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Benefits if I work 16 hours a week or more

Published 16 March 2016 by

How many hours do you work? You may have a part-time job at a supermarket, work in an office or freelance in your chosen skill. No matter what you do, you could still be entitled to certain benefits even if you work 16 hours a week or more, depending on what you earn and your general circumstances.

To help make sure you’re receiving the help that you’re entitled to, we’re going to take you through which benefits you might be able to claim:

Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit helps you to cope if you’re on a low income. You may be able to claim Working Tax Credit if you’re aged between 16 and 24 and have a child or if you’re disabled, or you’re over the age of 25 (with or without children).

To apply, you must work a certain number of hours a week – this varies depending on your circumstances:

Your circumstances Working hours (minimum a week)



Single with one or more children


Couple with one or more children

Collectively at least 24 hours, with one of you working at least 16 hours.

Age 25-59


Age 60 +


When applying for Working Tax Credit, your circumstances as well as those of your partner will be taken into consideration. You can see a full list of tables for different circumstances and income here. If you’re eligible for this benefit, you’ll receive a basic £1,960 a year (for the tax year 2015-2016) and could receive more on top of this depending on your circumstances.

You may be able to claim the ‘childcare element’ of Working Tax Credit if you work at least 16 hours a week and pay for childcare. With this, you could get help with up to 70% of your childcare costs. For the tax year 2016/17, you could get up to £122.50 extra per week per child, or £210 extra for two or more children. But what you’ll receive will depend on how much you earn, the hours you work and how much you pay for childcare.

To claim Working Tax Credit, you’ll need to call the Tax Credits Helpline on 0345 300 3900 to receive a claim form. Or call the helpline to update your claim – this is something you need to do every year.

Child Tax Credit

You can get help with the cost of raising a child if you’re over the age of 16 and responsible for a child who is under 16 (or 20 and in full-time education or training). You could receive the basic amount of up to £545 a year, and there are extra elements on top of this that you could claim for. These include the following, with rates for the tax year 2016/17:

Elements Annual amount

For each child

Up to £2,780

For each disabled child

Up to £3,140 (on top of the child element)

For each severely disabled child

Up to £2,780 (on top of the child and disabled child element)

How much you’ll get will depend on your income, how many children are living with you and whether your child has a disability. You’ll get the maximum amount for each Child Tax element that you qualify for if your annual household income is £16,105 or less.

To claim, call the Tax Credits Helpline. You won’t be able to claim Child Tax Credit if you’re already claiming Universal Credit.

Child Benefit

Child Benefit has the same criteria as Child Tax Credit and you’ll receive a weekly rate of £20.70 for the eldest child (or only child) that you have and £13.70 for each additional child that you have after that. Only one person in a family can get Child Benefit per child.

You can receive Child Benefit if you adopt or foster a child, or you have an arrangement to look after a friend or relative’s child. To make a claim, fill in a Child Benefit claim form and send it to the Child Benefit Office alongside the child’s original birth or adoption certificate.

Housing Benefit

You may be able to get Housing Benefit it you pay rent and do not have savings or capital worth more than £16,000. This benefit will help you to cover the cost of all or part of your rent. The amount that you receive will depend not only on your circumstances but whether you rent privately or from a council. If you have a spare room this could count against you – read about why this is here.

To read more about housing benefit in detail, read our blog.

Council Tax Reduction

If you’re on a low income, you might be entitled to help with paying your council tax through a Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme. Each local authority in England has its own CTR scheme and you will only be entitled to apply for a CTR for a property that you live in, and one that is your only or main residence.

You may be excluded from applying if you have too much capital, for example savings and property. To apply for CTR, click here.