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Benefits and help when going back to work

When you return to work after being on benefit, some of your benefits will carry on for a short while. Find out more, including the benefits and support you may be able to get once you're working.

Help with housing costs

If you were getting help with your housing costs while you were out of work, you may carry on getting this. This is if you have been receiving income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support for at least 26 weeks continuously before starting work. You may then continue to get the following benefits for up to four weeks:

If you're on a low wage and your housing costs are below a certain level, you may continue to get Housing Benefit after this time.

If you are a homeowner and have to reclaim benefit you may not have to wait until you get help again with your mortgage costs. Contact your Social Security / Jobs and Benefits office to find out more.

Tax credits

A tax credit is a payment that you receive regularly. Despite the name, it isn't a credit against your tax bill.

If you've got children you could get tax credits, but you don't need to have children to claim. You may also qualify if you are working and on a low income.

If you work and pay childcare you may be able to get extra tax credits to help with the costs.

Job Grant

A Job Grant is a tax-free lump sum. You may be eligible for a Job Grant if you have been receiving one of the following benefits:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Training Allowance payments where the allowance is based on Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance

You will need to have been receiving benefit continuously for more than six months and starting work of more than 16 hours per week, or 24 hours for partners. The work must be expected to last for at least five weeks.

You'll automatically get Job Grant if you're eligible. You just need to make sure you tell your Social Security/Jobs and Benefit Office that you're starting work. You'll be paid in the same way as you were paid your benefit.

Return to Work Credit

Return to Work Credit is a fixed tax-free payment of £40 per week for people that have, or have had, a health condition or disability.

It also includes lone parents, who have a dependent child under seven years old, who move from Income Support (IS) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) into full-time work of at least 16 hours per week.

It can be payable for up to 52 weeks as long as:

  • your job is expected to last at least five weeks
  • you are working on average over 16 hours a week
  • you are earning no more than £15,000, before tax, per year
  • you are earning at least the National Minimum Wage
  • you have been getting a qualifying benefit or combination of benefits for 13 continuous weeks or more
  • you have started work or will be starting work within the five-week period immediately after being entitled to a qualifying benefit

To find out more about Return to Work Credit follow the link below to Pathways to Work.

Travel-to-interview scheme

In certain cases the Department for Employment and Learning may be able to help you pay to get to your job interview. This is called the travel-to-interview scheme.

Shortened claim process for Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance

If your Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance claim ended less than 26 weeks ago and there has been no change to your circumstances your claim to benefits may be simpler and shorter.

To make a claim for Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support contact your local Social Security/ Jobs & Benefits office.

The following are not considered as a change of circumstances:

  • you or someone you are claiming for is now pregnant
  • tax credits have been claimed or awarded

Employment On Trial

The Employment on Trial scheme aims to give people the confidence to start a new job, even if they are not sure it will work out.

It ensures you will not lose your Jobseeker's Allowance if you leave the job, as long as you have given it a fair try.

The conditions for the scheme are as follows:

  • the work must have been for at least 16 hours a week
  • you must have stayed in the job for at least four weeks, and have left before the end of the 12th week
  • you must not have worked during any of the 13 weeks before the day on which the job started
  • you must not have been a full-time student or in relevant education at any time during the 13 weeks before the job started

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