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Topic Benefits advice

Read weekly blogs from benefits advisor Tom. Post questions, share experiences around financial support in the conversations, message Tom privately or book an online ‘live chat’ session.

  • 144 conversations

Means tested benefits

Started by Tombenefits   on 02 May 2017 at 13:58
Edited on 26 May 2017 at 17:41

Hi everyone,

I have just started a new mini series looking at the current means tested benefits and tax credits.

Part 1 - available here - looks at just what exactly "means testing" is and why, to many people's surprise, by no means all benefits are linked to your income and savings. 

Why are some benefits means tested and some not? Its a mix of different objectives, mood swings and history. What might a purely means tested / purely non-means tested one look like?

In Part 2 - available here - I get up front and personal with the means tested benefits - and related tax credits. What are they? How might they help? How do I claim? This time I focus on the ones that act to top up a low - or temporarily - reduced income

In Part 3 - available here - I look at other means tested benefits that help with specific bills and costs - paying the rent, mortgage, council tax and health costs. I will also look at "passporting" that means that receiving one low income benefit can passport you through the financial assessment for others.

In Part 4 - I will have a look at the sums - eek! aargh! Possibly as welcome as  double maths on a Tuesday afternoon :-). But with simple examples with the aid of some well known characters, it may not be so scary. I will focus on "working age" claims as you can already see how these work for Pension Credit here.

And finally in Part 5 I will look at the similar but different world of the sums for tax credits

Doing the sums helps illustrate that - especially with the additions for "disability" and "caring" these benefits and tax credits  can go higher than you think. And some have no savings limit either

The key points before thinking "I'm feeling the pinch with extra costs and maybe reduced income, but I doubt benefits will apply to me" are:

  - 1 - by no means all benefits are "means tested". Many are payable regardless of income and savings. 

  - 2 - Even the ones that are,  may go beyond minimum safety net subsistence levels especially with additions that often apply to people affected by cancer. Don't do what some 40% of older people - OK, middle youths :-) - entitled to Pension Credit do - which is to simply not claim :-(...

So, you are never allowed to say that you can't claim any benefits without a signed note from me :-)

Please feel to join the conversation below with any comments, general thoughts or shared experiences,  around means tested benefits and tax credits.

But also please feel free to message me for a free, confidential and independent  check on any benefits that might apply in your situation.

Best wishes,


Online Centre Benefits Advisor

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