When you are employed but currently on leave from work because you are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave or you are ill, as long as you are not claiming Universal Credit, you may have a choice of benefits to claim, in-work or out-of-work, depending on your financial and household circumstances.
Working Tax Credit is normally only payable to people who are in work and meet certain work hours rules. However, if you or your partner are on leave from work, you may still be treated as working and be able to continue receiving Working Tax Credit or receive it for the first time as long as you are not in a Universal Credit full service area. Whether you are entitled to Working Tax Credit will depend on what your usual working hours were before you went on leave and the length of time you will be off work.
While on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave you will still be considered to be working for the purposes of Working Tax Credit, and doing so for the same number of hours you did immediately before going on leave. This can continue for up to 39 weeks of ordinary leave and the first 13 weeks of additional leave.
To qualify for Working Tax Credit, immediately before going on leave you must have worked on average for:
The same rules apply if you are self-employed and you would have been entitled to maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave if you had been employed.
If you don't qualify for Working Tax Credit based on your work hours before going on leave you may qualify for an out of work benefit instead based on your current work hours.
If you are an employee, you will remain entitled to Working Tax Credit for the first 28 weeks that you're off work, as long as:
The specific sickness or disability benefits are:
The same rules apply if you are self-employed and you would have been entitled to receive one of the specific sickness or disability benefits above if you had been employed.
Your Working Tax Credit payments could end if you don't go back to work after 28 weeks, even if you keep getting:
If you don't go back to work after 28 weeks, you must tell the Tax Credit Office within one month. If you don't you may be charged a penalty. You can contact the Tax Credit Office by calling the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900.
The calculator cannot look at your eligibility for out-of-work benefits and Working Tax Credit at the same time.
If you enter that you are not currently working the calculator looks at your eligibility for out-of-work benefits such as Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance. You should tell us about any payments you are currently receiving such as Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Sick Pay on the benefits you receive or disability benefits page.
To find out whether you could get Working Tax Credit you should enter your work hours immediately before you went on leave. You should tell us about any payments you are currently receiving such as Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Sick Pay on the benefits you receive or disability benefits page and on the tax credit income page but don't enter them on the net earnings page. There are messages within the calculator to explain what to include and where.
In some circumstances you can be eligible for out-of-work benefits and Working Tax Credit at the same time. The rules determining how much help you will get are extremely complex and we would strongly advise you to get more detailed advice about the help that you are likely to receive.
The Tax Credit Helpline 0345 300 3900 is open Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, and Saturday 8.00 am to 4.00 pm. Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.