What is a Low Income?

What-is-a-Low-IncomeA myriad of living situations and incomes can determine the lifestyle of an individual and how they feel about their financial circumstance. With the onset of the economic downturn, many incomes have decreased causing some families and individuals onto hard times.

Beyond any individual or family spending habits, the government has come up with its own measurements to determine financial classifications.  Through these determining factors the government can provide individuals and families with different benefits and support.

Income Threshold

There is a threshold that was established to determine ones position on the income spectrum. Whilst there are many factors that can determine an income level, the United Kingdom takes these steps to ensure accuracy of reporting. For instance all incomes are on a median basis, which are calculated without the presence of tax. This helps to correctly examine the amount of disposable income available. If a family is earning less than 60 % of the current or latest available median threshold income statistics they are considered to be low income.

Family Size
Suffice it to say that a lone adult does not have the same income standards as a family of four. In this event, family size and household size are also computed in the determining of an income threshold. For example, if a single parent has two children, they will qualify for more benefits than an adult in a single situation. House composition can also affect income threshold. The income levels must be drawn according to scale of support.

The median level of low income can rise and fall depending on the year. For example in the year 2008, a single adult without the presence of children would garnish an income level average of about £119 per week. For a couple with two or more children the threshold was £288 during the 2008-2009 season During this time about 22% of the population or 13 million people fell into this category.

Benefits Available

If there is a family with a current financial situation of less than 60% of the median income threshold, then there is government aid available. Multiple loans and benefits are payable to those in need. To those who have lost their salary or are earning beneath the threshold, there are two programs available. Job seekers can receive an allowance while searching for new work called a JSA or Job Seekers Allowance. Temporary assistance is also available for those who qualify under the low-income threshold. Low-income support can help solve immediate financial problems. This benefit allowance and others like it are available for 6 months. They can be extended if needed, but serve as a temporary relief for those who have encountered financial duress. Other benefits could include Employment and Support Assistance (ESA), Child Tax Credits, Universal Credit, Health care, council tax and rental housing support.

There are certain components needed to determine ones income level. Using factors such as median calculations of income, in comparison to the population will help determine this information. To qualify your level of income can be calculated at gov.uk, however other factors such as household size are also a determining factor. If a family or individual has been deemed low income, then there are available options from the British government to assist. Contacting a benefits advisor will help unlock these unlock these potentially life saving tools.


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