Working hours may bear an impact on certain benefits while some of them remain unaffected due to the lack of a connection with the claimant’s income. Through this blog post, we aim to learn about the impact of working 16 hours per week on the benefits an individual claims. We will then assess the relationship between some common benefits and the working hours of claimants; as well as discuss the benefits that single mums with reduced working hours and stay at home mums can claim.

Can I Claim Benefits Working 16 Hours A Week?

If you claim any of the following benefits, your claim may be affected by working 16 hours a week:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance

However, if you fall into any of the below categories, you can claim benefits and continue working for 16 hours or more:

  • Carers
  • Disabled people on a low income (due to disability)
  • Foster parents
  • Local Councillors 
  • People on certain training schemes
  • People living in residential care or a nursing home
  • Self-employed childminders
  • Share fishermen
  • Special occupations (such as. lifeboatmen, part-time firemen, Territorial Army, Volunteer Reserves and coastguards)
  • Volunteers

If you work for 16 hours or more per week, you may be able to claim a Working Tax Credit instead of Income Support. In this case, you must fulfil the below conditions:

  • work for 16 hours per week if you are single and responsible for a child or
  • have one partner work for at least 16 hours and both partners work for a combined amount of 24 hours per week if you are married and responsible for a child
  • work for 16 hours per week to qualify for the disability element of Working Tax Credit or are above 60 years of age

If you claim Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, working for 16 hours or more makes you ineligible to receive the benefit claim. Additionally, your partner should not be working for more than 24 hours.

However, if you work for 16 hours pr more per week and your partner works for more than 24 hours per week, you can be eligible for Working Tax Credit. In fact, if you are single and responsible for a child, you must work for a minimum of 16 hours per week to claim Working Tax Credit. If you are a couple and responsible for a child, one of you must work for 16 hours per week with the total number of hours between the two of you amounting to 24 weekly hours.

If you are claiming Employment and Support Allowance, you will normally not be allowed to work if you want to continue claiming the benefit. However, under the “Permitted Work” criteria of this benefit, you may be able to work for 16 hours per week if you don’t earn more than £143 during this time.

Can I Work 16 Hours And Claim Job Seekers’ Allowance?

Those seeking job seekers allowance must be able to fulfil the following criteria:

  • aged 18 years or above
  • under state pension age
  • currently unemployed or working for less than 16 hours per week
  • previously held a job
  • available for and looking for work
  • have employment rights in the UK
  • previously paid National Insurance (in the recent 2 to 3 years)
  • currently not in full-time education
  • do not have an illness or disability that prevents being employed
  • live in England, Scotland or Wales

Should the above criteria be fulfilled, candidates will be able to claim JSA for 6 months; after which they will be advised by their work coach with regards to employment options.

It must be noted that the claimant’s or their partner’s savings do not disqualify them from receiving JSA.

Can I Work 16 Hours And Claim Carer’s Allowance?

During 2021-2022, the weekly amount for the carer’s allowance is set at £67.60. You may be able to claim this amount if you are able to fulfil the below conditions:

  • You spend a minimum of 35 hours per week caring for someone
  • You are above 16 years of age 
  • You are not in full-time education 
  • You earn less than or equal to £128 per week (after tax, national insurance and expenses)

It must be noted that if someone’s weekly take-home income is more than £128, they will no longer be eligible for a carer’s allowance. If you are already claiming state pension, you may not be able to qualify for a carer’s allowance.

On the other hand, being eligible for a carer’s allowance will increase the amount you receive via pension credit.

However, if you spend 20 hours or less taking care of someone, you will no longer be eligible for a carer’s allowance. Instead, you will be able to claim the carer’s credits. This is a national insurance credit that helps in filling gaps in your national insurance payments.

Can I Work 16 Hours And Claim Universal Credit?

The number of hours an individual works do not have an impact on the claim for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a state benefit for UK citizens above the age of 18 and below state pension age. It aims to provide financial assistance to individuals who are either out of work or on a low income. It is a monthly payment that claimants receive to help them to cover living costs.

To qualify for Universal Credit, claimants must be able to fulfil the below eligibility criteria:

  • aged between 18 (in some cases it may be 16 or 17) and state pension age
  • unemployed or on low income
  • between the claimant and their partner, total savings are less than £6,000
  • experiencing high costs for child care
  • suffering from a disability or health condition
  • caring for someone else

The amount of Universal Credit that an individual receives depends on their personal circumstances and income (if any). For instance, someone who is single and younger than 25 years of age will be eligible for Universal Credit amounting to around £257 per month. Meanwhile, this amount will rise to around £509 for someone who is living with a partner and either one of them or both of them are above the age of 25.

