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12. I'm returning to work. Do all my benefits stop?

If you are returning to work, you won’t necessarily lose entitlement to all your benefits.

  • Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Industrial Injuries Benefit and Reduced Earnings Allowance can all be claimed in full whilst you are working. If you are a carer, you may be able to continue claiming Carer’s Allowance in full if you still meet the conditions and you are not earning more than a certain amount per week.
  • Incapacity Benefit usually stops if you are working, but you can still claim it if your hours and earnings are below certain limits, providing you tell the benefit office in advance.
  • You may also claim part or all of Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and help with NHS costs, for example prescription costs and dental treatment. Your eligibility will be worked out by a means test that looks at your income.
  • If you are returning to work part-time and you will be working under 16 hours a week, you may be able to claim Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, depending on your income.
  • You can still get Child Tax Credit if you are working, but the amount you get may change because of your earnings.

Several schemes are available to help you financially whilst moving off long-term benefits and back into work. They include training programmes and allowances, help with child care costs, the New Deal, and many more. You can find out more about these through your local Jobcentre.

You may be entitled to working tax credit once you start work, depending on your income and the number of hours you are working. You must be working at least 16 hours a week to claim working tax credit. Some single people or childless couples have to be working at least 30 hours a week. You can find out more about it from your local Jobcentre or the HMRC.

You should tell the agency that pays your benefit that you are returning to work, even if you do not think it will affect your benefit. If you do not do this you could be overpaid, or even investigated for fraud. You should state the exact date you intend to start work, the number of hours you will be working and your rate of pay. If you are no longer entitled to benefit, the agency will write to you. They will then send you any money owed to you or tell you whether you need to repay any benefit, and state in writing that your claim is now closed.

If you need help with leaving the benefit system or any other aspect of welfare benefits, we recommend that you speak to one of our welfare benefit advisers on 08001 225 6653 for specialist advice. Telephone specialist advice is only available if you qualify for legal aid.