Help for jobseekers April 2016

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1 Help for jobseekers April 2016

2 Introduction This factsheet is for people of working age who are unemployed and looking for work. The main benefit in these circumstances is usually jobseeker s allowance. However, certain single, childless people in Hertfordshire now have to claim universal credit while they are looking for work instead of income-based JSA see page 7 for more information. If you are unable to work because you are ill or disabled, or you are a lone parent looking after a small child, or you are a carer you may be able to claim other benefits like employment and support allowance, income support or carer s allowance instead. More information on these is available on Claiming benefits can be complicated. The information in this factsheet is intended as a general guide. There are special rules for some people from abroad, for some students and for young people aged 16/17. You should seek further advice from one of the organisations listed at the end of this factsheet if you are in one of these groups Jobseeker s allowance Jobseeker s allowance (JSA) is a benefit for unemployed people who are available for work and actively seeking work. You must be under pension age. There are two types of JSA. Contribution-based JSA This is paid for up to six months if you have paid enough national insurance contributions when you were working. You can get it even if your partner works or you have savings. You will still be able to make a new claim for contribution-based JSA after the introduction of universal credit. Income-based JSA This is paid for as long as you meet the rules and is a means tested benefit which you can get instead of contribution-based JSA if you haven t paid enough national insurance contributions, or to top up contribution-based JSA (for example, if you are an owner occupier with housing costs), or when your contribution-based JSA stops. However, income-based JSA has been replaced by universal credit for certain new, single, unemployed claimants in Hertfordshire. See page 7 for further details. Joint claims If you are a couple aged 18 or over and wish to claim income-based JSA, then you are usually a joint claim couple and both of you will have to look for work unless one person is a student, a carer or disabled. If one of you is responsible for a dependent child, you are not a joint claim couple but you are still a couple for benefit purposes and one person claims on behalf of both of you. There are special rules for those under

3 How much is JSA? Contribution-based JSA This is paid at one of 2 rates: aged 16-24: aged 25 and over: Income-based JSA The amount of income-based JSA you get will depend on your circumstances and whether you have any other money coming in. If you are an owner occupier you may also get help towards your mortgage interest - see our factsheet help to pay mortgage costs on If you (and your partner) have combined savings of more than 16,000, you cannot get income-based JSA. If you have between 6,000 and 16,000, the amount of incomebased JSA you get will be reduced by 1 a week for every 250 (or part of 250) you have over 6,000. If you have too much capital you can still sign on for JSA in order to get national insurance credits towards your future state pension. What is the claimant commitment? Once a JSA claim has been made you are expected to attend an initial interview with your work coach to sign a jobseeker s agreement, known as a claimant commitment. This sets out clearly what job-seeking activity you must do in order to find work, the support you will receive to do this and the consequences if you fail to meet the requirements. If you are getting contributory JSA and universal credit the rules for the claimant commitment are a little different see page 9. You will be given a weekly timetable of tasks to complete and will be subject to regular reviews. You will usually need to look for work for the same number of hours that you are expected to work usually 35 hours but this should be decided individually with each claimant and account should be taken of certain caring or childcare responsibilities. In order to continue getting JSA you will have to go to the jobcentre to sign on and attend an interview to account clearly for your efforts to find work - usually once a fortnight. You must show that you are available for, and actively seeking, work. The DWP has a further range of requirements for jobseekers to show that they are taking positive steps to find work. These include: day one conditionality - people who claim online will be asked to set up an address, prepare a suitable CV and register on the universal jobmatch website (see below); jobseekers who do not claim online will be helped to complete these requirements by their work coach; mandatory English language requirement - claimants whose English skills are below Entry Level 2 will be instructed to attend training to improve their language skills; quarterly work search interviews - claimants will have to attend a 20 minute interview every 13 weeks to review the quarter's activities and their claimant commitment, as well as to widen the scope of their work search;

