the government announced reforms to the system of the support for mortgage interest. The government wanted to reduce the amount of waiting time that people had to endure to receive the support and also to reflect the property values more accurately. Now the waiting period before people can get help with their mortgage has been cut from 39 weeks to 13 weeks. Also now if a pensioner is in the receipt of pension credit then they do not need to wait for any specific period and can apply straight away in order to get help if they are struggling with their mortgage.