Can A Single Mum Work 16 Hours And Claim Benefits?

Yes, a single mum can work 16 hours or more and continue receiving benefits. If you are a single mum with savings of less than £16,000, you can claim Housing Benefit whether you live on your own or in a shared property. If you live in a privately rented house, you can receive financial support to help with your rental payments.

If you are a single parent and work for 16 hours or more, you will be entitled to Working Tax Credit. You will be eligible for an additional amount if you are working for 30 hours or more. Even if you are unable to work, you will continue receiving WTC as a single parent in case of the following:

  • the first 39 weeks of maternity leave
  • sick leave from work from work due to illness
  • for 4 weeks if you have lost your job or reduced your working hours to less than 16
  • during your child/children’s school holidays (if you normally work 16 hours or more during the school term)

Can Stay At Home Mums get Universal Credit?

Yes, stay at home mums can claim Universal Credit. To qualify for Universal Credit, claimants must be able to fulfil the below eligibility criteria:

  • aged between 18 (in some cases it may be 16 or 17) and state pension age
  • unemployed or on low income
  • between the claimant and their partner, total savings are less than £6,000
  • experiencing high costs for child care
  • suffering from a disability or health condition
  • caring for someone else

If your youngest child is younger than 1 year of age, you will not be expected to look for work while you are on Universal Credit. Below are details of your responsibilities regarding work depending on the age of your child/children if you are claiming Universal Credit:

Age of your youngest childYour responsibilities
Under 1 yearYou don’t need to look for work in order to claim Universal Credit.
1 yearYou don’t need to look for work if you are not already working but you will be asked to attend work-related interviews with a work coach.
2 yearsYou should take active steps to prepare for work including making a CV. 
3 or 4 yearsYou should work or look for work for a maximum of 16 hours per week. This may include training and work-related interviews.
Between 5 and 12 yearsYou should work or look for work for a maximum of 25 hours per week. This may include training and work-related interviews.
13 years and aboveYou should work or look for work for a maximum of 35 hours per week. This may include training and work-related interviews.

Conclusion:

Through this article, we have come to learn that it is only means-tested benefits that may get affected by the number of hours that a claimant is working. This is the reason why Universal Credit claims are not affected by the number of hours you work. However, if you are a single parent, you may get additional concessions when claiming benefits. 

FAQs: Can I Claim Benefits Working 16 Hours A Week?

 

Can you get Universal Credit if you work 16 hours a week?

Yes, you can claim Universal Credit if you work 16 hours a week or more. While the amount that you claim may reduce with an increase in your earnings, UC payments will not stop if you start working.

How much Working Tax Credit will I get for 16 hours?

This depends on your circumstances. If you have one child, you will receive £122.50 and if you have two children or more, you will get £210.

What benefits can I claim doing 16 hours a week?

If you are working for 16 hours or more per week, you can claim Working Tax Credit or Carer’s Allowance. Claimants of Income Support may need to transfer to a Working Tax Credit claim if they increase their working hours from less than 16 hours per week to 16 hours or more.

Can A Single Mum Work 16 Hours And Claim Housing Benefits?

Yes, a single mum can work 16 hours or more and continue receiving benefits. If you are a single mum with savings of less than £16,000, you can claim Housing Benefit whether you live on your own or in a shared property.

Is It Worth Working 16 Hours A Week To Claim Benefits?

If you are claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance or Income Support, you should be working for 16 hours or less. If you have a partner, they can work up to 24 hours per week without affecting your benefits claim.

References:

Income Support and working 16 hours a week or more – Entitledto

How are benefits affected by hours worked? – Turn2us

Which benefits are affected by hours worked? – Turn2us

Benefits-and-tax-credits-if-you-work-16-hours-a-week-or-more.pdf

Benefits and Tax Credits: working 16+ hours a week

Working Tax Credit – GOV.UK

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Carer’s Allowance: Effect on other benefits – GOV.UK

Income Support and working 16 hours a week or more

If you’re working – Gingerbread

Can I be a stay at home mum and claim Universal Credit?

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