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Welfare benefits

Top-up benefits

There are a number of top-up benefits that could aid you if you have a low income. They include Income Support, tax and pension credits and housing benefits. These benefits can be very helpful if your long-term lung condition limits your income.

On this page:

Income Support

Income support tops up your income if it falls below a certain level. You must be all of the following:

  • between 16 and state pension age
  • a carer, or pregnant, or a lone parent with a child under 5, or unable to work because you were ill before 27 October 2010
  • have no income or a low income
  • work less than 16 hours a week
  • live in England, Scotland or Wales

Tax Credits

There are 2 types of Tax Credits, both of which are means-tested:

  • Child Tax Credit - payable to anyone who has any children, depending on household income
  • Working Tax Credit - payable to anyone in low-paid work

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit for people who have reached the qualifying age. It has 2 parts, and you may be entitled to 1 or both:

  • Guarantee Credit, which tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed level
  • Savings Credit, for people who are over 65 and have saved some money towards their retirement. If you reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2016, you won’t be eligible for this part.

The qualifying age is gradually increasing to 66 in line with the increase of state pension age. You can find out your qualifying age at or by calling 0345 606 0265.

You can claim whether or not you still work.

The new state pension

The new state pension is a regular payment you can claim if you reach state pension age on or after April 2016. It’s based on your national insurance record. You’ll usually need to have paid 10 years’ national insurance to qualify. You’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the new full state pension if you don’t have a national insurance record before 2016. You won’t get the pension automatically, you need to claim it. You should get a letter 4 months before your state pension age telling you what to do. You can call 0800 731 7898 to make a claim.

Housing Benefit

You could get Housing Benefit to help pay your rent if you’re on a low income. How much you get is based on your income and your circumstances.

Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in council or social housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is:

  • 14% of your housing benefit for 1 spare bedroom
  • 25% for 2 or more spare bedrooms.

In Scotland, measures are in place to mitigate the financial impact of this reduction. Call our helpline on 03000 030 555 for the details.

Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Reduction is a means-tested benefit which helps you to pay your council tax. You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

Local councils set their council tax rates and run their own schemes for Council Tax Reduction. You should apply to your local council.

Next: Help with prescription costs >

Download our welfare benefits information (PDF, 270KB)

Last medically reviewed: December 2017. Due for review: December 2018

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.