Introduction

This page gives general advice on the help you may be able to get if you start work, have three or more dependent children or increase the number of hours you work and are currently receiving Tax Credits. Any other people of working age will need to claim Universal Credit.

What to do next?

You must contact your Jobcentre Plus and Wirral Council to tell them of your change in circumstance. If you do not you may lose extra benefit, or may be overpaid benefit.

What help can I get?

You can get an Extended Payment for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support if you were unemployed and receiving either Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance continuously for at least 26 weeks and this stopped because either you or your partner started work or have increased your hours of work to more than 16 hours per week and have not claimed Universal Credit.

How long is the Extended Payment period for?

The extended payment period will be for up to a maximum of four weeks from the day after your Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance has stopped, as long as you continue to have a liability to pay rent or Council Tax.

You will get the same amount of Housing and/or Council Tax Support as you did when you were in receipt of Income Support or income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance for those four weeks.

You do not have to claim for an Extended Payment, we will award it to you if you meet the qualifying conditions.

You may still qualify for some help with your rent and Council Tax when you start work. If you want to continue to receive Housing and Council Tax Support while you are working, it is important you tell us about your new circumstances straightaway, or you may lose out.

What information do you need to tell us?

You may have to provide original documents of the following:

  • full details of all income you and your partner receive including five consecutive weekly wage slips or two months, if paid monthly
  • self employed accounts or day books. You can download a self employed declaration form from our website
  • any Tax Credits you receive
  • details of any savings, bank or building society accounts, and investments you and your partner may have

If you are asked to provide proof, you can submit your evidence.

How will my benefit be worked out?

We use net income; this is what is left after tax, National Insurance and half your pension contribution is taken out. Before your benefit is worked out we allow you certain disregards from your wages.

We disregard the following amounts from your earnings:

  • single claimants £5.00
  • couples £10.00
  • disabled claimants and carers £20.00
  • lone parents £25.00

In addition there is an earnings disregard of £17.10 if you or your partner is working over 30 hours each week, or 16 hours for certain people.

We also look at other types of income including most state benefits, Tax Credits, occupational or private pensions you receive. We also take an income from any savings, investments or capital you or your partner may have over £6,000 for people of working age and over £10,000 for people of pensionable age.

You need to tell us about certain items of income, even though they are not taken into account when we work out your benefit: They include

  • Child Benefit
  • Child maintenance you receive
  • Disability Living Allowance (care and mobility components)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • War Widows Pensions
  • War Disablement Pension
  • Voluntary payments
  • Permitted work (i.e. earnings allowed by the Jobcentre Plus for people receiving certain sickness benefits.)

Help with Childcare Costs

When you claim Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support, we may not take account of some of you or your partner’s earnings if you pay child care costs.

If you pay for childcare to a registered childminder, an approved provider such as a local authority holiday scheme or nursery, we may allow you up to £175 per week for one child or £300 per week for two or more children in approved childcare.

What if I have been overpaid Housing Benefit?

If you have been paid too much benefit or awarded too much support and you disagree with the amount you have been overpaid, you can ask for your claim to be looked at again. You must do this within one month of being told by the Council.

If you have to pay back an overpayment of Housing Benefit and you are still receiving Housing Benefit, it can be reduced by a set amount each week to recover any amount owing. The weekly recovery amount is £11.10 from April 2018, but this amount goes up to £18.50 per week, if the overpayment of benefit was found to be as a result of fraud.

If you have been overpaid Council Tax Support, your council tax will be adjusted along with your instalments and a revised bill will be sent to you.

Other help you may get

If you are starting work and receiving a low wage, you may be able to get the following:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Return to Work Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, if you have children
  • Free School meals
  • Free NHS prescriptions
  • Energy Grant
  • Optical voucher

Visit gov.uk to find out more.