4 weekly work search reviews - work coaches will decide which claimants would benefit from a weekly face to face interview. After you have been in receipt of JSA for more than three months you may have to join the Work Programme which provides support, work experience and training for up to two years to help people find and stay in work. Those who fail to comply with any of the requirements above will face serious sanctions and risk losing their benefit. What happens if I fail to sign-on? Benefit will usually stop immediately if: you fail to sign on you sign on at the wrong time but on the right day, for the second time and you have already received a warning letter you sign on but on the wrong day. However your entitlement to JSA may not end if you contact Jobcentre Plus within five working days, although you might get a benefit penalty (sanction), unless you can show good reason for your failure. Universal jobmatch Jobcentre Plus has an online job posting and matching service - and advisers can require JSA claimants to use the service where appropriate or face a benefit sanction. However, the DWP also says that advisers will take into account a jobseeker s individual circumstances and that, where possible, if you don t have internet in your own home, you should be able to access the service in the jobcentre. You may also be able to use the computers at your local library. Jobseeker s directions If Jobcentre Plus has doubts about your efforts to find work, or thinks you would benefit from further training, they can make a jobseeker s direction. This is an instruction which could tell you to take a job or training course to improve your chances of finding work. If you do not do what the jobseeker s direction says, without good reason, you might get a benefit penalty. Sanctions JSA claimants may be subject to a high or low level sanction although if you are receiving contributory JSA and universal credit you will be subject to the universal credit rules - see page

5 High level sanction You may lose benefit for 13 weeks, 26 weeks or 156 weeks (three years), if you: lose a job due to misconduct or without good reason: leave a job voluntarily or fail to take part in a mandatory work activity programme or fail to take on a suitable employment opportunity or refuse or fail to apply for a job which your adviser has notified to you. The length of time will depend on whether it is the first, second or third time you have failed to meet any of these responsibilities in the last 52 weeks. Low level sanctions You may lose benefit for 4 weeks or 13 weeks if you: lose a place on a training scheme or employment programme through misconduct or without good reason fail to: attend an adviser interview take part in a specified scheme for assisting people to obtain employment (such as the Work Programme) carry out a jobseeker s direction take the opportunity of a place on an employment programme or training scheme apply for or accept, a place on such a programme or scheme attend or give up a place on such a programme or scheme If your JSA ended because you were found not to be available for, or to actively seek work, you may also be sanctioned for 4 or 13 weeks if you make a new claim within 13 weeks of the old one. The sanction is the loss of the personal allowance: per week if aged 25 or over, if under 25. Can I get any help if my JSA is sanctioned? If you receive a sanction you may be able to get a hardship payment from Jobcentre Plus. You will be interviewed by a decision maker who will look at whether you have anything

6 else to live on, whether anyone in your family has a disability, and whether there is a risk that you will not have food or heating if you do not get benefit. If you are in one of the following vulnerable groups you may get a hardship payment sooner than other claimants: you are a lone parent (you may also be able to claim income support instead if your youngest child is aged under 5) you have dependent children you or your partner are pregnant (you may also be able to claim income support instead from week 29 of the pregnancy) you or your partner are disabled or have a long-term chronic medical condition (you may be able to claim income-related employment and support allowance instead) you are caring for someone with severe disabilities (who receives certain benefits), and you cannot carry on caring for them unless you get a payment (you may be able to claim carer s allowance and/or income support instead seek advice) you are aged Hardship payments are paid at a lower rate than the normal rate of benefit. If you disagree with a sanctions decision, you can apply for a mandatory reconsideration or appeal against it - see p.18. For more information about sanctions see You should also seek advice if your benefit is stopped for any reason. What if I left work, was made redundant or was sacked? If you left your last job voluntarily without a good reason, or you were sacked, you will be refused JSA: for 13 weeks, if it is your first offence; 26 weeks if it is your second offence; 3 years for a third offence. This rule does not apply to you if you were made redundant, even if you volunteered for redundancy, or if you were self-employed and stopped trading. How does redundancy affect JSA? If you are made redundant any final earnings, statutory or occupational redundancy pay will not affect your contribution-based JSA. If you claim income-based JSA, any final earnings you receive are usually ignored as income and this includes wages, holiday pay and any pay in lieu of notice. However, any statutory redundancy pay you get will count as capital for income-based JSA and will be added to any savings that you already have. If this takes your total capital

