What benefits am I entitled to?
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Going Back To Work

Blue FrogBlue Frog Member Posts: 373 Pioneering
I am a full time carer for my disabled child.  I have Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Carers Allowance and Housing Benefit.  I am hoping to go back to work soon, not as I was before, but doing something like cleaning or care work. 

I know if I do 16 hours per week I can claim Working Tax Credits.  But, is there any way I am allowed to just do a tiny bit of work (4-8 hours per week) to see how it goes, with a view to increasing to 16 hours if it works out? I would obviously declare this, but am just wondering  what would happen? Thanks x

Replies

  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Morning @Blue Frog,

    Hopefully @BenefitsTrainingCo will be able to help with this!

    Has anybody else been in this situation who can shed some light on how it worked out?
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi Blue Frog,

    You certainly can do what you are proposing to do and it is a very responsible step to take.
    As you say, you need to declare even 4-8 hours to the DWP. Income Support would disregard £20 of your earnings and take the rest of your earnings off your entitlement. If that means you are still entitled to Income Support your Housing Benefit and Child Tax Credit will not be affected. If you are no longer entitled to Income Support you may have to pay a small amount of rent but your Local Authority will recalculate and advice. You can still claim Carer's Allowance if you are earning less than £116 a week. You just need to make sure you tell each benefit department what you are doing so they either reassess your entitlement and keep your records up to date. 

    Lee
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,373 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Blue Frog

    I would add one word of precaution, housing benefit in particular is poorly set up for variable working hours, for example working for an employment agency or zero hour contracts. As a result you could end up with rent arrears or having to pay back over payments.

    One thing Lee has not mentioned is getting a benefit calculation before accepting a job offer, even for a few hours. This would let you know how you would be better off, or lose as well as the likely affects on different benefits. At least then you will be in a better position to make an informed choice on whether or not to accept the job with less chance of nasty surprises cropping up.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Blue Frog,

    You can do a benefits calculation for yourself on sites such as www.turn2us.org.uk or directly via the Scope calculator.

    One thing to understand about tax credits is that they take into account the last tax year's income, not the year you are in, at least to begin with. That means your tax credits might initially be quite high, and then could go down after next April (after you tell them what your income was for 2017-18).

    Tax credits are taken into account for housing benefit, so higher tax credits can mean your housing benefit goes down (swings and roundabouts, if you like).

    If your earnings are going to be below 16 hours to begin with then if possible, you want to keep at least some income support so that you are 'passported' to full housing benefit and child tax credit as Lee suggests, and don't need to worry about the variable hours. 

    Just to give you an example - if your income support is £45.35 a week (that's what I would expect to be paid on top of your carer's allowance), and the first £20 a week of your earnings are disregarded, then you want to make sure you earn under around £65 a week.

    Hope that helps.

    Will

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
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