/ Claiming housing benefit/working tax credit

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Kemics - on 02 May 2013
I'm looking a quitting my job (and salary!) for partime work (change of career) and part time is the best gig I can find. It will allow me to finally get some experience in a new field. But im going to be taking a massive pay cut (approx 10k over the year..)

I'll earn before tax £850 a month. I dont think ill be able to survive on this. However, I was wondering about working tax credits/housing benefit. According to the Gov benefit calculator, I can claim about £250 a month. Which would make a massive difference.

My question is - how quickly can you get set up with this? Do I have to have a history of working at my new rate or are they going to look at what ive been earning previously, or just on my new wage? Im really nervous about accepting the job and just ruining myself financially...

would appreciate some advice
another_alex - on 02 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:
Depending on which council it is it can take them a while to process the claim, but the money is then backdated to when you made your claim.

There are some complicated rules about notional income
(eg here http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/benefits-and-council-tax/welfare-rights-and-money-advice/notional-income... ) which may or may not apply to quitting one job for a lower paid one - to be honest I have no idea. But I think you would be best off getting specialist advice from someone like the citizens advice bureau before changing jobs rather than risk a nasty surprise after!

best of luck with the career change
peas65 - on 03 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:

Working tax credits wise i think you have to work a minimum number of hours each week to qualify. I am pretty sure that it is calculated on last years income so if you quit you would not recieve any payment until next year as you wage has been too high to qualify.

Working Tax credits as a system is a nightmare i would avoid if possible. They give you too much then demand it back at random times. It is though very easy to apply for.

Housing benefit i thought was only for people out of work. You may though qualify for council tax benefit, depending on what you earn etc.

Go on the govt website that has a benefit calculator and work it out.
Climbing Pieman on 03 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:
> My question is - how quickly can you get set up with this?
Varies enormously depending on your own personal circumstances, how simply you fit the eligibility criteria, how helpful you are to "them" with providing info and details, etc.
You mention WTC and HB (and presumably CTR?). Former is a claim to HMRC and depending on when you claim/notify change of circumstances, method of claiming, and how fully you provide the info they need, usually anything from 4 - 6 weeks as a minimum to months or more, but that does not necessarily mean you will get any monies in that timescale as you may have to wait till the following tax year anyway depending on your actual circumstances. The latter (HB/CTR) is processed by local councils, and again it varies alot. Locally it is 2-3 weeks weeks for simple claim, up to months for a complex one. You are in a catch 22 situation as you have limited scope to claim in advance of a change of circumstances (one month I think from memory is max for HB), and a max of one month after otherwise benefits may be affected. You can ask your local council how long it normally takes for them to process a claim and that will give you a guide. I would not bother asking HMRC though re WTC, but you could I think from memory it is possible to submit a protective claim based on current job (knowing that no monies will be paid), and notify change of circumstances after. At least you are in the system so been through basics of right to reside, habitually resident, etc, rules of eligibility, though I hasten to add that that does not mean that you will get monies any quicker after the change notified!
> Do I have to have a history of working at my new rate
No, not to submit a claim.
> or are they going to look at what ive been earning previously, or just on my new wage?
Both past and future wages will be taken into account in any benefit calculation if applicable, as will savings/assets past and present if applicable, and also importantly your partner's past and present income and savings/assets if applicable.

Presumably irrelevant as you have the official government calculator decision, but just in case you inputed wrongly as you do say part time - you do know for WTC that to be eligible in principal (amoungst other rules) if indeed you are aged 25yrs assuming single and no children that you need to work 30hrs or more? There are exception rules which of course you may meet which may allow 16 or more hours, or even the combo of 24 hrs rule? Not enough info given to tell what your circumstances actually are so sorry for assumptions.
If in any doubt as to your eligibility I strongly suggest you take further advice from the likes of a CAB or direct with HMRC and or your local council, as it could be a costly mistake if you move jobs expecting benefits to top up your income and discover after that you do not qualify.
Sam_in_Leeds - on 03 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:

Good luck.

In 2009 I was earning £860 a month for a 35 hour week.

My "entitlement" of "working tax-credit" was the princely sum of £8 a week.

Took the piss really. I wouldn't bother, wasn't really worth the hassle.

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