7 to over 16,000, then you will not be entitled to income-based JSA. Any contractual redundancy pay you receive is ignored. How does early retirement affect JSA? If you receive either an occupational or personal pension then this could reduce the amount of contribution-based JSA that you can get. The first 50 per week of the pension will be ignored but every pound of pension you receive above the 50 will reduce your contribution-based JSA. Therefore, if your gross pension is more than per week, then no contribution-based JSA would be paid. However you can still sign on for JSA in order to get credits towards your future state pension. Any occupational pension will count in full as income for income-based JSA. One-off lump sum pension payments will not affect contribution-based JSA but will count as capital for income-based JSA see above. If you take retirement you might be regarded as having left your job voluntarily unless you can show good reason or are in a redundancy situation. How does illness affect JSA? You can have two short periods of sickness of up to two weeks in a twelve monthly period. In addition, you can choose to stay on JSA rather than make a claim for employment and support allowance if you are sick for up to 13 weeks. How to claim JSA Phone Jobcentre Plus on or claim online at You are not entitled to JSA for the first seven days of the claim. If you are reclaiming JSA within 26 weeks of a previous claim, you may be able to make a rapid reclaim for JSA unless you now meet the universal credit gateway conditions see below. Universal credit Universal credit is currently being phased in across the country. Universal credit is for people under pension credit age and will eventually cover people who are unemployed, working, sick or caring. It is replacing a whole range of working age benefits - income support, income-based job seeker s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit. Generally, people will need to have less than 16,000 capital but see the gateway conditions below

8 Universal credit roll-out in Hertfordshire Universal credit is available in Hertfordshire for new claims from certain single, childless, unemployed people or those on low earnings who would otherwise have claimed income-based jobseeker s allowance. So, if you are newly unemployed in Hertfordshire you may now have to claim universal credit but only if you come within the following gateway conditions : You must: be aged between 18 and 60 years and six months be single be a British citizen who has resided in the UK for 2 years possess a national insurance number have a bank account (including credit union account) be fit for work You must not: have capital more than 6,000 expect to earn more than 338 in month after claim is made be pregnant or given birth in the 15 weeks prior to claiming have a fit note or be in a period of self-certification awaiting a fit note have been found to have limited capability for work have children, be an adopter or foster parent, or liable to pay child support maintenance be caring for a disabled person be self-employed or intend to become self-employed in the month after the UC claim is made be a student or intend to become a student in the month after the UC claim is made be a person with an appointee, deputy or receiver acting on his/her behalf be a company director or member of a limited liability partnership be homeless or living in temporary accommodation own your own home, including shared ownership live in supported accommodation live in same household as a member of the armed forces who is absent because of that role You must also not: be entitled to ESA, old style JSA, income support, incapacity benefit, DLA, SDA or PIP: please note that those making a new claim for contributory JSA in an area that has gone live for universal credit (known as new style JSA) should be eligible for universal credit be waiting for the outcome of a claim concerning ESA, old style JSA, income support, housing benefit or tax credits

9 be waiting for the outcome of an application to revise a decision of non-entitlement to JSA, ESA, income support or housing benefit be appealing a decision concerning ESA, JSA or income support Couples, parents, carers and people who are unfit for work, as well as existing legacy benefit claimants, will be brought into universal credit at later dates. However, anyone already on universal credit who moves into Hertfordshire will bring their claim with them, even if it includes children or a partner. If you claim universal credit as a single unemployed person but then change your status, for example, become a carer, unfit for work, part of a couple, or have a child, you will remain on the new benefit, although the rate will be revised to reflect your new circumstances. If a universal credit claimant moves in with someone getting one of the old benefits, these will stop and they will have to make a joint claim for universal credit instead regardless of the gateway conditions. How much is universal credit? Universal credit is made up of a standard monthly allowance for yourself and partner: single claimant under single claimant aged 25 or over couple both aged under couple one aged 25 or over You will get extra amounts for any dependent children. If you become unfit for work or start caring for an ill or disabled person you may get additional elements. If you start work you may also be able to get help with childcare costs. Universal credit also includes amounts for housing costs, like rent and mortgage interest payments. There is no limit on the time that jobseeking claimants can get this help although it will stop as soon as an owner occupier starts working. For more information about universal credit see our factsheet on Conditionality for jobseekers in universal credit All universal credit claimants will have to accept a claimant commitment. Most claimants will be expected to look for work, or at least think about what they need to do to get work eventually. There will be various levels of work-related requirements that you must satisfy depending on the reason why you are claiming

