Means-tested benefits

Means-tested benefits are intended to top up your income if you don't have enough to live on. 

Whether you receive these benefits and how much you get depends on what income and savings you already have.

Over the next few years, most of these benefits will be replaced by Universal Credit.

Means-tested benefits include:

  • Universal Credit is a new benefit that will eventually replace all the means-tested benefits below except Pension Credit and Council Tax Reduction. It's worked out by comparing your financial needs with your income and savings. Extra elements that may be taken into account include your ability to work and any caring responsibilities you have.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance is the means-tested component of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). It may be paid if your condition limits your ability to work. It can be paid on its own, if you are not entitled to contributory ESA, or as a top-up to contributory ESA if you are.
  • Income Support is a means-tested benefit paid to limited groups of people, including some carers and single parents with very young children.
  • Jobseeker's Allowance is for people of working age who are out of work or work fewer than 16 hours a week, and who are looking for work. It is available if you have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings. There is also a contribution-based allowance which is not means-tested.
  • Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people who have reached pension age, which is rising from 60 to 66 by October 2020. It is used to top up the money you already have to a set amount, to provide you with a basic income.
  • Housing Benefit provides help with paying rent.
  • Council Tax Reduction helps people who are on low incomes or are claiming benefits to pay their Council Tax.
  • Working Tax Credit is intended to top up the earnings of working people on low incomes. Extra money may be available if you have a disability (including Parkinson's) that puts you at a disadvantage in getting a job.

See our pages on each of these benefits for more information, including whether you qualify and advice on how to claim.

There is also Child Tax Credit, which is a means-tested benefit for people, whether working or not, who are responsible for children.