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You can claim help if you or your partner are on a low income, if you are working full time or part time or are self-employed.
The benefits you get depend on your circumstances, your earnings, and other money you have coming in.
The main help available to those who work are Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
If you pay rent or Council Tax you may get help if you have less than £16,000 in savings or capital.
If you rent your home from a private landlord we may not work out your benefit on the full rent charged but on the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate. Also, the rent used to work out your benefit may be reduced if you are an under occupied social sector tenant.
When we work out your earnings we will not include:
- Income Tax
- National Insurance
- Half of any pension contributions
We will also disregard an amount for a single claimant and an amount for a couple claiming. A higher amount may be disregarded in specific cases.
Extra help for parents
Child Benefit and Maintenance Payments
Any Child Benefit or Child Maintenance that you get will not affect the amount of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support you get. We discount them when working out the income to use in the calculation.
If you pay childminding costs we may be able to disregard income of up to £175 a week for one child or £300 a week for two or more children. We may disregard these amounts if:
- You are a lone parent working 16 hours or more a week or a couple where both partners are working for 16 hours or more a week (unless one is considered disabled) and;
- Your child or children are looked after by a registered childminder, nursery or after-school club and;
- Your child or children are under 16 years of age or under 17 years if they have a disability.
Starting work or increasing your hours of work when you already claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support
If you are starting work, or increasing your hours of work, and already claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support use a benefits calculator to find out an estimate of how these benefits will be affected. The calculator will also tell you information about other benefits available to you.
When you start a new job or increase your hours you may continue to get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support paid at the same rate for the first four weeks. This is called an Extended Payment.
To qualify you must have received an out of work benefit for at least 26 weeks before starting work or increasing your hours. Out of work benefits include:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
You can also get an extended payment if your out of work benefits have stopped because your partner has got a new job or increased their hours.
After the first four weeks your benefit will be worked out on your earnings and any other money coming in.
You must tell us straight away if you start work or increase your hours, and your out of work benefit ends.