10 Jobseekers on universal credit will be subject to all work-related requirements and expected to look for full time work of 35 hours a week. However, certain people will be allowed to restrict their work search and availability in certain specified circumstances, for example, carers of children aged 5-13, carers of disabled people and those with long term physical or mental health conditions If you have previously been employed with a good work history you can be allowed up to 13 weeks to look for similar employment/pay. If you have a partner you may be placed in different conditionality groups, for example, if one of you has responsibility for a child. There is also a one month suspension of work-search requirements if you have to provide additional care and support to a child following either the death of a parent, sibling, previous responsible carer or a person living in the same household as the child, or the child experiencing or witnessing violence or abuse. This can be accessed once every six months for a total period up to two years. What happens if I do not meet the work-related requirements in universal credit? Sanctions, in the form of benefit reductions, can be applied if you do not meet your workrelated requirements. There are higher, medium, lower and lowest level sanctions although the latter don t apply to those who are claiming universal credit as a jobseeker. Higher level sanctions These will apply if you are a jobseeker subject to all work related requirements and you fail, for no good reason, to apply for a specific vacancy, take up an offer of paid work or undertake required mandatory work activity. This will also apply if you stop working voluntarily or through misconduct, or lose pay permanently or fall below your earnings conditionality threshold. The higher level sanction will normally be the loss of the standard allowance for 3 months for a first failure, 6 months for a second failure and 3 years for a subsequent failure within a year. Medium level sanctions These will apply to jobseekers subject to all work related requirements but fail, for no good reason, to look, or be available, for work. The sanction will be the loss of the standard allowance for 4 weeks for a first failure and 3 months for subsequent medium level failures within a year. Lower level sanctions These will apply to jobseekers subject to all work related requirements

11 They will be used if you fail, for no good reason, to undertake specified work preparation action or attend a work focused interview. The sanction will be the loss of the standard allowance until the requirement is met plus a further fixed period sanction of 1 week for a first failure, 2 weeks for a second failure and 4 weeks for a subsequent failure within a year. Sanctions should be reasonable taking into account health, caring responsibilities etc, and whether you have shown any good cause for non-compliance. You can appeal against a sanction decision and may also be able to get a hardship payment. Universal credit hardship payments To get a hardship payment you must show that your immediate and most basic essential needs cannot be met due to the sanction being applied. Hardship payments are paid at a daily rate based on 60% of the sanctioned amount and need to be repaid. You can ask for a hardship payment where you have: met any compliance conditions required of you complied with work search & preparation requirements in previous 7 days made every effort to access alternative sources of support stopped incurring expenditure which does not relate to immediate basic and essential needs accepted that payments are recoverable Phone the Universal Credit Helpline on to apply for a hardship payment. You will need to re-apply every month. How does illness affect universal credit? A work search requirement cannot be imposed on you if you are unfit for work for a maximum of 14 days and no more than twice in any 12 month period. However, it can apply more than twice or for longer than this if the DWP thinks it would be unreasonable to require you to meet the requirement. After three months of sickness you will have a work capability assessment and, if you are found to have limited capability for work, you will no longer be subject to all work-related requirements and may receive more benefit see for more information. How does redundancy affect universal credit? Your final earnings are taken into account in the assessment period in which they are paid. This includes arrears of pay, pay in lieu of notice and accrued holiday pay

