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Return to Work Credit

If you've been claiming benefits the Return to Work Credit could help you get back to work, with an additional £40 per week for up to 52 weeks. This scheme is only available in Northern Ireland.

How it works

The Return to Work Credit is a tax free payment of £40 per week. It is paid directly to you on top of your wages for 52 weeks, if you work for 16 hours or more a week and earn less than £15,000 per year.

Who can apply?

You must be starting work or have started work in the past five weeks and have been claiming one of the qualifying benefits for 13 weeks or more. These are:

  • Employment Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit (including credits only)
  • Income Support (because of your incapacity)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Statutory Sick Pay for 13 weeks or more and are now claiming an Incapacity Benefit

Or, if you are a lone parent and have been claiming one of the following benefits for 13 weeks or more:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance

You must:

  • work 16 hours per week or more
  • earn less than £15,000 per year
  • expect your job to last more than five weeks

How do I apply?

Contact your local Jobs and Benefits office. You will be directed to an Employment Service Adviser who will be able to check that you are eligible and help you to make an application.

How will I get the Return to Work Credit?

You can receive Return to Work Credit from the date you start work or become self employed.

You must apply within five weeks from the date you start work. Your entitlement to Return to Work Credit will be reviewed after 26 weeks.

You will be paid the credit each week directly into your bank or building society account.

How will it affect other benefits?

As well as receiving an extra tax free £40 per week on top of your wages, claiming Return to Work Credit will not be taken into account in assessment of:

  • Working Tax Credit (WTC)
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC)
  • Housing Benefit (HB)
  • Carer’s Allowance (CA)

Nor will it affect the amount you pay for income tax or National Insurance contributions for National Insurance purposes.

What if I stop working while I’m claiming Return to Work Credit?

If you stop working while you are receiving the Return to Work Credit, you must let your local Jobs and Benefits office/JobCentre know immediately. The entitlement to the credit stops when you stop work and/or make a claim for benefit.

If you find new employment within 13 weeks of finishing your last job you may still be able to claim Return to Work Credit for the unused balance of time, provided you are working 16 hours and earning less than £15,000 per year.

What if I change jobs while I’m claiming Return to Work Credit?

You can continue to claim Return to Work Credit for up to 52 weeks in total if you change employer and:

  • you are working 16 hours or more per week
  • your annual salary is less than £15,000
  • you do not claim benefit between jobs and
  • any break between jobs lasts less than five weeks

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