Income Support rules for lone parents

There are changes to Income Support that may affect your entitlement if you're receiving it because you're a lone parent.

Changes to Income Support for lone parents

Once your youngest child reaches a certain age, your entitlement to Income Support may stop if you’re only claiming it because you’re a lone parent.

These changes do not apply to you if you receive Income Support for additional reasons. For example, if you:
  • have children who are entitled to the middle-rate or highest-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • get Carer's Allowance
  • have a foster child living with you
There may be other reasons why these changes do not apply to you. If you are not sure, ask your Jobcentre Plus adviser.

What happens when your Income Support stops

Jobcentre Plus will contact you before your Income Support is due to stop to tell you when your last payment is due. Jobcentre Plus will also invite you to an interview with an adviser, who will explain what you need to do to make a claim for another benefit if you have not found paid work.
It is very important that you attend this interview so that you continue to receive the right benefits and financial support if you need it.

Other benefits which you may be entitled to

If you have not found work when your Income Support ends, or if you need to make a new claim as a lone parent, you will be able to apply for either Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

Jobseeker's Allowance is the main benefit for people who are out of work. To receive it, you must be available for and actively looking for work. As a lone parent with a youngest child aged 12 or under, you have the right to restrict the hours you are available to work. This means that you will not be expected to work outside your child’s normal school hours. Your adviser will be able to provide you with more information.

Employment and Support Allowance is the main benefit for people who are not able to work due to a health condition or disability.

Claiming tax credits

Child Tax Credit is paid by HM Revenue & Customs and replaces the child related element that may currently be paid with your Income Support. To get Child Tax Credit, you need to complete a claim form. Your Jobcentre Plus adviser can help you to complete the right form.