12 The following lump-sum payments are taken into account as capital: redundancy pay, both statutory and contractual employment tribunal awards for unfair dismissal pay in lieu of notice for damages for breach of contract You cannot be given a sanction if you volunteer or accept your employer s proposal for redundancy. How does early retirement affect universal credit? Any occupational pension will count in full as income for universal credit. One-off lump sum pension payments will count as capital. If you take retirement you might be regarded as having left your job voluntarily unless you can show good reason or are in a redundancy situation. Can I stay on universal credit if I get a job? You will be able to continue claiming universal credit if you start work. There is no limit on the number of hours you can do but your benefit will be adjusted to take into account 65% of your wages, although some will be ignored if you have children (or limited capability for work due to ill health or disability). Details of PAYE earnings from employers will be automatically forwarded to the DWP from a real-time information (RTI) system operated by HMRC so you will not need to report any fluctuations unless you are self-employed or your employer is not part of this system. See work and benefits on for more information on help for low paid workers. How to claim universal credit Claims are started online at They will eventually be managed online too but, currently, if you have any questions or changes of circumstances - call the Universal Credit Helpline on They should also be able to help if you can t manage an online claim yourself. Universal credit will be paid monthly in arrears direct to you so you may find it helpful to set up monthly direct debits to help you budget. You are not entitled to universal credit for the first seven days of the claim and you will usually have to wait six weeks for the first payment. You can ask the DWP for a universal credit advance to tide you over if you are in financial need phone

13 Housing benefit If you are not part of the universal credit system, you may be able to claim housing benefit for help with rental costs. Housing benefit is paid whether you are in or out of work. However, you will not be eligible if you have more than 16,000 in savings (unless you receive the guarantee credit part of pension credit). If you rent accommodation from a private landlord your housing benefit is likely to be called local housing allowance (LHA). The amount of LHA is based on where the property is and the number of people living in it. LHA is capped at various levels depending on the size of the property. For the LHA rates in your local area please visit Since April 2013 social housing tenants of working age have their housing benefit restricted if they are deemed to be under-occupying their property. You will have to meet the first 14% of your rent without housing benefit if you have one empty bedroom and 25% if you have two or more empty bedrooms. Certain exceptions apply. See our factsheet on for more information. The amount of housing benefit you get also depends on your circumstances, such as the size of your family, whether you have any non-dependants living with you and your income. Earnings are taken into account minus certain disregards: 25 for lone parents 10 for couples 5 for single people. There are further disregards for workers with dependent children, for certain disabled workers, for some people working at least 30 hours or more a week and for certain childcare costs. How does redundancy affect housing benefit? If you are made redundant and then claim housing benefit, any final earnings you receive are usually ignored and this includes wages, holiday pay and any pay in lieu of notice. However if you are already receiving housing benefit before you stop working then any final earnings you receive will count as normal and this will include wages, bonuses, expenses, holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice and will be averaged in the normal way. Any statutory or contractual redundancy payments you receive are treated as capital and will be added to any capital or savings that you already have and, if this exceeds the 16,000 upper limit, then you will not be entitled to housing benefit

14 How does early retirement affect housing benefit? Any occupational or personal pension will count in full as income. One-off lump sum payments count as capital see page 3. How to claim housing benefit Claim housing benefit on a form available from your district or borough council. If you claim income-based JSA by telephone, you can start a claim for housing benefit at the same time. If you are already getting housing benefit you must notify your local authority benefit department when you start work or if there are any changes to your wages, the number of hours that you work or your household circumstances. You may also get an extended payment of housing benefit when you start work see page 17. A number of recent changes may mean you are getting less housing benefit than you used to. If you are struggling to meet your housing costs because your housing benefit does not pay all of your rent, you can ask the district or borough council for a discretionary housing payment to top up your benefit. You can also request one if you are getting universal credit and have rental costs. You need to show that you require financial assistance to help meet your housing costs and that you have good reasons for getting extra help. Claims should be made in writing to your district or borough council and some councils have a special form for doing this. Help for owner occupiers If you are not part of the universal credit system you may get some help with your mortgage interest through income-based jobseeker s allowance. If you are claiming income-based JSA you can get help with mortgages and loans of up to 200,000 after a waiting period of 39 weeks. However this can only be paid for a maximum of 104 weeks for most JSA claimants. How to claim help with mortgage interest Use form M112, available from Jobcentre Plus. Help with council tax There are a number of ways you can get help with your council tax: discounts, a disability reduction or council tax support. You can get help through all three schemes at the same time, if you satisfy the conditions. Some homes may be exempt from council tax altogether. Seek further advice from your local council about discounts, disability reductions or exemptions. Council tax reduction If you are on a low income you may be able to get some help through council tax reduction. There are 10 different schemes in Hertfordshire and in most areas many

