Many people who claim benefits fear that if they take a job they will be worse off because they will lose their benefits. In order to encourage people to take work, the Government provides a number of benefits for people in low paid work. These benefits have become significantly more generous over the past couple of years, especially for people with children.
To work out
how much better off you would be in work requires detailed knowledge of
the benefits system, and you are advised to take independent advice from
one of the organisations listed below. A benefits advisor can undertake
a 'better-off' calculation that will determine the level of wage you need
to look for in order to be better off in work.
If you have
been unemployed and getting benefit for the last six months you may get
extra help when you start work, for example you may be entitled to help
costs (rent or mortgage interest payments) for the first 4 weeks after
you start work.
work expenses such as tools or uniforms from the discretionary fund.
- Lone parents
can get an extra two weeks benefit when they start work.
people (aged 25 and over) can get a job grant of £100.
Families tax credit
Housing and Council Tax benefits
Back to work incentives
Families Tax Credit
A benefit for people in low paid jobs with children.
for Working Families Tax Credit you must:
- Have at
least one child under the age of 16 (or under 19 if in full-time education
up to and including 'A' levels).
- Work more
than 16 hours per week (if there are two adults in the family, only
one of you has to work).
- Earn less
than a certain amount. This amount depends on the number of children
you have. For example, a family with two children must have take home
pay of less than £281 per week to qualify.
- Have less
than £8,000 savings.
you will receive depends on your wages; for example a family with two
children taking home £150 for working over 30 hours would get £94.
get Statutory Maternity Allowance can now get Working Families Tax Credit
provided they were working 16 hours a week or more immediately before.
The amount of Tax Credit you can get depends on your income and savings,
how many children you have and whether anyone in your family is disabled.
If you have
to pay for childcare, you should be able to claim additional benefit,
to cover the costs (see 'Help to pay for childcare: the Childcare Tax
Credit' on page 32)
Tax Credit is paid by the Inland Revenue, and can be paid along with your
wages, or directly to you. For more information or an application form,
phone the Working Families Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 609 5000 or contact
the Benefits Agency.
and Council Tax Benefits
Many people who are out of work receive assistance with paying their rent
and Council Tax through Housing and Council Tax Benefits. Fewer people
realise that Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit is also available
to people in work. The less you earn, the more benefit you can claim according
to a complex formula.
to claim these benefits, you need to contact the Local Authority. If you
live in Newham, you can contact one of the Council's Local Service Centres:
- 1 Kingsford Way E6 5JQ
Forest Gate - 236 Romford Road E7 9RF
Stratford - 112-118 The Grove E15 1NS
Manor Park - 685-689 Romford Road E12 5AD
Canning Town - 3 Beckton Road E16 4DT
North Woolwich - Pier Parade E16
to work incentives
There are now several benefits available for people returning to work
after a substantial spell out of work. These benefits are either one-off
payments, or only last for a few weeks. For example, people who have been
out of work and claiming benefit for at least 6 months can continue to
receive full Housing and Council Tax Benefit for four weeks after starting
To find out
whether you are likely to be eligible for any benefits when you return
to work, contact one of the advice organisations listed below or your
Network Drugs Advice Project
Newham Sixth Form College
London Oriental Academy
Newham Bengali Community Trust
Cairde na nGael
Newham Rights Law Centre
Newham Asian Women's Project
One Love Association
London Tamil Sangam Tamil Community
and Education Centre
Shalom Employment Action Centre
Interlink Training & Development
Newham Unemployed Association Link Project
Stratford Advice Arcade
Youth Information and Advice Service
West Ham & Plaistow
Newham Chinese Association