Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Coronavirus and Benefits: FAQs
My hours at work have been cut, can I stay on my Tax Credits?

If you are still working the number of hours needed to qualify for Working Tax Credit (for the rules see this page) you are able to stay on Working Tax Credit. 

But if your normal working hours have dropped below the required number, your Working Tax Credit will stop.

If you get Child Tax Credit this won’t stop; whether your hours reduce or your job ends - it’s based on you having responsibility for a child and not on the fact that you work.

One of the temporary Coronavirus measures (which has now ended) allowed those who were temporarily working reduced (or no) hours due to Coronavirus, to continue on WTC as normal - so long as they were still employed or self-employed. This was because they were treated as working their normal hours. But that rule has now ended.

The trouble is that, even if your WTC can continue, although your wages have dropped you may not see any increase in your Tax Credit award. This is because the way Tax Credits work is that WTC can only be increased due to a drop in your income if your income goes down by £2,500 or more over the current tax year. 

But if you think that over the year they will drop by more than £2,500,  you can phone the Tax Credit helpline 0345 300 3900 or write to the Tax Credit office on any letters they’ve sent you, or online using the Government gateway - and they may take this drop into account. 

Are you getting Housing Benefit for help paying your rent?

You should let the HB Office know about the drop in wages, so that your HB is increased. 

If you're not already on Housing Benefit you will not be able to make a new claim for HB. 

Could Universal Credit be better for you?

Whatever your situation is - it could be worth checking if you could be better off on Universal Credit. There is a lot to think about, so speak to a Benefits Adviser to check what's best for you. If you make a claim for UC you will not be able to go back on Tax Credits. So you need to be sure it is the best option for you first.

*NOTE: The government has announced that the amount of earnings that are disregarded for Universal Credit will increase by December 2021- meaning an increase in UC. (There are no planned changes to Tax Credits).