The purpose of this blog post is to help its readers in answering the question of whether or not their 18-year-old working will affect the benefits they claim. To explore the possible outcomes in detail, we will assess various real-life scenarios that can lead to different consequences as a result of an 18-year-old child working while their parent(s) claim benefits. 

Will My 18-Year-Old Working Affect My Benefits?

Yes, your benefits will be affected if your 18-year-old starts working; whether they work full-time, part-time or through an apprenticeship program (there may be certain exceptions in the case of unpaid apprenticeships).

Once your 18-year-old starts working and bringing home earnings through wages, they are no longer considered dependent on their parent(s). Therefore, 

  • their income will be counted towards a means test, 
  • they will be expected to contribute towards household expenses and council tax bills, 
  • they will be considered as the second adult living with you (if you were living alone before and claiming the single-person council tax discount), 
  • and their earnings will affect the benefits you claim by reducing the payments you get.

Under certain circumstances, your 18 year old may start claiming benefits on their own. If you are claiming benefits such as Universal Credit, you will no longer be able to claim the child element and any additional amount on top of your standard allowance if your child applies for an independent benefit claim.

The only situation in which your benefits will not be affected by your 18-year-old working is if they are working for at least 16 hours per week in an unpaid, approved training program or apprenticeship. In this case, they will be considered to be in a full-time educational program and not to be working. 

Therefore, with no monetary contribution from their side to your household income, your 18-year-old will remain dependent on you and your benefits claims will remain unaffected.

Your child turning an adult and starting to work are both considered as a change of circumstances regarding a benefits claim which must be reported to the Department for Work and Pensions as a responsible claimant. They will then reassess your benefits claim, conduct a new means test and revise the payments that you receive.

If a claimant does not inform the DWP of a change in circumstances out of concern of having their benefits payments reduced, they will be held accountable for committing benefit fraud. 

Which Of The Benefits I Claim Will Be Affected By My 18-Year-Old Working?

Benefits that will be affected by your child working at 18 years of age include the following:

  • you will lose your claim to Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit
  • your payments for Working Tax Credits will reduce; depending on whether you have other children and if they are younger than 18
  • your Housing Benefit (or the housing element for Universal Credit) payments will reduce
  • you will lose your claim to Council Tax Reduction
  • you will lose the top-ups you claim for having a dependant child if you claim Income Support, Universal Credit or income-based JSA

If the addition of your 18-year-old’s income to your collective household income no longer qualifies you to be on a low income or increases your savings beyond the £16,000 threshold, you will not be able to claim Universal Credit anymore.

In addition to the above, if you were claiming child maintenance through the Child Support Agency or the Child Maintenance Service, you will lose your claim.

However, not all benefits get affected when your 18-year-old starts working. If you are claiming disability benefits such as PIP or Attendance Allowance, your benefits claim and the resulting payments will not be affected if your 18-year-old starts working. 

How Does A Non-Dependent Deduction Affect My Benefits If My 18-Year-Old Is Working?

Once your 18-year-old starts working, they are classed as a non-dependant household member as they start to earn a wage. In addition to this, they are expected to contribute towards household expenses including council tax bills. As a result of this, your Housing Benefit or Council Tax discount will be reduced. 

The amount that you stand to lose from the Housing Benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit) you claim will depend on the income of your 18-year-old. Below is a detailed breakdown:

Weekly Deduction from Housing BenefitGross Income of Cohabitant
£15.95Less than £149
£36.65Between £149 and £216.99
£50.30Between £217 and £282.99
£82.30Between £283 and £376.99
£93.70Between £377 and £468.99
£102.85£469 or more

When Does My 18-Year-Old Working Not Affect My Benefits With A Non-Dependent Deduction?

There are certain situations under which despite being non-dependent, the fact that your 18-year-old is working will not affect your benefits claim. These situations are explained below: 

  • at least one or both of the parents is (are) registered blind
  • at least one or both of the parents is (are) claiming Attendance Allowance, the care component of Disability Living Allowance, the standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment, or the Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • the non-dependant person living with you is below the age of 25 years and on Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment Support Allowance, currently on a work-based training for young people and receiving a training allowance

In addition to this, if your 18-year-old is faced with any of the following situations, a non-dependant deduction will not be made from your benefits payments despite them working:

  • they are responsible for a child younger than 5 years of age
  • they receive benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment

Depending on your circumstances and the benefits that you (or your child) claim, you will need to report a change in your circumstances to the DWP.

Conclusion:

The discussion in the article brings us to the conclusion that once your 18-year-old child starts working, you can expect a reduction in the means-tested benefits that you claim. While there are certain exceptions to this rule, you must inform the DWP of a change in circumstance and await their decision regarding your benefits claim.

References:

When your child turns 16 or leaves education | Gingerbread

Housing benefit deductions when living with non-dependants – Shelter England

Exceptions – when we don’t take any deductions for non-dependants

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