Knowing your benefits rights and how to claim will help you get all the help you're entitled to. The benefits system may be complex, but it doesn't have to be confusing.
You may be eligible for benefits if you:
- Have a low income
- Have children
- Are sick or disabled
- Are a full-time carer
- Have been bereaved
Your age, income and where you live are also affecting factors.
How do I find out what benefits I'm entitled to?
We can help with claims for Personal Independence Payment, Employment Support Allowance and any issues around benefits.
Need more information on Welfare Benefits?
How do I claim?
If you're claiming benefits for the first time, it's a good idea to speak to us about your options.
We can help you with:
- Checking what you're entitled to
- Completing online forms
- Getting decisions changed, including supporting you with Mandatory Reconsiderations and appeals
- Home visits, if necessary
Contact us and ask to speak to the Advice Team. A Welfare Rights Advisor can provide any support you need.
Southway’s Support Success
- 67% of PIP tribunals were judged in the claimant's favour last year
- Our Advice Team's welfare rights specialists are often successful at winning appeals
What benefits may I be entitled to? (and how to apply)
All benefit applications must be completed via the government website.
To find out what benefits you are entitled to, click here for a benefit calculator.
Once you have carried out your calculation, you will be presented with the correct applications to apply for the benefits directly.
If you have any difficulties in using the benefits calculator, or need additional support, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Welfare Reform - What do I need to know?
For more details, you can find all you need to know in the government leaflet all about Welfare Reform.
When you apply for Pension Credit your income is calculated. If you have a partner, your income is calculated together.
Pension Credit tops up applicable from April 2023
- your weekly income to £201.05 if you’re single
- your joint weekly income to £306.85 if you have a partner
If your income is higher, you might still be eligible for Pension Credit if you have a disability, you care for someone, you have savings or you have housing costs.
Could Pension Credit give you extra income?
To carry out a check, click here.
For more information, and to make a claim, click here.
What is Pension Credit?
There are two types of Pension Credit: Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit. Some people get one or the other, whereas some people may get both.
Guarantee Pension Credit is a benefit which people of Pension Credit Age can claim; it tops up their income to a minimum level. It is much more generous than working age means-tested benefits. Even if you are entitled to a small amount, you will automatically qualify for the maximum help with your rent, so it is well worth making a claim. Even if you're not sure whether you'll qualify, you've got nothing to lose.
Savings Pension Credit is for people aged 65 and over. It provides extra money to some people who have made some additional provisions for their retirement, such as a private or workplace pension.
If you reached the State Pension age on, or after, the 6th April 2016, you will not be entitled to claim Savings Pension Credit.
Important: Changes to Pension Credit
As of the 15th May 2019, mixed-age couples will no longer be able to apply for Pension Credit, if the younger of the couple is of working age.
If you are in a mixed-age couple, and one of you qualifies for Pension Credit, you will have to claim Universal Credit instead. Click here for more information.
Personal Independence Payment (replaces Disability Living Allowance)
What is Personal Independence Payment?
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit paid to help with some of the extra costs caused by a long term illness or disability. An award of Personal Independence Payment can dramatically increase your income.
Unsure whether you're eligible for PIP? Use this online 'checker' to find out.
PIP and Disability Living Allowance
As of April 2013, PIP has gradually been replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
This change does not apply to:
- Anyone aged 65 and over, as of 8th April 2013
- People who are eligible for a badge under any other criteria, such as; those who are registered blind, Armed Forces personnel, people with a disability in both arms, children under 3 with specific medical conditions.
Need some help? Click here to contact us.
More Welfare and Benefit information
Non-dependent deductions - Does someone age 18 or over live with you?
Non-dependants are normally classed as anyone living with you aged 18 or over (if you are getting Universal Credit, it’s 21 or over). The government assumes that these adults will contribute towards household costs, including your rent and Council Tax. They can therefore deduct a sum of money from your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support entitlement, and this is called a non-dependant deduction. If you are getting Universal Credit, they can take a sum of money from it- and its official title is a ‘housing cost contribution’ but we’ll refer to it here as a non-dependant deduction.These rules are complicated and the wrong deduction can sometimes be made – making a big difference to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and Council Tax Support award, and so to how much rent and council tax you have to pay
More information around non-dependent deductions (government website)
Discretionary Housing Payments
Are you on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and struggling to pay your rent?Or perhaps you need to move due to the Welfare Reform changes but don’t have the money for a deposit for privately rented housing, or for removal costs?Every year the government gives local councils a pot of money to make Discretionary Housing Payments to help people who qualify for Housing Benefit (or the housing costs element of Universal Credit) who are having trouble with:• paying their rent, or• finding enough money to pay for the start-up costs of a tenancy, such as rent deposits and removal costs.
Council Tax Support
If you're a low income, you could receive a reduction in your Council Tax Bill, through the Council Tax Support Scheme.Council Tax Support replaced Council Tax Benefit in 2013. One of the key differences with the new scheme is that individual Councils now decide who is eligible for a Council Tax reduction, based on their own rules. These rules can be changed by the Council each April.Council Tax Support helps people on low income and/or certain Welfare Benefits to pay their Council Tax. If you think you would qualify, you'll need to apply to your Council for a reduction.Claiming Universal Credit?Unlike Housing Benefit, Universal Credit does not include Council Tax Support. If you are claiming Universal Credit, then you MUST make a separate claim for Council Tax Support from your Council. Click here to apply.
Are you a large family or live in a property with a high rent?The government introduced rules which limit the overall amount of welfare benefits a ‘working age’ household can receive. It does not affect you if you and your partner are Pension Credit age.The cap mainly affects large families (4 or more children – 3 or more in higher rented areas).Check the Benefit Cap Calculator to see if you are effected.If you (or you and your partner) are affected it is worth checking to see if you can claim one of the benefits that will exclude you from the Cap.
Benefits affected by the cap
The cap applies to the total amount people in your household (you, your partner and any children living with you) get from the following benefits:
- Bereavement Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance (unless you get the ‘support’ component)
- Housing Benefit
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widows Pension if you started getting it before 9 April 2001)
- Universal Credit (unless you’ve had a work capability assessment and aren’t fit for work)
Benefits NOT affected/included in the cap
You’re not affected by the cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
- Guardian’s Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Universal Credit payments towards carer’s costs or for ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’
- War pensions
- War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension
If you have adult children or non-dependants living with you and they qualify for any of these benefits, you may be affected by the cap. This is because they’re not usually included in your household.
Benefit cap- amounts
In Manchester (or anywhere outside the Greater London Borough) the cap is:
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re single and your children live with you
- £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you’re single and you don’t have children, or your children don’t live with you
Help with the cap
Contact us OR Call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you need help with the benefit cap.
For Universal Credit
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Telephone (Welsh): 0345 600 3018
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
You can also contact DWP through the journal in your Universal Credit online account.
For any other benefits
Telephone: 0345 605 7064
Telephone (Welsh): 0345 605 7066
Textphone: 0345 608 8551
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
- Benefits affected by the cap
- Non-dependent deductions - Does someone age 18 or over live with you?
Further Information and Advice
Need further help or advice? This may concern benefit decisions, appeals (representation), and correct benefits - contact us here