15 working age claimants will have to pay something towards their council tax, even if they are getting income-related JSA. Some of the councils have capped entitlement to a lower council tax band and many have restricted the maximum rebate to a figure less than 100%. Some vulnerable groups are protected and these changes do not apply to people over pension credit qualifying age (ie the women s pension age).see your local council s website for more information on exempted groups. Council tax support is means tested and the amount you get depends on your income and your savings. Most local authorities also have a scheme called second adult rebate which does not depend on your or your partner s income/savings but looks at other people who live in your home and takes into account their financial circumstances. You will get whichever of these is worth more. How to claim help with council tax Contact your local council for a claim form. Remember to make a separate claim for council tax support if you are getting universal credit. For more information about council tax visit or your local council s website. Benefit cap There is an overall cap on the total amount of benefit a working age family can claim. The cap is 26,000 a year for couples and families, 18,200 for single people. It is implemented by housing benefit authorities reducing your housing benefit but, if you are on universal credit, this will be capped instead. You are exempt from the cap on housing benefit if you are entitled to working tax credit (WTC). You don't have to actually be getting any WTC or to have made a claim - you just need to be working enough hours to qualify this can be 16, 24 or 30 hours depending on your circumstances - see work and benefits on There will also be a grace period if you have been in work for 50 out of the last 52 weeks and lose your job through no fault of your own. The cap won t apply for the first nine months of your claim. If you are getting universal credit you won t be subject to the cap if you work and have net monthly wages of at least 430 per month (couples earnings can be added together). The nine month grace period will be applied to those who have earned at least 430 in each of the previous 12 months. The cap does not affect you in either scheme if you, or your partner, get DLA, PIP, attendance allowance, ESA (support component), industrial injuries benefit or war pensions or if a dependent child gets DLA or PIP. The benefit cap is due to be reduced from autumn 2016 to 20,000 a year for couples and lone parents and 13,400 for singles outside of London. Exemptions will be extended to

16 those getting carer s allowance (including underlying entitlement), guardian s allowance and the carer element in universal credit at the same time. Other help You may be able to get a range of other financial help if you are unemployed, including: help with costs of children eg child benefit, child tax credit and free school meals help with healthcare costs For more information on these see Help getting back to work There are currently a number of schemes offered by Jobcentre Plus. Work Programme - this aims to assist people to get back into work and can give inwork support once you have found a job. It is provided on the jobcentre s behalf by external organisations and can last for a maximum of two years. There is some mandatory and some voluntary entry depending on individual circumstances. You are likely to be referred three months after claiming JSA or if you are claiming employment and support allowance and are in the work related activity group. However, this could happen sooner for certain disadvantaged customers, such as ex-prisoners or younger claimants. A new Work and Health Programme will be replacing the Work Programme Work clubs set up by local groups and organisations to help people return to work. Activities will include interview skills, writing a CV and IT workshops Work together a scheme to encourage volunteering while looking for work Youth contract if you are aged you can get extra help including voluntary work placements, apprenticeships and careers guidance Work experience for year olds lasting 2 to 8 weeks Sector-based work academies offering pre-employment training and work placements for up to 6 weeks, for example, in areas such as hospitality or the care sector. Most academies offer a guaranteed interview for a job or an apprenticeship Work trials a chance to try a job and keep your benefits New enterprise allowance - for claimants who have a viable business proposition. This will provide a weekly allowance, paid for up to 26 weeks, of up to 1,274. In addition you will also be able to get a loan of up to 1,000 to help meet the start-up costs of the business and have access to a volunteer business mentor Mandatory work activity compulsory requirement to work up to 30 hours per week for four weeks for people who Jobcentre Plus think are not making enough effort to get back to work. Claimants who fail to complete a placement without good cause will have sanctions applied to their benefit

