BENEFITS for United Kingdom Citizens

  • An introduction to Benefits that English citizens are entitled to receive from the government.  They are not freebies. Those spouses who do not work or have large families are funded by those  who do.

A tweet referred to the benefits paid by the U.K. government to its citizens. The list was exhaustive and got me envious. So I decided to find out the nature of benefits. 


The deeper purpose of this article is for Indians to know about Western regulatory framework w.r.t individuals. This is the second article in this series, the first being Inheritance and Estate Tax in USA are different


The words England, Britain and United Kingdom (UK) are often used interchangeably. England is the island country. Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales. UK (Protestant) is Britain plus Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is a separate nation (Christian). While site URL refers to UK, there are exceptions. So to make it easy will refer to benefits as benefits in England. I tried to make it as simple as possible. To know more click on link.


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy.


All Credits to source websites. Matter below is invariably taken verbatim from sites. I have only culled out data.


Here are list of benefits with links. The starting point to applying for many allowances is you must have the Right to Reside in UK This link explains entitlement and how to avail of benefits simply Understanding UK Benefits


In British society both man and woman are expected to work so for the purposes of unemployment allowance a homemaker is treated as unemployed so gets allowance. All immigrants might not subscribe to this ethic. Aru writes from London, “It’s not like they are expected to work. It’s a reality of the West,, take any country. Work ethic is promoted.”


Numerous benefits are being replaced by Universal Credit. It supports people of working age on a low income, is those who are unable to work due to ill health/disability or are unemployed. It replaces numerous allowances. Those above a certain age receive State Pension. A forced retirement age of 65 no longer exists To know more

1.  Job Seeker Allowance

“If you're unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week, you may be eligible for New Style Jobseekers Allowance.   


This is a contribution-based benefit so you can receive the payment if you've paid enough Class 1 National Insurance contributions in the two full tax years before the calendar year of your claim. The main difference between Universal Credit and New Style JSA is that your savings and investments aren't taken into consideration for New Style JSA. If you have a partner their income and capital is disregarded.” Source


JSA payment for age Up to 24 is up to £ 71.70 per week (Rs 7,456), 25 and above is up to £ 90.50 per week (Rs 9,412). 


“You can get New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for up to 182 days. After this you can talk to your work coach about your options.” Source  Vir wrote in from London-They assign everyone a job coach who advises how to find job. You attend job centre regularly to report progress and get allowance to live on. May also get housing benefit depending on savings. Sick disabled can get Employment and support allowance. 


Simply said, a person should have made adequate contributions of National Insurance in the two preceding years. The good thing is that your spouse’s income and capital are not looked at in this case.


Some questions -  

Q1. This allowance is paid to home makers too. So if a community does not want its women to get educated and work, would they receive this allowance. NO.


Vir wrote in from London, “A homemaker who is dependant on hubby relies on his income or his JSA, maybe Carer allowance if caring for someone. If single she can claim income support, housing benefit, child tax credit. (That is why many declare themselves single parent even if married.) Aru says it simply, “JSA is given only if you show evidence of seeking jobs. It is not like a freebie.”

 Read   Benefits you can claim if you are not working or are on low income

Q2. Will you receive JSA if national insurance contributions not made. NO

Q3. JSA is payable for those who made insurance contributions correct so what about a home maker who has never worked. Will she receive JSA? NO.

Q4. If you are 25 never done a job, so no contribution will you receive JSA? NO.


2.  Child Benefit Allowance

“You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is: under 16, under 20 if they stay in approved education or training Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child. There’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

On 6 April 2024, it rose to: £25.60 a week (Rs 2,662) for the eldest or only child and £16.95 a week (Rs 1762) for younger children. Source


If family income exceeds £ 60,000 a year you are not entitled to this allowance.


Note - Families that have more children would receive larger amounts.


There was an attempt to restrict child benefits for a maximum number but! Vote bank politics exists in England too.  


To know all about Financial Help if you have children


3.  Income Support Allowance

Income Support is extra money to help people on a low income. It’s for people who are not signed on as unemployed. 


It includes a personal allowance and premium under certain circumstances. To know Income Support Rates The benefit cap is for those above 16, not reached state pension age.


Unless you are covered by this allowance one can opt for Universal Credit.


4.  Employment Support Allowance

“You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. ESA gives money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work and support to get back into work if you’re able to. You can apply if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.”


5.    Housing Benefit

“Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. It is being replaced by Universal Credit.” Simply, it helps people with low income pay their rent.  

6.   Pension Credit

“It is a benefit for people who are on low income and have reached State Pension age.” 


This benefit tops up your weekly income to the following basic amounts for 2024/25: single person: £218.15 (Rs 22,687), couple: £332.95 (Rs 34,626).


To know all about financial support if you are on low income


7.   Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit supporting people of working age on a low income, those who are unable to work due to ill health/disability or are unemployed. Source

It has replaced the following benefits and tax credits namely Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit.

To be eligible for UC you must “live in the UK, be under State Pension age, have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investments and be aged 18 or over. Source 


So can such benefits be extended to 140 crore Indians?

The population of United Kingdom as on 2024 is 6.79 crores, England in 2018 was 5.6 crore. Compare that with 140 crore plus Indians. India has an area of 3.29 million sq kms. UK has an area of 2,43,610 sq kms.


Deeper Observation – Those residents of UK who can work but do not work are a burden on those who do because all allowances need to be funded through government revenue or borrowings.  


Last question-Suppose a homemaker has 6 kids, what will the couple get besides child allowance?

Vir says, “Depending on income, savings. If below threshold they get free house, universal credit which is money to live on. Free school meals for kids, they can claim Carers allowance if caring for sick relative. All will be assessed by officers. I have heard they claim Carers allowance for a parent's arthritis. In culture of most immigrants, it is unlikely that an adult child of opposite gender will do personal caring of parent of opposite gender like bathing etc. But officers don't care as long as they have necessary documents. Some do not  change name after getting married so both husband wife claim separately to get more.”

The author has compiled this article by carefully. In case of any errors, they are intended. Do write back with source link and we shall correct.


The author is an India based Chartered Accountant.

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