Income Support

NI Direct

Income Support is extra money to help people on a low income. It’s for people who are not signed on as unemployed. Whether you are eligible for Income Support and how much you get depends on your circumstances.


You can no longer make a new claim for Income Support. If you’re on a low income and need help to cover your living costs, you can apply for Universal Credit instead.

If you already get Income Support

People who meet the qualifying criteria below and already get Income Support can continue to do so, but must report any change in their circumstances (or those of their partner if they have one) immediately.

  • be between 16 and Pension Credit qualifying age
  • not be signed on as unemployed
  • be either pregnant, a carer, a lone parent with a child under five or, in some cases, unable to work because you’re sick or disabled
  • have no income or a low income (your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account)
  • be working less than 16 hours a week and your partner working less than 24 hours a week (you may still qualify if you do unpaid voluntary work or go on parental or paternity leave
  • live in Northern Ireland
  • not be under immigration control

Cost of Living Support Payment

A Cost of Living Support package has been put in place for 2022 that includes one-off payments to those on income related benefits, disabled claimants and pensioners. These payments are intended to provide support with the current rise in the cost of living.

You may be eligible for one, or more, of these Cost of Living Support Payments if you get or had started a claim for Income Support on 25 May 2022.

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