17 Help to work programme aimed at those who are finding it hardest to get a job, including the long term unemployed and people with complex barriers. The programme is likely to include more people over the next year. Initiatives include intensive coaching, daily meetings with the work coach etc. Those who fail to take part in the scheme will face potential sanctions that could see them lose their benefits for a period of time. Flexible support fund If you are unemployed you may be able to get financial help to overcome obstacles to returning to work through the Jobcentre Plus flexible support fund. This may be available to assist with expenses like travel, tools, training and some childcare costs. The fund also include some provision for lone parents who have been in work for less than 26 weeks and face some sort of emergency that could prevent them from continuing in work, such as help towards childcare. For further information ask your work coach at Jobcentre Plus. Housing benefit extended payments If you start work which is expected to last at least 5 weeks you can continue to get housing benefit at your previous rates for 4 weeks. You must have been out of work for at least 26 weeks and been getting income based jobseeker s allowance, income support, employment and support allowance, incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance. You must inform the local authority or Jobcentre plus within 4 weeks of the change in your situation. After this time you might still be able to get some housing benefit depending on your income, rent, etc. If you have ongoing entitlement the local authority should recalculate your housing benefit taking into account income from the new job. Earnings should be attributed over the period following their receipt, rather than over the period for which they are earned when calculating entitlement. A fresh claim is no longer required. Council tax support extended payments Your local council tax support scheme may also provide extended payments and some authorities also have other incentives for people returning to work. Further information is available on or contact your district or borough council for full details of individual schemes. Mortgage interest run-on Mortgage interest run-on is for people whose benefit stops because they start work that is expected to last for at least 5 weeks. You must have been receiving income support, income-related employment and support allowance or income-based jobseeker s allowance for the last 26 weeks and had mortgage interest included in your benefit. The amount of help you receive towards your housing costs will continue for the first 4 weeks after you start work. For more information contact Jobcentre Plus

18 In-work benefits There is a range of help you can get if you are on a low wage including working tax credit, universal credit, housing benefit and council tax support. For more information about these see Help with childcare costs There is a range of help you can get with childcare costs including: free early learning working tax credit universal credit employer-supported childcare vouchers tax-free childcare - from early 2017 See our extra money for families information on for advice, guidance and practical support with finding suitable childcare. Challenging decisions If you are unhappy with a decision about your benefits you can usually ask for it to be looked at again. For most social security benefits, including JSA, you must ask for a mandatory reconsideration first before you can put in an appeal. If you are successful, any change is normally backdated to the time of the original wrong decision. There are strict time limits if you want to challenge a decision. If you miss the time limit, which is usually one month from the date of the decision letter (30 days for tax credits), you can only put in a late challenge in exceptional circumstances. You don t need to ask for a mandatory reconsideration first if you are challenging housing benefit and council tax support decisions. For more information about challenging decisions see Further help and advice The rules about benefit and work are very complicated. If you are returning to work ask for a 'better off calculation' so you can see the impact on all of your benefits. Remember to look at the extra costs of going to work and check out which in-work benefits you might be able to get. Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) Online information: Information about local CABx and opening times: Jobcentre Plus If you are claiming benefits and looking for work you can get help from a work coach at the local Jobcentre Plus office, addresses in local phone book or visit or phone

19 How you can contact Hertfordshire County Council Our website Visit our website for more information about support for carers and adult social care - make a referral for care services or apply online for meals on wheels or a Blue Badge If you would like more information about benefits and debt you can find a wide range of factsheets Work Solutions Work Solutions is part of Hertfordshire County Council and helps people with mental ill health, learning disabilities, Aspergers, physical disabilities and sensory needs, who are thinking of taking up, or returning to, work. The team offers information on what local employers want, job vacancies, training opportunities, childcare and so on. For more information see or phone your nearest Work Solutions Team: North & East Herts: South & West Herts: Hertfordshire Directory Find national and local community groups, charities, services and activities HertsHelp Independent information and advice on local community services and care funding Telephone: Minicom: Call us For information and advice on how to get care and support Telephone: Text Message: Textphone: Calls to 0300 cost no more than a national rate call to a 01 or 02 number If you are worried that you or someone you know is at risk of abuse or neglect Call us on (24 hours a day) If you need help to understand Call if you would like help to understand this information or need it in a different format. You can also ask to speak to someone in your own language. This information is correct at time of print. It is for guidance only and is not an authoritative statement of the law

Universal Credit. In this factsheet you can find out what benefits are being replaced by UC, who can get it and how much you could get.

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