Adequate Maintenance: Applying for a visa when you are receiving benefits

Visa Rules

For those in receipt of certain benefits, the minimum income threshold of the financial requirement under Appendix FM does not apply.

They will have to meet a requirement for ‘adequate maintenance’ instead.

The minimum income threshold does not apply for those in receipt of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance;
  • Personal Independence Payment;
  • Attendance Allowance;
  • Carer’s Allowance;
  • Severe Disablement Allowance;
  • Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit;
  • Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme;
  • Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme;
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment;
  • Constant Attendance Allowance

So what does ‘adequate’ mean?

The definition of ‘adequate’ in relation to a maintenance and accommodation requirement can be found in Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules.

‘Adequate’ means that the family should have the same level of income available to them, after deducting income tax, National Insurance Contributions and housing costs, as they would have had if they were in receipt of Income Support.

How is adequate maintenance calculated?

Adequate Maintenance is calculated using the following formula

Net Income (income after deducting income tax and National Insurance contributions)

Housing Costs (for example rent, council tax etc)


The amount of Income Support a British family of the same size can receive.

Net Income

The UK Partners (Sponsor) current total weekly income after deducting income tax and National Insurance contributions will be calculated.

(If the applicant is in the UK with permission to work then their weekly income can be calculated as well.)

If the income varies then a mean weekly average will be calculated.

All the following sources of income can be included:

  • Income from salaried or non-salaried employment.
  • Income from self-employment or as a director of a specified limited company in the UK.
  • Non-employment income, e.g. income from property rental or dividends
  • Income from Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit, income-related benefits, contributory benefits and benefits/pensions payable to Armed Forces veterans and their partner.
  • State (UK or foreign) or private pension.
  • Cash savings held for at least 6 months prior to the date of application.

Housing Costs

Evidence of housing and council tax costs for the accommodation the applicant will live in in the UK should be provided as part of the visa application.

Any costs which are not weekly will need to be converted into a weekly figure. For example, if your Council Tax is monthly then you multiply this by 12 and divide by 52 to get the weekly equivalent.

Monthly Council Tax = £120 x 12 divided by 52 = £27.69 weekly equivalent of Council Tax

Applicants will need to provide documentary evidence of housing costs like:

  • A letter from the landlord or mortgage provider stating the rental or mortgage cost of the property;
  • At least one personal bank statement to show the rent/mortgage payment leaving the account of the sponsor, their partner or the couple jointly;
  • Rent book (if available);
  • Council Tax Statement or a letter from the local authority stating the Council Tax that is payable.

Income Support

The decision makers will then calculate how much a British family of equivalent size would receive in Income Support.

To see the latest benefit rates CLICK HERE.

Still not sure how it works?

Mr Singh wants to sponsor his partner to join him in the UK. Let’s calculate whether Mr Singh would meet the ‘Adequate Maintenance’ requirement.

Step 1 : Calculate Mr Singh’s net income

Income sourceInterval receivedEquivalent weekly amount
Net income from employment (after deduction of income tax and NI contributions)£487.86 monthly Multiplied by 12 then divided by 52 =£112.58
Working Tax Credit£364.71 every four weeks Divided by 4 =£91.18
Personal Independence PaymentWeekly£58.70
Housing BenefitWeekly£65.00
Total Income£327.46

Step 2 : Calculate Mr Singh’s housing costs

Housing costsInterval paidEquivalent weekly amount
Council Tax£82.54 monthly Multiplied by 12 then divided by 52 =£19.04
Total housing costs£169.04

Step 3 : Calculate how much a British family of equivalent size would receive in Income Support

Income Support rate for a coupleWeekly£114.85
Total Income Support£114.85

Step 4 : Compare weekly net income minus weekly housing costs with the level of Income Support

So here, we will use the formula we mentioned earlier

Net Income (income after deducting income tax and National Insurance contributions)


Housing Costs (for example rent, council tax etc)


The amount of Income Support a British family of the same size can receive.

£327.46 (net income) MINUS £169.04 (housing costs) = £158.42

Total Income Support = £114.85

Mr Singh’s weekly net income minus housing costs is greater than the weekly Income Support an equivalent size British family would receive so the ‘Adequate Maintenance’ requirement has been met.

Cash savings

Cash Savings can be used as well as, or instead of, income to determine whether the ‘Adequate Maintentance’ requirement is met.

The cash savings must have been held by the person (or held jointly by them and their partner) for at least 6 months before the visa application was made and they must be under their control.

The cash savings can be held in any bank or savings account providing they have immediate access to the funds. Savings held in a pension savings account can be included as long as they can be immediately withdrawn.

If the total savings figure fluctuates over the period of 6 months prior to the date of the application, the decision maker will use the lowest figure evidenced for that period.

Once the total amount of cash savings has been calculated and evidenced, this can be divided by the number of weeks of limited leave which would be issued if the application was granted.


The Sponsor has £5000 in savings. If the visa is approved, the period of leave granted will be 130 weeks (2.5 years leave). So, £5000 divided by 130 weeks = £38.46

When assessing adequate maintenance, £38.46 can be added to any weekly income received by the sponsor and/or applicant.

Josh Lindsey
Josh Lindsey

Immigration lawyer with more than 20 years of consulting experience

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VisaHelpUK - UK Immigration and Visa Application Advice Service
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