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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Benefits and help when going back to work

When you return to work after being on benefit, some of your benefits will carry on for a short while. Find out more, including the benefits and support you may be able to get once you're working.

Help with housing costs

If you were getting help with your housing costs while you were out of work, you may carry on getting this. This is if you have claimed one of the following benefits for at least 26 weeks continuously before starting work:

  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

You may then continue to get the following benefits for up to four weeks:

  • Extended Payment of Housing Benefit
  • Extended Payment of Council Tax Benefit
  • Mortgage Interest Run On

You may continue to get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit after this time if:

  • you're on a low wage
  • your housing costs are below a certain level

Whilst you may continue to receive help, as stated above, this will depend on the number of hours worked and the amount earned. You must declare the details of the job so that this can be worked out.

If you are a homeowner and have to reclaim benefit you may not have to wait until you get help again with your mortgage costs. Contact Jobcentre Plus to find out more.

Tax credits

A tax credit is a payment that you receive regularly. Despite the name, it isn't a credit against your tax bill.

If you've got children you could get tax credits, but you don't need to have children to claim. You may also qualify if you are working and on a low income.

If you work and pay childcare you may be able to get extra tax credits to help with the costs.

Job Grant

Job Grant is a one-off tax free payment you may get when you start working for at least 16 hours a week and stop getting benefits.

You may be eligible for a Job Grant if you have been claiming one of the following benefits:

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

Your benefit claim must begin before 1 October 2012.

Find out more about Job Grant using the following link.

Return to Work Credit

Return to Work Credit is a tax-free payment of £40 per week for people that have, or have had, a health condition or disability.

It can be payable for up to 52 weeks as long as:

  • your job is expected to last at least five weeks
  • you are working on average over 16 hours a week
  • your gross earnings do not exceed £288.46 per week, or £1,250 per month
  • you are earning at least the National Minimum Wage
  • you have been getting an incapacity benefit for 13 continuous weeks or more
  • you have started work or will be starting work within the five-week period immediately after being entitled to a qualifying benefit
  • you meet any other relevant requirements

You might not qualify if you claim either of the following benefits in the five weeks before starting work:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income Support as a lone parent

Changes to Return to Work Credit will be brought in for new claims to benefit from July 2013 onwards. This means there will be no new payments of Return to Work Credit from 1 October 2013.

Payments already in place on 1 October 2023 will continue for up to 52 weeks, as long as you meet the rules for getting the payment.

Please contact your adviser or Jobcentre Plus for more details.

Help with travel expenses when attending job interviews

Help with travel costs incurred while attending job interviews may still be available through a limited fund which Jobcentre Plus advisers can access. The fund is discretionary and no one has an automatic right to help.

As well as this help there are a number of agreements in place nationally and locally to provide people with discounted travel.

This includes a travel discount scheme Jobcentre Plus operates with participating train operating companies. This offers a 50% discount on rail travel for eligible longer term unemployed people.

Please speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser for more information about help available in your area.

Claiming benefits when you go back to work

There is a service - called 'In and Out of Work' – that makes it easier for you when you move in and out of work. If you, or your partner, have been getting one of the following benefits and you get a job, you only need to tell Jobcentre Plus:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance

Jobcentre Plus will then let your local council and tax credit office know. Your local council will work out what Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit you may get. The tax credit office will work out what Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit you may get.

If your circumstances change when you are working, like working overtime, you must let your local council and tax credit office know. This is because your benefits could also change.

Use the online Benefits Adviser to find out how a change in your circumstances, such as starting work, may affect your benefits.

Shortened claim process for Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance

If your Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance claim ended less than 26 weeks ago your claim to benefits may be simpler and shorter. There must have been no change to your circumstances.

To claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support, call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.

If you speak Welsh, call 0800 012 1888, or if you can’t speak or hear clearly, call the textphone 0800 023 4888.

Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 6.00 pm (lines are normally less busy before 9.00 am).

The following are not considered as a change of circumstances:

  • you or someone you are claiming for is now pregnant
  • tax credits have been claimed or awarded

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