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* In-work benefits
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* 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 with:

  • Housing costs (rent or mortgage interest payments) for the first 4 weeks after you start work.
  • Initial work expenses such as tools or uniforms from the discretionary fund.
  • Lone parents can get an extra two weeks benefit when they start work.
  • Other people (aged 25 and over) can get a job grant of £100.

Working Families tax credit
Housing and Council Tax benefits
Back to work incentives
Relevant organisations

Working Families Tax Credit
A benefit for people in low paid jobs with children.

To qualify 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.

The amount 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.

Women who 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)

Working Families 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.

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Housing 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.

In order 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:

Beckton - 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

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Back 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 a job.

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 local Jobcentre.

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Borough Wide
Jobcentres
Network Drugs Advice Project
Newham Sixth Form College

East Ham

London Oriental Academy
Newham Bengali Community Trust

Forest Gate

Cairde na nGael
Newham Rights Law Centre

Green Street

Newham Asian Women's Project
One Love Association

Manor Park

CORECOG
London Tamil Sangam Tamil Community
and Education Centre

Shalom Employment Action Centre

Stratford

Interlink Training & Development Centre
Landmark Training
Newham Unemployed Association Link Project
Stratford Advice Arcade
Youth Information and Advice Service

West Ham & Plaistow

Newham Chinese Association

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