Means-tested benefit

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A means-tested benefit is a payment available to people who can demonstrate that their income and capital (their 'means') are below specified limits. It is a central part of the welfare state in the United Kingdom.


The Beveridge Report of 1942 proposed a system of contributory benefits which would leave only a residual role for means-tested benefits which were then called National Assistance.



The main means-tested benefits in 2013 are:


Receipt of such benefits other than Housing Benefit and tax credits is a passport to other non-cash help such as free school meals, free prescription charges, Legal Aid, cold weather payment. The claimant, their partner and dependent children are covered.

People who are not entitled to any of the qualifying benefits may be able to qualify for others by a separate means test such as the NHS Low Income Scheme.

Assessment of means[edit]

The income and capital limits are specified in relation to the needs of a household, normally a couple and any children living with them. A couple who are not married may be treated as Living together as a married couple.

See capital

See also[edit]


External links[edit]