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How starting a new job can affect your Housing Benefit

Updated: 19 Sep 2014
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You may be able to get extra help during the first few weeks of work
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There are specific Housing Benefit rules that apply when you start work. This is an overview of those rules - if you require more detailed information about your own circumstances please call us on 03448 920 902.

I’m about to start work, can I get Housing Benefit?

If you are working and receiving a low income you may be able to get Housing Benefit subject to certain conditions being met. Any possible award of Housing Benefit would take into account your incomes from benefits (if any), the amount of earnings you receive, any capital you own and your family circumstances.

Are all my earnings taken into account?

No, we will not include tax, National Insurance or half of any pension contributions. We will also disregard between £5 and £25 of your earnings each week depending on your family circumstances and in some cases we may be able to disregard a further £17.10 each week, subject to age conditions, number of hours worked, if certain types of Tax Credit are in payment or if you or your partner has a disability.

What about childcare costs that I have to pay?

Currently we can disregard from your earnings or Tax Credits up to £175.00 per week if you have one child or £300 per week if you have two or more children. There are however certain conditions that must be met:
  • You and your partner must both be working 16 hours or more per week to qualify (however if only one of you works 16 hours or more and the other is incapacitated or in hospital or in prison you may still qualify for this).
  • The disregard can be applied to all children until the first Monday in September after their 15th birthday or if your child has a disability, childcare costs can be taken into account until the first Monday in September after their 16th birthday.
  • To qualify for this disregard you must also be making your childcare payments to a registered childminder, day nursery or play scheme, or to a childminding scheme for which no registration is required (one that is run by a school, local authority or in a “Crown” property.)
  • Similarly someone (a friend for example) can care for your child in the child’s own home but NOT if that person is a relative of the child (parent, daughter, son, sister brother, most “in laws”, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew for example all count as relatives).
There are other specified groups who can provide this care, please contact us if you require any further information on this.
In certain circumstances you may qualify for a child care disregard while receiving Statutory Maternity Pay, Paternity or Adoption Pay or Maternity Allowance.

I will have other costs when I am at work can these be allowed?

No, we are unable to take into account additional costs for things like travel to work or meals.

How long will my claim for Housing Benefit take to be assessed?

The Housing Executive will give priority to claims from people starting work. Once we have all necessary information from you we should take no longer than 14 days to process you claim.

Is there any extra help during the first few weeks of work?

In certain circumstances you may qualify for an Extended Payment of Housing Benefit.
This would be where you commence employment or self employment (or increase the number of hours that you work) and that work is expected to last for 5 weeks or more. Where this happens we will allow you the same award of Housing Benefit during the first 4 weeks of your new employment that you were receiving before you started that employment (or increased the number of hours you were working).
To qualify for an Extended Payment you must have been receiving “out of work related benefits” continuously for 26 weeks or more and those benefits end because you start employment or self employment or increase the number of hours of employment.
You do not have to make an application for an extended payment of Housing Benefit. We will award an extended payment to you automatically if you are entitled to it.
Please contact us if you require any further information on Extended Payments.
Remember, you must always tell the Housing Executive if you start work even if you have already told the Social Security Agency.