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Some older benefits and tax credits are gradually being replaced by Universal Credit. These ‘legacy benefits’ are:
If you’re already on one of these, you can keep claiming for now. Most people can’t make a new claim – and will have to go on Universal Credit instead. There are a few exceptions – for example, if you live in temporary accommodation you may still be able to apply for Housing Benefit.
The benefits rates on this page relate to April 2023 to April 2024. If you’re not on any of these benefits, take a look at our Universal Credit page instead.
You’ll have to start claiming Universal Credit in the next few years. This change will happen either because:
It’s a good idea to talk to us before you apply for Universal Credit. We can help you work out if you’d be better off doing this or not. Once you’re claiming Universal Credit, you can’t switch back to an older benefit. See our page on Universal Credit for more on how this works.
Tax credits are extra money for people who are on a low income, who need help with the costs of bringing up a child, or who are disabled and working. There are 2 kinds: Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
It can be complicated to work out what you should be getting with each tax credit. Our benefit checkers can help you figure this out.
If you’re claiming one tax credit and want to make a new claim for the other, you’ll need to update your existing tax credit claim. This is the only way you can make a new claim for tax credits.
This helps boost your income if you’re working but earning below a certain amount.
To get Working Tax Credit as a single parent, you have to be working at least 16 hours a week. You can continue to get this while you’re on maternity leave, or off sick, or between jobs.
If you’re getting Working Tax Credit, you won’t be affected by the benefit cap (a limit to how much benefit you can get).
How much you get depends on your income and your situation. On top of the basic amount, you could get extra payments (called elements) if:
The childcare element can help with up to 70% of your childcare costs. So you could get up to £122.50 a week for 1 child or up to £210 a week for 2 or more children.
Help with childcare costs is more generous with Universal Credit – you can claim up to 85% of your costs back.
It’s important to make sure you’ll be better off with Universal Credit before switching over, as you can’t switch back. You might want to talk to us before making a change.
This helps with the cost of bringing up a child. You can get Child Tax Credit until your child turns 16 (or 20 if they’re in education or training). It doesn’t matter whether you’re working or not.
It’s complicated to work out how much Child Tax Credit you should get, as it’s made up of different elements depending on your situation. These are:
You usually only get extra money for your first 2 children (the child element). This is called the 2 child limit. This means you won’t be paid any extra if you have more than 2 children, unless they were born before 6 April 2017.
You can get support for more than 2 children if:
This helps pay your rent if you’re on a low income or other benefits. You can’t have more than £16,000 in savings if you want to claim.
Housing Benefit might cover all or part of your rent, along with some service charges. There’s no set amount you can get – this depends on your income, your situation (like the age of people in the house and whether anyone is disabled), and whether you rent privately or through the council.
If you’re affected by the benefit cap (a limit to how much you can get through benefits), your Housing Benefit may be reduced. Our page on help with rent has more about what affects how much Housing Benefit you’ll get, as well as grants you can claim if you’re struggling with your rent.
You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit in certain situations – like if you’re in temporary, supported or sheltered accommodation.
This is extra money for people who are disabled or have an illness that makes it hard for them to work.
You can no longer apply for income-based ESA, but you can make a new claim for new-style ESA. Read more on our page about benefits if you have a disability or health condition.
If you’re already getting income-based ESA, this can continue while you’re disabled or have a health condition that affects your ability to look for work.
It can be complicated to work out how much income-related ESA you should be getting. Your situation, income and any savings over £6000 will affect the calculation. As a single parent, you can get a basic payment of up to £84.80 a week. If you’re under 18, you can get up to £67.20 a week.
This helps people on a low income who are working less than 16 hours a week with less than £16,000 in savings. You don’t have to look for work to get Income Support. But you might have to go to work-focused interviews aimed at helping you to find work in future.
To get Income Support, you also have to have a child under 5. You’ll only be able to continue to claim income support once your youngest is 5 if:
It can be complicated to work out how much Income Support you should be getting. Your situation, income and any savings over £6000 will affect the calculation. As a single parent, you can get a basic payment of up to £84.80 a week. If you’re under 18, you can get up to £67.20 a week. If you’re a carer or disabled, you might get extra money (called premiums).
This is extra money to support people who are looking for work.
You can no longer apply for income-based JSA, but you can make a claim for new-style JSA.
If you’re already claiming income-based JSA, you can keep getting it as long as:
It can be complicated to work out how much income-related JSA you should be getting. Your situation, income and any savings over £6000 will affect the calculation. As a single parent, you can get a basic payment of up to £84.80 a week. If you’re under 18, you can get up to £67.20 a week.
Date last updated: 28 June 2023