How Your Benefits are Means Tested | ƹƵ


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How your benefits are means tested

Means-tested benefits are awarded based on your income and how much capital you have. Most of the information on this page applies to people over State Pension age.

Which benefits are means tested?

Depending on your income and how much capital you have, you may be entitled to means-tested benefits. The means-tested benefits are:

Which benefits aren't means tested?

You may be entitled to non-means-tested benefits. In general, these are benefits that don't depend on your income or capital. Below is a list of non-means-tested benefits: 

Although you might qualify for more than one of these benefits, you might not be able to claim more than one of these at any one time. 

What's included in a means test?

When assessing whether you're eligible to claim a means-tested benefit, some types of income are fully considered but others (such as if you receive Attendance Allowance) are ignored. Your partner’s income and capital may also be taken into account.

Capital includes savings and investments. Examples of capital that are taken into account in means tests include:

  • cash
  • stocks and shares
  • a share of any savings you own jointly with other people
  • property other than your main home
  • Premium Bonds
  • National Savings accounts and certificates (there are special rules for valuing these).

Any lump sum payments you received from deferring your State Pension aren't included as capital.

What are the capital limits for means-tested benefits?

Your income and capital need to be below a certain limit for you to be eligible to claim any means-tested benefit. This level is an estimate of the amount you'd need to live on and is set by the government.

Each benefit has different eligibility criteria, which your income and capital need to meet for you to be able to claim. If your income and capital are greater than this level then you might not be eligible to claim, or you might receive a reduced amount.

Below are examples of capital limits and how they can affect your benefits claim. The lower capital limit is how much you can have in savings and investments before it affects your benefits claim. 

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

These benefits have a lower capital limit of £6,000 and an upper capital limit of £16,000. If you have less than £6,000 of capital then you should be able to claim the full benefit. If you have between £6,000 and £16,000 then you should get a reduced amount. If you (and your partner) are over State Pension age, the lower capital limit is £10,000.

However, if you have more than £16,000 in capital, then you may not be able to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support. This rule doesn’t apply if you receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit.

Pension Credit

There's no upper capital limit for Pension Credit, but you may receive a reduced amount if you have more than £10,000 of capital.

Are you entitled to extra money?

Do you know what benefits you're entitled to? Our online benefits calculator can help you quickly and easily find out what you could be claiming.

Get a free benefits check

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Last updated: May 23 2024

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