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to ask you to explain the 16hr working rule and benefits?

(31 Posts)
yespeeps Mon 06-Jun-16 16:40:00

would be really grateful for some help in understanding this as I don't have time for trawling thru calculators and, got a 6 month old to look after amongst other things.

I'm looking at return to work after mat leave, I think there's still a rule that you loose lots of benefits if you work over a certain amount of hours, to the extent that it doesn't make it worthwhile unless you really want to work over those hours for some reason. Am I right? Is it if you work OVER 16 hours, you loose out, but if you work UNDER 16 hours, you don't qualify for working tax credit or something? So basically loads of people work 16 hours cos that works out best for most?

having a nightmare trying to work all this out as well as being a single mum and trying to work out stuff with the mortgage!!

littleniki Mon 06-Jun-16 16:58:02

If you work under 16hrs you get more housing benefit but no working tax credits. Work over 16hrs and you get working tax credits. You still get all your other little bits too. I went back to work on 15hrs and upped it as worked out is be better off working a few extra hours a week.

RhubarbAndRose Mon 06-Jun-16 17:27:21

You really need to do an online calculator as only you know about your savings/other money etc. It also depends on whether you are in a Universal Credit postcode area or not - the rules are different.

The rules you are talking about apply to Income support and JSA- you can work for 15:59 minutes a week on average and you may still be entitled to benefit. It's impossible to say because your earnings may mean your entitlement is reduced to nothing depending on the type of work. As a lone parent if you work at least 16 hours a week you may be entitled to WTC. Again no-one but HMRC can tell you if you will be or not.

There is also the benefit cap to consider , if you live in rented accommodation - for IS and JSA a lone parent can receive a maximum of £500 per week from all benefits, including Child benefit, child tax credits, income support, housing benefit etc. Anything above £500 is deducted. The maximum amount you can receive is being lowered to £20000 a year (£364.22 a week) nationally with an exception for London where you can receive a max of £23000 a year (£442.31 a week). Similar limits apply to Universal Credit. However, if you work and are entitled to tax credits the benefit cap doesn't app,y (again similar rule in Universal Credit regarding your monthly earnings)

You need to get some proper advice - you are making a really important decision based on what us randomers on the Internet are saying. You owe it your baby to find out for yourself what your options are and make the right ( not always the easy) choice for you and them.

user1464519881 Mon 06-Jun-16 17:31:30

Also depends on your work. If you earn quite a bit full time as plenty of women do then the loss of benefits is more than made up for by the salary without tax credits, child benefit, housing benefit or anything. So it is very hard to generalise.

holidaysarenice Mon 06-Jun-16 17:33:57

You can't be bothered to use the calculator or don't have time. But would like us to do all the calculations/look up/have knowledge for you.

Bet that's pfb who's consuming your every minute. The rest of mn just have dc that look after themselves

AndNowItsSeven Mon 06-Jun-16 17:36:16

No it's just that you need to work 16 hours for wtc. You won't be worse off working more hours with childcare for just one dc.

alltouchedout Mon 06-Jun-16 17:37:39

It really isn't as simple as that. You need to put all your details into a calculator (turn2us or entitled to) and see what different situations would mean to you. No one can tell you what would be best for you without knowing details of your income and child's ages and so on, and if you're going to go to the trouble of telling us that you may as well just tell the calculator instead!

witsender Mon 06-Jun-16 17:51:19

You may as well do it yourself. You can do it on a laptop or phone under a baby if needs be.

RhubarbAndRose Mon 06-Jun-16 17:55:08

Just to add as you have a mortgage - if you claim benefits the waiting period before you get any help,towards the interest on your mortgage has gone back up to 39 weeks. You only get help on the interest part of your mortgage (maximum of £200k) and not at the interest rate your lender charges - currently the rate used by DWP is 3.12%. You won't get help with arrears or insurances.

But as I said before no-one can give you the answers - we can just point you in the right direction. Once your baby is asleep get online - if you have the time to MN you have the time to look into your financial position.

yespeeps Mon 06-Jun-16 18:03:46

not read all the posts but I have tried getting proper advice, I've spoken to 2 advice agencies and they didn't agree with each other.

yespeeps Mon 06-Jun-16 18:05:24

and I've spoken to my mortgage company and a broker, they didn't agree.

witsender Mon 06-Jun-16 18:06:24

All you can do is try various sets of figures on the online calculators like everyone else does. Some for working, some for not, different sets of hours etc. Look at what work is available locally, what hours you could do etc. Think about when universal credit comes in (again, info online) as you will be best off trying to rely more on work than top ups when that is in place IMO.

