Thinking of starting work

Help when you start work

If you have been getting Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (Income-Based), Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related), Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance which stops because you or your partner has started work, or because you or your partner has received an increase in pay or in the number of hours worked, you may be able to receive an extended payment.

If you are entitled to the extended payment, your Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction will continue at the same rate as when you were getting Income Support/Job Seekers Allowance (Income-Based)/Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance for an extra four weeks.

The extended payment can still be made even if you move to start work but the amount may be different depending on where you move to.

To claim an extended payment you will need to notify the Department of Work and Pensions or us that:

  • you or your partner are about to start work for 16 hours or more per week, or that your hours or wages are about to increase; and
  • that the work or the increase is expected to last 5 weeks or more.

The notification can be in writing or by phone, and must be made within 1 month of the day the work or the increase started.

If you do not qualify for an Extended Payment, or when your Extended Payment is due to end:

You may still qualify for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction based on your new income details. You may have to fill in a new application form giving full details of your new income, and provide proof of the amount of earnings, benefits and capital/savings you will have.

If you think you may still qualify for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction based on your new details, do not delay in sending back your application form, even if you do not have all the necessary proof and/or are waiting to hear about something, or you may lose benefit to which you would otherwise be entitled.

If you return to Income Support/Jobseekers Allowance/Incapacity Benefit within 26 weeks (12 weeks for Employment and Support Allowance) or less from the end of your previous entitlement and you want to return to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction at the same time you can claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction by filling in a Rapid Reclaim form (HBRR1) available from the Department of Work and Pensions. They will send the completed form to us. If you have not had any change in your circumstances since your previous claim, your Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction will be reinstated without your having to fill in another full application form.