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Information » Money » Money while you work » Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit (WTC) is for people on a low income who are 16 years old or over and working 16 hours or more a week as an employee or self-employee.

If you are under 25, you can only apply if you have a child or a certain disability.

If you are over 25, you can apply even if you don’t have children. You will generally only be able to apply if you work 30 hours a week or more.

However, if you are a single parent, over 60 or have a disability, you only have to work 16 hours a week to apply. A couple with one or more children usually can usually apply if they work a combined 24 hours each week, one of whom has to work at least 16 hours a week.

How (much) will I be paid?

The amount you receive will depend on your annual income. However, there is no set limit for income because it depends on your situation (and your partner’s situation).

For example, the maximum income you can get and still apply may be £18,000 for a couple without children or £13,100 for a single person without children - but it can be higher if you have children, pay for approved childcare or one of you is disabled.

If you qualify, you get a basic amount and extra (known as ‘elements’) on top of this. The basic amount is up to £1,940 a year. The elements could be hundreds to thousands of pounds more, so check the table here.

You’ll be paid directly into your bank or building society account, every week or 4 weeks. If you’re a couple, you must choose one account.

Who else can apply?

There are some special occasions when you can get WTC even when you’re not in work. For example:

  • If you are on maternity leave, additional paternity leave or adoption leave, you can apply for WTC for the first 39 weeks of your leave, as long as you’ve worked the number of hours required before you go on leave
  • If you’re off sick, you can apply for WTC for the first 28 weeks, as long as you’re on Statutory Sick Pay
  • If you’ve just become unemployed, you can claim WTC for the first 4 weeks

How to claim

You can claim WTC at any time of year and up to 7 days before starting a new job.

Voluntary work does not count, and you can only apply if your work is expected to last at least 4 weeks.

If you’re new to tax credits, call the Tax Credit Helpline for a claim form.

It can take up to 2 weeks for the form to arrive and then up to another 5 weeks to process a new claim.

Please note: You apply for Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits on the same claim form, and you have to renew your claim(s) once a year.

Effect of and on other benefits

If you or your child get disability benefits, you may get extra tax credits.

If you get tax credits, you may get less Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and/or Pension Credit.

Because WTC depends on your income and some other benefits that you might claim count as income, you may get less WTC than you expect.

The new Benefit Cap will not affect you if anyone in your household claims WTC.

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