Benefits Claims and their eligibility criteria depend on a wide range of circumstances. Through this article, we aim to learn how the benefits being claimed by a parent on behalf of their child are affected once the child turns 16 years of age and starts working. In addition to this, we will also explore some other changes in circumstances that may impact one’s benefit claims.

Will My 16 Year Old Working Affect My Benefits?

Yes, if your 16-year-old starts working it will affect your benefits. Whether your 16-year old start working part-time or gets enrolled in an apprenticeship program, if they leave education at the age of 16 years and start working or training for work, you will no longer be able to claim benefits intended for them.

As a general rule, if a 16-year-old is not in full-time education or apprenticeship, their parents will lose claim of the following benefits: 

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Additional amounts received with Universal Credit, Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Additional amounts that are received due to the assessment of Housing Benefit and Council Tax support.

In such a case, parents are advised to inform the Tax Credit and Child Benefit office. 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. 

In the case of Housing Benefits claims, the additional income from your child’s earnings is likely to reduce the amount that you receive each month.

In the case of Child Tax Credit, you may still be able to claim benefits if your child is considered to be a Qualifying Person by the DWP. Since their decision varies across individuals, it depends on your circumstances whether or not you will continue receiving Child Tax Credit once your 16-year-old starts working.

However, if you were receiving Personal Independence payments on behalf of your child, they may be able to claim them on their own through the DWP once they turn 16.

Can My 16-Year-Old Claim Benefits On Their Own?

In certain cases, once individuals are over 16 years old, they can start claiming their Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments directly; while other benefits will still be claimed by their parents.

If someone is 16 or 17 years of age, expecting a child or already has one (or more), they may additionally be able to claim Income Support.

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

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.

Does My 16 Year Old Have To Pay Council Tax?

No, they do not have to make an individual contribution to council tax if they are 16 years old and living with you. Council tax is due on individuals once they are adults; which means that they must be at least 18 years of age. 

Additionally, council tax calculations also take the following criteria into consideration: 

  • your age (whether or not you are above 18 years of age)
  • if you are a full-time student
  • whether you are employed or receiving state benefits
  • whether you are living with parents to take care of them
  • if you are living with your parents because you need care

Council tax is not applicable to all the residents of a household but is, in fact, mandatory upon those adult members of a family who are either registered to pay council tax for their home or considered as liable, depending upon their position in the hierarchy of liability.

Can A 16-Year-Old Claim Job Seekers’ Allowance?

No, a 16-year-old cannot claim a Job Seeker’s Allowance especially if they are still living with their parents.

Generally speaking, 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

Does An Apprentice Get Universal Credit?

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.

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

What Are Means-Tested Benefits?

Means-tested benefits are those state benefits that are calculated on the basis of someone’s income, savings and capital. This is the reason why when someone is considered to be sharing your house or you and a partner appear to live together, their income and savings are also taken into account for your benefits claim and reduce the amount that you were receiving earlier.

Means-tested benefits include the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance 
  • Housing Benefit 
  • Council Tax Reduction 
  • Pension Credit 
  • Child Tax Credit 
  • Working Tax Credit 
  • Universal Credit

When a means test is carried out for benefits claim, the following types of income are taken into account for benefits claim and that too for income-based benefits:

  • Cash
  • Stocks and shares
  • Savings
  • Assets
  • Investments (rent, dividend, interest)
  • Unearned income (pension payments, student income)

Your income and capital need to be below a certain threshold to qualify you for means-tested benefits. Each benefit has its own criteria for assessment.

Does An Inheritance Affect My Benefits?

If you inherit a lump sum amount of money while you are claiming benefits, you must inform the Department for Work and Pensions. An inheritance increases your savings and is counted as a change in circumstances with must be reported to local authorities to re-assess your financial situation.

As a result of this reassessment, there may be changes to your benefits claim. Since your savings are accounted for during a means test for benefits claim, an inheritance can potentially reduce the benefits you currently receive. 

Does Ownership Of A House Affect My Benefits?

Yes, you can claim benefits such as Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance if you own a house; however, you will no longer be eligible for Housing Benefit. The reason for this lies in the fact that to qualify for Housing Benefit, claimants need to be able to fulfil the following criteria:

  • be at least 16 years old
  • have a low income or be claiming other benefits
  • have less than £16,000 in savings

If your house is mortgaged, you can still claim benefits and use the sum of payments received to pay your mortgage interest.

You can also continue claiming benefits if you own a home through the joint ownership scheme. In this case, you will also be able to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Cost element for your monthly rental or mortgage payments. 

If you own a house or you live with a partner who owns their house, you can claim support to help you pay your mortgage interest. This is a repayable interest accrued loan.

Conclusion:

Through the detailed discussion in this article, one may be able to conclude that once a child; even as young as 16 starts to work, their earnings will count towards the means assessment of the household. As a result of this, some of the benefits being claimed may be reduced due to an indication of rising household income. While certain benefits end as a child turns 16, some of these such as Universal Credit or PIP may be claimed by 16-year-old once they are of age. 

FAQs: Will My 16 Year Old Working Affect My Benefits?

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.

Will my son’s apprenticeship affect my housing benefit?

Yes, if your son is expected to earn during the period of his apprenticeship, due to the increase in your household income, your housing benefit claim will be reduced.

Will living with someone affect my benefits?

If you live with someone as a partner, both of your incomes and savings will be considered as combined earnings during a means assessment. Due to this, the means-tested benefits that either of you were claiming individually will reduce. Similarly, if you were on a single occupancy council tax rate, you will lose that discount if you share your home with anyone and so would they.

Can you get Universal Credit if you live with your parents?

Yes, you can get Universal Credit if you live with your parents. In fact, when someone is 16 years old, they start receiving their UC payments directly. However, if you live with your parents, you may find a reduced amount of the housing element in your benefits claim as you are sharing your house with other family members.

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:

When your child turns 16 or leaves education – Gingerbread.

Children between 16 and 20 – Entitledto

What-happens-to-benefits-I-claim-for-my-child-at-16

Check if a change affects your Child Benefit – Citizens Advice

Apprenticeships | Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

Children between 16 and 20

What will affect your Universal Credit payments | nidirect

How-your-benefits-are-means-tested/

Can You Claim Benefits If You Own A House?.

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John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.