While an apprenticeship may help you earn the national minimum wage it is still considered a full-time education. The purpose of this article is to explore whether an apprenticeship will affect the benefits that the apprentice (or their parents) claim. Therefore, we will assess the impact of an apprenticeship on Universal Credit, Child Benefit and Working Tax Credits.

Will An Apprenticeship Affect My Benefits?

No, an apprenticeship will not affect your benefits. If you are claiming benefits, they will not be reduced if you or your child are on an apprenticeship.

For instance, if you are in a recognised apprenticeship, you can continue claiming Universal Credit. Similarly, if you or your child are on an apprenticeship, their income will not be considered for a means test and your Housing Benefit will not decrease.

On the other hand, unless the claimant has a long-term health condition or a disability; once the youngest child turns 16 and starts working, they may no longer be able to claim Working Tax Credit. 

However, if someone is in an apprenticeship program, they will not be able to claim Jobseekers Allowance or Personal Independence Payments.

An apprenticeship is a government-funded training program for individuals who are above the age of 16 years. Apprentices are paid a wage that is equal to or more than the current national minimum wage in the UK.

The earnings that apprentices are paid include payments for the regular working hours stated in their employment contract or apprenticeship agreement, any training that is essentially part of their apprenticeship and lasts a minimum of 20% of their regular working hours, as well as additional study time for English and Mathematics qualifications (if they are part of the work that you will perform during the apprenticeship).

Since an apprenticeship is a combination of study and work, there are different levels of education. While some apprenticeships are equal to a Bachelor’s degree, some may qualify for a Master’s.

Can You Get Universal Credit If You Are An Apprentice?

Yes, you can get Universal Credit if you are an apprentice. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, apprentices can claim Universal Credit if they fulfil the below criteria:

  • they have a named training provider 
  • they are working towards a recognised qualification or vocational training
  • they are entitled to the national minimum wage

While there are no upper or lower limits to the number of hours that an apprentice must work in order to claim Universal Credit; however, they must be working at least 30 hours per week.

You can be an apprentice if you are 16 years or older, living in England and not enrolled in full-time education.

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 childcare
  • suffering from a disability or health condition
  • caring for someone else

Can You Get Child Benefit If Your Child Is An Apprentice?

Yes, you can get Child Benefit if your daughter is on an apprenticeship only if she is eligible to be considered as a “qualifying your person”. This means that she must be able to fulfil the below criteria for you to continue receiving Child Benefit:

  • Aged between 16 and 19 years and either in full-time non-advanced education or approved training.
  • Aged either 16 or 17 years and registered for further education, work or training with a local authority support service, careers service, Connexions or similar organisation. She should not be in full-time non-advanced education or approved training.

Can You Get Working Tax Credits If You Are An Apprentice?

According to the HM Revenue and Customs, apprentices can claim working tax credits under the following conditions:

  • the apprentice can provide proof of employment such as a contract of employment 
  • the apprentice is part of an apprenticeship scheme where the payments they receive are classed as earnings and not reimbursement of expenses (earnings are subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions while reimbursement of expenses is not)

However, suppose an apprentice’s earnings are classified as a non-taxable training allowance or a tax-exempt discretionary allowance. In that case, their apprenticeship working hours will not be counted as remunerative work and they will not be able to claim tax credits.

Is An Apprenticeship Full Time Education?

Yes, an apprenticeship counts as full-time education if you are able to work for at least 30 hours per week under the apprenticeship national minimum wage. If working hours are to be reduced due to the nature of execution of work and the individual’s circumstances, it can only be reduced to 16 hours to be counted as an apprenticeship. 

In this case, the duration of the apprenticeship period must be extended. This means that a two-year apprenticeship that requires you to work for 16 hours per week, may need to be extended to a three-year duration to make up for missing essential hours.

Conclusion:

The discussion in this blog post brings us to the clear conclusion that an apprenticeship will not affect your benefits claim; mainly due to the fact that an apprenticeship is considered a full-time education and the remuneration earned is barely equal to the national minimum wage. If you wish to learn more about the benefits you can claim, you can use an online benefits calculator.

FAQs: Will An Apprenticeship Affect My Benefits?

Do apprentices have to pay tax?

Yes, apprentices pay taxes on their income in the same way as full-time employees. Incomes above the minimum cap are taxed at an incremental rate of 20 per cent to 45 per cent depending on whether an individual belongs to the basic, higher or additional tax rate band. 

Is an apprenticeship considered full-time education for universal credit?

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, if an apprentice can provide a named training provider, they are working towards a recognised qualification or vocational training and are entitled to the national minimum wage, they can claim Universal Credit.

What level of education is an apprenticeship?

Since an apprenticeship is a combination of study and work, there are different levels. While some apprenticeships are equal to a Bachelor’s, some may qualify for a Master’s.

Does a child working affect Housing Benefit?

If your child of 16 or 17 years of age starts working, their income will not affect the housing benefit claim that you receive. Once they are adults, their incomes may be taken into consideration for a means test and your claim will only be affected if your household income is above a certain threshold.

At what age does Child Tax Credit stop?

Child Tax Credit is applicable to families with children younger than or of 17 years of age. Once a child turns 18 and becomes an adult, payments with regard to Child Tax Credit are automatically stopped by the DWP.

References:

Will apprenticeship affect my benefits

Can apprentices claim benefits? – Turn2us.

Apprenticeships | Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

Benefits and Financial Help for Apprentices | Go Construct

Can You Claim Benefits if You’re Doing an Apprenticeship

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