yespeeps Mon 06-Jun-16 18:07:26

I earn £15k gross. I'm not expecting anyone to do a calculator for me, i'm asking for people's recent experience and knowledge

witsender Mon 06-Jun-16 18:07:56

Mortgage advisor and broker can't help on this, again Google search benefits help with mortgage payments. Basically as said above, you would only get HB to help towards interest payments, and only after a large number of weeks. Used to be 13, think it may be longer now?

yespeeps Mon 06-Jun-16 18:09:30

and for what it's worth, I've spent loads of time online (mostly but not entirely) helping people who are going through things I've already been thru, giving advice and also posting to official sources. That's the point of a large part of mumsnet and other sites.

yespeeps Mon 06-Jun-16 18:13:02

sorry witsender, I mean I was asking the broker and advisor about my mortgage and they couldn't agree on that

yespeeps Mon 06-Jun-16 19:05:00

baby hardly sleeps

Jengnr Mon 06-Jun-16 19:10:30

Mortgage advisors and brokers know nothing about benefits, why would they?

Basic outline; JSA and IS you can work up to 16 hrs and still claim but they will take earnings into account and reduce benefit. The minute you hit 16hrs, even only once, you have to close the claim and reclaim when your hours drop again. 16 hours or more and you need to claim tax credits.

On Universal Credit you can work as many hours as you like as it's assessed on earnings.

There are loads of other factors but that is the basics.

AnotherEmma Mon 06-Jun-16 19:21:27

"I've spoken to 2 advice agencies and they didn't agree with each other"

Which organisations did you speak to and what did they say?

CAB are usually good but there is a chance you could have been unlucky with the adviser you spoke to. You also get more in-depth advice at an appointment (you would need to ask for a benefits check) rather than drop-in. CAB can do a "better off" calculation to compare different options you're considering.

That's your best bet, but here's the simple info:

If you work less than 16 hours, you can claim income support (as you're a single parent with a young child).

If you work 16 hours or more, you can claim working tax credits including the childcare element which covers up to 70% of your childcare costs.

Either way, you can also claim child benefit and child tax credits. You can also claim council tax reduction (you should already be getting a discount as a single adult, but you would probably get a bigger discount if you claim benefits and/or tax credits).

You do need to use a benefits calculator to work out how much you'd get in each case - or ask CAB to do it for you at a benefits appointment.

MargaretCabbage Mon 06-Jun-16 19:29:12

Is there a CAB adviser at your local children's centre? They can do the calculations for you if you take all your income details.

AnotherEmma Mon 06-Jun-16 19:29:54

Oh and I was assuming you're living somewhere that is still using the old system rather than Universal Credit, but as PPs have said, Universal Credit works differently. A calculator would tell you, but if you don't have time for that now, you could check if there is UC in your area at

IJustLostTheGame Mon 06-Jun-16 19:34:46

No advice but I think you're getting a bit of unnecessary flaming on here op.
My dyslexia gets 100 times worse when I'm tired. I had a non sleeping baby, by 6 months I could barely write my own name and if faced with sorting this out I think I'd have dissolved in a puddle of tears.

Bung little one in the jumparoo and do the online thingy. You will feel better after you've fathomed it.
And write it down in big letters in bullet points, it won't seem so daunting then.

RubixCubes Mon 06-Jun-16 19:37:30

Is it if you work OVER 16 hours, you loose out, but if you work UNDER 16 hours, you don't qualify for working tax credit or something

What do you mean lose out? It's an income top up. You don't lose out you earn that money in place or receiving it as a benefit.

user1465238033 Mon 06-Jun-16 19:50:29

(Former recent) single parent of two under 9

I know it's irrelevant as you only have one child, but my comment may be useful to any other single parents with two primary schoolers who are reading.

I receive around £800 a month working on average 16-20 hours a week. I am way better off working even if only part time minimal hours, than staying on income support or JSA.

Child Benefit
Working Tax Credit (which incorporates Child Tax Credit, uses the terminology 'element of' and similar. Confusing!)
CSA (whopping £5 a week from kid's absent father)
Council Tax Benefit
Wasn't eligible for Housing Benefit as I was over a savings threshold

I also receive 75% or something like that of my childcare costs met.
I have to use an Ofsted registered childcare provider (that can mean nursery, crèche, Nanny, au pair, breakfast or after school club, any venue or host which is Ofsted registered) and they ask for you to calculate your weekly childcare costs over a year.

Mine worked out about £34 a week over a year, so they tot up the annual cost then pay that weekly.
It means that when school holidays roll round and you have to pay £170 upfront for a week at the holiday club, unless you've saved that lump sum up, well, you'll be a bit stuffed.

AnotherEmma Mon 06-Jun-16 20:28:44

Working Tax Credits have a childcare element. It's separate from Child Tax Credits (which parents can get whether they work or not).

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