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 [169kb])
How Do I claim Income Support?
- Contact Social Security on 222508 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.
- There is a limit to the weekly amount of benefit that can be awarded. The limit is reviewed annually and is currently £850.00 per week.
- Certain income is disregarded in full or part. For example, there is a disregard of £35 per week applied against any earnings. This means that you will always be £35 per week better off as we ignore £35 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])
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
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 email@example.com or by calling 222508.
- *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
- This allowance will provide extra help to people who have particular needs that result in extra energy, clothing, laundry and dietary costs.
- 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.
- 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 £76.50 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 2020 this rate is set at £28.89 per week.
- For more information please contact income support on 222508
Gas Discount Scheme
- The Gas Discount Scheme is a temporary, means-tested scheme to assist households with the cost of heating their homes with gas this winter.
- The scheme is open to all gas heating households, including households already getting the normal winter fuel allowance through income support. This extra help is being made available following the news that gas prices are increasing from mid-October 2021 by around £10 to £15 a month for the average household.
- Households that qualify will have a discount applied to their gas bill for the period from 29 October 2021 to 29 April 2022. In order to qualify, householders must have an account with Guernsey Gas and use gas to heat their homes.
- You can make an application by completing an online form, or paper copies are available at Edward T. Wheadon House.
- A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Gas Discount Scheme are available here.
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. Instructions on how to use the app are available here.
- Wage slips can also be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 by phone, tel.222508 .