Check what benefits you can get
If you’re struggling with the cost of living, you should check if you can claim benefits or increase your current benefits.
You might be able to claim certain benefits even if you work, have savings or own a home.
To check what benefits you can get, you can:
- use a benefits calculator - for a detailed check based on your personal situation
- read our general benefits advice - to quickly check if you could get Universal Credit and other benefits
Why it’s worth checking what you can get
Lots of people miss out on benefits they’re entitled to - so it’s worth checking what you can get.
Claiming benefits also means you can get access to other financial help like cost of living payments and discounts on energy and transport.
Use a benefits calculator
Benefits calculators can tell you what benefits you might get and how much money you could get in benefits.
To get a more accurate answer, you’ll need information about your savings, income, pension, childcare payments and any existing benefits for you and your partner, if you have one.
Check if you can use a calculator
None of the calculators can give you an accurate answer if you're:
- a student
- on strike
- living outside the UK
- living permanently in residential care or a nursing home
- in prison
This is because it’s more complex to work out what benefits you can get if you're in one of these situations. If you want to check if you can get benefits, you can talk to an adviser.
If you’re under 18
There's only one benefits calculator you can use if you're under 18.
If you're not a British or Irish citizen
There’s only one tool you can use - it’s called ‘Support for migrant families’.
The tool can tell you if you’re eligible for benefits and what help you can get from social services and immigration advisers.
You can only use the Support for migrant families tool if you have 'no recourse to public funds' - this means you can't claim most benefits. The tool is particularly useful if you're responsible for children under 18.
Your results will be more accurate if you know your immigration status.
If you want a detailed benefits check
You can use the Entitledto benefits calculator for a detailed overview of what you might get. Entitledto’s calculator is particularly useful if:
- you’re already claiming benefits
- you’re sick or disabled
- you’re over State Pension age - you can check your State Pension age on GOV.UK
If you want a quick overview of what help you can get
You can use the Turn2us benefits calculator for a quick idea of what benefits and other financial help you might be eligible for.
Check if you can get Universal Credit
Universal Credit is the main benefit for most people of working age. You should check if you can get Universal Credit if:
- you’re over 18 and under State Pension age - you can check your State Pension age on GOV.UK
- you have less than £16,000 in savings or other investments
It's worth checking if you can get Universal Credit, even if you work full-time. There’s no set amount of income where you stop being eligible for Universal Credit - it depends on your situation.
If you’re already claiming benefits, talk to an adviser first to check if you’re better off on Universal Credit.
Getting Universal Credit if you’re sick or disabled
If you find it difficult to work because you’re sick or disabled, you might get more Universal Credit or not have to look for work.
Check what other benefits you might get
You might be entitled to other benefits depending on your situation - like your age, if you’re disabled or if you have a child.
You might be able to get more than one benefit - for example, disability benefits and Universal Credit.
If you pay council tax, you should check if you can pay less council tax.
If you’re sick or disabled
You might be able to get disability benefits if:
- you have difficulty with everyday tasks or getting around
- you can’t work because you’re sick or disabled
It usually doesn’t matter how much you earn, if you have savings or how much National Insurance you’ve paid.
If you’re over State Pension age
If you’ve been paying National Insurance contributions, you might get a State Pension. Check how State Pensions work.
If you’re sick or disabled
You might be able to get Attendance Allowance if you have difficulty with everyday tasks and getting around.
If you have a low amount of income and savings
You might be able to get Pension Credit - even if you own your own home or have a small private pension.
Claiming Pension Credit can give you access to other help like money off council tax, healthcare and energy.
If you’re struggling to pay your rent, you should check if you can claim Housing Benefit.
If you’re 80 or over
If you don’t get a basic State Pension or your basic State Pension is less than £85 a week, you could get extra money - this is called a ‘category D pension’.
You can only get a category D pension if you’ve lived in the UK for at least 10 years of the past 20 years.
If you’re looking for full-time work
You might get ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if:
- you’re over 18 and under State Pension age
- you've worked and paid Class 1 National Insurance in the last 2 to 3 years
You can claim new style JSA on its own or with Universal Credit.
If you already get contribution-based JSA, check if you can add income-based JSA.
If you're a carer
If you care for a disabled person for at least 35 hours a week, check if you can get Carer’s Allowance.
If you can’t get Carer’s Allowance
You might be able to get Carer’s Credit if you care for a disabled person for at least 20 hours a week. Check if you can get Carer’s Credit on GOV.UK.
If you’re having a baby
If you work and you’re having a child, you might be able to get:
- maternity pay, if you’re pregnant or you gave birth recently - check if you can get maternity benefits
- adoption pay, if you’re adopting - check if you can get adoption pay on GOV.UK
- paternity pay, if your partner’s pregnant or adopting - check if you can get paternity pay on GOV.UK
If you're responsible for a child
You might get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for:
- a child under 16
- a child under 20 who is still in education or training
It doesn’t matter if you work or have savings and investments.
If you’re responsible for a child whose parents have died
You might get Guardian’s Allowance if you already get Child Benefit.
If you get Working Tax Credits
You can add Child Tax Credits to your claim. Child Tax Credits give you access to other help - like free school meals.
If you're 16 or 17
If you’re finding things difficult, you should contact your local council’s child services. They might be able to give you money to afford essentials and give you access to counselling and care. You can find your local council on GOV.UK.
You might also be able to get Universal Credit if:
- you’re a carer
- you’re a single parent or you’re the only person responsible for children in your household
- you can’t work or have difficulty working because you’re sick or disabled
- you’re not in contact with your parents and you’re not in care
If you’re responsible for a child under 18, you might be able to get Child Benefit.
If your partner died recently
You might be able to get bereavement benefits, depending on when your partner died.
If you’re in the armed forces or a veteran
Check what other financial help you can get
If you don’t have enough money to live on, you might be able to get extra money from the government, your local council or a charity.