What state benefits am I entitled to?

Published  20 July 2023
   3 min read

Claiming all the state benefits you’re entitled to could make a big difference to your income.

Whatever your circumstances, there’s a wide range of financial help available. Use the handy tool at the end of this guide to find out which state benefits you may qualify for.


Who’s entitled to state benefits?

Your right to benefits depends on your individual circumstances and the circumstances of your household. For example, you may be entitled to benefits if you fall ill, lose your job, are on a low income, have children, are over State Pension age, have a disability, become a carer or are recently bereaved.

If you want to know more, we have many guides that explain your options and what to think about if you or a family member falls ill.

We also have guides that explain the support you could receive if you lose your job or if you’re unable to work due to illness.


What state benefits and support could I receive?

There is plenty of help available to make navigating the states benefits system easier. For example, online benefits calculators that tell you what you might qualify for – there’s one at the end of this page.

You can also seek expert financial advice or speak to your local authority for help with housing and council tax costs.

As well as state benefits, there are schemes and grants available for those on a low income. Many charitable organisations provide support towards things like gas and electricity costs, water bills and energy efficiency measures.


Pensions and state benefits

Some state benefits are means-tested. This means that the amount you get, and whether you qualify at all, depends on how much you have saved in your pension, and any capital (savings and investments) you already have, alongside your income.

Means-tested benefits include:

  • Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit.

Depending on how old you are, any decisions you make about taking money from your pension pot may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits.


If you’re below state pension age

The money you take out of your pension will count towards your income or capital. Whatever is left in your pot won’t. So, if you take money out of your pension early, it may mean you receive less in means-tested benefits. You may even be unable to claim them.


If you’re over state pension age

This is more complicated, as the government expects you to use the money in your pension to support yourself. So, even if you leave your pension pot untouched, it can still be considered when deciding whether you’re entitled to means-tested benefits.

Taking a smaller income from your pension pot won’t make a difference. Your entitlement to benefits may be based on your ‘notional income’ – the amount that the government thinks you could have taken instead.

Citizens Advice has more useful information about how taking money from your pension may affect the benefits you’re able to claim.


Find out what state benefits you’re entitled to

Our flagship charity partner, Turn2Us, has developed this free, confidential and independent benefits calculator.

You can use it to find out which state benefits you may be entitled to, based on you and your household’s circumstances.