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Tax credits when you can't work due to illness

If you or your partner can't work because you're ill you may still be treated as working and be able to get Working Tax Credit. It will depend on what your usual working hours were before you went on sick leave and the length of time you're off work.

What were your usual working hours before being off work?

 

Your usual working hours are the hours you worked every week before being off work.

To get Working Tax Credit, you need to work a minimum number of hours, depending on your circumstances and whether or not you have children.

If you don’t have children

To get Working Tax Credit, you must normally be aged 25 or over and work at least 30 hours a week. But you only need to work 16 hours or more a week if you are:

 

  • aged at least 16 and qualify for an extra payment of Working Tax Credit because you're disabled
  • aged 60 or over

 

If you have children

To get Working Tax Credit you need to be aged at least 16, and working the following hours:

 

  • if you're single, you need to work at least 16 hours a week
  • if you're in a couple, your joint working hours need to be at least 24 a week, with one of you working at least 16 hours a week

 

So if you're in a couple and only one of you is working, that person must be working at least 24 hours a week.

You can sometimes still qualify if your joint hours are less than 24 a week - follow the first link below to find out more.+

What counts as work for Working Tax Credit?

How to work out usual working hours for your tax credits claim

 

If you're off work for 28 weeks or less

You can carry on claiming Working Tax Credit for the first 28 weeks that you're off work. This is as long as you were working the minimum number of hours for your circumstances, immediately before going off work. One of the following will also need to apply:

  • you get a specific sickness or disability benefit
  • you receive National Insurance credits awarded because of incapacity for work, or limited capability for work (how your illness or disability affects the amount and type of work you can do)

The specific sickness or disability benefits are:

  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Income Support paid because of incapacity for work
  • Employment and Support Allowance

If you’re not already claiming tax credits

If you're not already claiming tax credits, you could make a claim for the first time if the above applies to you. To claim, you'll need to fill in a claim form. You can only get a claim form by calling the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 or textphone 0345 300 3909.

Tell the Tax Credit Office your usual working hours in Part 4 of the claim form.

If you're off work for more than 28 weeks

Your tax credit payments could end if you don't go back to work after 28 weeks, even if you keep getting:

  • Income Support paid because of incapacity for work
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • National Insurance credits on the grounds of incapacity for work, or limited capability for work (how your illness or disability affects the amount and type of work you can do)

If you don't go back to work after 28 weeks, you must tell the Tax Credit Office within one month or you may be charged a penalty. You can contact the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 or textphone 0345 300 3909.

This content is subject to Crown Copyright

Source:
DirectGov
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tax credits
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