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9 Welfare benefits
8. If you are just starting work
If you stop being entitled to Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance or Incapacity Benefit because you start work or because you increase your hours of work or your earnings, you may be able to get ‘extended payments’ of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. This means you will carry on getting these benefits for four weeks at the same rate as before you started work.
Within four weeks of starting work, you must tell your local authority and the office that pays your benefits about your change in circumstances.
If you have been getting Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance with an amount for your mortgage interest payment and you come off these benefits to go into work, you may be able to carry on getting help with mortgage interest for four weeks. This is to help tide you over until you receive your wages. But you must tell whoever pays your benefit as soon as you start work, otherwise you may not receive it.
If you come off Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance after several months because you go into work, you may also be entitled to a one-off lump sum called a Job Grant. If you are leaving Jobseeker's Allowance after several months you can also get a job grant, but in this case you usually have to be aged at least 25 or you will not be entitled. You must tell whoever pays your benefit about your change of circumstances as soon as you go into work.
You may be able to receive other types of help when you start work or are looking for work; for example, help with childcare. Different help is available in different areas - for example, in some areas of the country, there are schemes that give parents extra money on top of their wages for the first year in a job. Ask the Jobcentre if there is any other help that you might be entitled to.
If you are receiving maintenance for your children
If you are receiving child support maintenance under the rules that applied before March 2003, this will be included in your assessment for Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you then start work or increase your hours or pay and these benefits stop, you may be able to claim a one-off Child Maintenance Bonus. You must claim this within four weeks of the benefit ending. If you are receiving maintenance under the rules that have applied since March 2003, then £10 of your maintenance will be disregarded (ignored) in your assessment for Income Support or Jobseeker's income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Any maintenance you receive is ignored in your assessment for tax credits, and £15 a week of your maintenance is ignored in your assessment for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.
Leaflet Version: April 2019
CLS Legal Info Leaflets
(Legal Information Leaflets)