Income support is a means tested benefit that enables all households in Guernsey and Alderney to access financial support sufficient to ensure an acceptable standard of living.
An acceptable standard of living is known as the Requirement Rate, and varies according to a person's household makeup and circumstances; e.g. a single person that lives at home will not need as much assistance as a family that has rental expenses. Requirement rates are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that they reflect the true cost of living.
If a person's household income is not sufficient to meet their needs (requirement rate) then income support will offer financial assistance to bring their household income up to the required level.
Who can claim Income Support?
- In order to receive income support your household income must not be sufficient to meet your needs (requirement rate). You must also be:
- Ordinarily resident in Guernsey, Alderney, Herm or Jethou Have a valid residency certificate or permit (previously known as 'right to work') allowing you to live and work in the island
- Over the age of 18
- No longer in full time education
- Your savings must be less than the set capital limits ( Capital Limits for Income Support [83kb])
How do I claim Income Support?
- Contact Social Security on 221000 or visit our offices at Edward T Wheadon House, Le Truchot, St Peter Port, or the States Office, Alderney. If you are unable to attend the office because of a disability or illness, a member of Social Security's staff may be able to visit you in your home.
- A staff member will ask you for information about your income, other assets and household dependants. This information is needed in order to find out if you will be entitled to benefit. The information you are asked to give is treated as strictly confidential.
- You are legally required to report any changes in your circumstances to the offices as soon as they occur (please see "What do I do if my circumstances change?" below for more information).
- Benefit is paid into a bank account, weekly in advance. If you do not have a bank account, you will need to visit a bank and ask to open an account. Basic bank accounts are available from a number of banks.
How is benefit calculated?
- If a person's household income is not sufficient to meet their needs (requirement rate) then income support will offer financial assistance to bring their household income up to the required level.
- Until 2023 there was a limit to the weekly amount of benefit that could be awarded. In November 2022, the States agreed to remove this limit with effect from January 2023.
- Certain income is disregarded in full or part. For example, there is a disregard of £40 per week applied against any earnings. This means that you will always be £40 per week better off as we ignore £40 from your earnings before working out your benefit entitlement.
- More information on disregards can be found in the policy letter Income Support Policy Letter January 2018 [624kb], and more information about changes to disregards since 2018 can be found in the policy letter P.2022/91 - Non-contributory Benefit Rates for 2023 [914kb]
Will I need to work?
- Anyone claiming income support who is under pensionable age and all dependants who are of working age (i.e. over school leaving age but under pensionable age) and who have left full-time education, must also be in full-time work, or acting in compliance with work requirements relating to them, in order to be eligible for income support.
What is a work requirement?
- Everyone who is of working age will have a work requirement. The level of work requirement that you are set is dependent upon your personal circumstances and takes account of your state of health, any care requirements, or other agreed commitments that you may have. If you are incapacitated you will still have a work requirement - this would normally be zero hours whilst you cannot work but you would be expected to participate in any reasonable treatment or rehabilitation programme to aid your recovery and return to work.
What if I am already working?
- If you are already working but not meeting your work requirement, you will be expected to seek additional hours to fulfil your work requirement or secure an alternative post that allows you to do so.
- Our Job Centre is on hand to support you in securing additional employment to fit around your current employment or, if this isn't possible, to secure an alternative post.
- Income support will offset the cost of childcare against the earnings that you receive. This means that you will still be responsible for paying your childcare provider but that this expense is deducted from your earnings before calculating your benefit entitlement.
- You will be asked to show how much your childcare costs. Childcare costs will only be offset for childcare whilst you are at work.
Treatment of Savings
- If you have capital over the capital limit that applies in your case then you will be unable to claim income support for a set period of time. The length of time will depend on the amount of capital you have. If you have capital of less than the capital limit, there will be no reduction in the amount of benefit you receive because of your capital.
- If you have savings over the capital limit it is important that you don't spend the money at an unreasonable rate. Should you later apply to income support you may be asked to demonstrate how the funds have been spent and you may not be eligible for income support if you have spent the funds too quickly.
- Capital Limits from January 2023
Family, one child
Family, two children
Family, three or more children
What do I do if my circumstances change?
- Certain changes will affect the amount of income support that you may be entitled to. Because of this it is important that you inform us of any changes to your circumstances and those of any dependant members of your household.
- Common examples of this include:
- Changed address
- Had a partner move in or out
- Another household member (non dependant child or friend) has moved in or out
- Got married or entered into a civil partnership
- Started employment Finished employment
- Changes to the child maintenance that you receive
- Going out of the island
- Changes in income - for example, an inheritance* or cash gift
- Some of the above changes can be declared by completing a form which is available in the downloadable forms section of this page. If you have a change to your circumstances that is not covered by these forms, you can report the change by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 221000.
- *If you receive a sum of money through an inheritance or other means you must inform income support without delay. Depending on the amount you receive, your claim may be stopped. It is important that you don't spend the money at an unreasonable rate. An income support claim will not be restarted if the money is considered to have been spent too quickly. You should seek the advice of the income support staff.
Extra Needs Allowance
- If you are already receiving Income Support and have an illness, disability, or health condition which means that you have additional costs related to:
- laundry and clothing
- food and diet
- You may qualify for an extra needs allowance of up to £20 per week.
- If you are already receiving Severe Disability Benefit (SDB) you cannot claim an Extra Needs Allowance because the payment of SDB already recognises extra costs of living with a disability.
- An application for the allowance can be made whilst making your application to income support. Alternatively, if you are already in receipt of income support, you can apply by completing the application form available in the downloadable forms section of this page, or by clicking here.
- A non-dependant is someone that has reached school leaving age, is not in full time education and is living in your house. This could be someone living at home with their parents, someone living with adult children, or someone living with friends.
- If you are a non-dependent member of a household and are in receipt of income support you may be entitled to receive a non-dependent rental allowance.
- If you are currently contributing towards the household that you are residing in you will need to advise us how much rent (board) you have been paying for the last 3 months so we can calculate the correct amount of rent allowance to pay you.
- If you aren't currently expected to contribute towards the household we will not look to award an allowance.
- We will pay a non-householder rent allowance of up to £86.00 per week to cover your rent (board).
- If you currently pay more than that to the person whose house you live in you will have to make up the difference.
Winter Fuel Allowance
- Between the last week in October and the last week in April certain householders are entitled to a fuel allowance.
- From October 2022 this rate is set at £37.06 per week.
- For more information please contact income support on 221000
For working people
- People in work only need to send in a copy of their wage slip if their wages have changed since they last provided a copy. This applies to all working members of a household who are part of an income support claim.
- The fastest way to send in a wage slip is by smart phone with the Guernsey Uploads App, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
- Wage slips can also be sent by email to email@example.com or posted or handed in to Income Support at Edward T Wheadon House, Le Truchot, St Peter Port, GY1 3WH.
Support to access equipment
- You do not necessarily need to be on benefits. Income Support may be able to help people with extra needs, even if you or the person needing equipment does not qualify for cash benefit. Income Support can also, in exceptional circumstances, award grants or loans towards the alteration of property in relation to medical need.
- For more information you can contact Income Support on 221000.