BENEFITS EXPERT: Can I work and still get benefits?

I am currently working part time but have been advised to either cut back on hours or retire altogether through ill health. My wage is £800 per month and I also get £235 pension from a previous employer and £549 state pension and my husband gets the basic state pension. We pay full rent of £456 per month plus other outgoings.If I was to reduce my wage by half or retire altogether would we be entitled to any benefits?

Monday, 18th April 2016, 1:00 pm

Someone in your situation might be entitled to Working Tax Credit (WTC) but it would depend upon your working hours, your earnings and the total pensions of you and your husband. People aged 60 or over may be eligible for WTC if they work at least 16 hours a week. A couple in your financial situation who met this condition under current rules would be due some WTC if their annual taxable income was under £16,000. By my reckoning either your working hours would be too short or your earnings too high for you to qualify for WTC however you arrange you working pattern.

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If you were to retire altogether you would be entitled to Housing Benefit that would reduce your rent to the rough equivalent of £45 a week plus an amount of Council Tax reduction. If you were to take a pay cut, you would get a rent reduction of £0.65 a week for every £1 of lost wages.

I am now finished working after suffering four mini strokes. My wife and I receive Pension Credit of £769.56 a month and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) of £307.60 a month for both living and disability, and I have a private pension of £109 a month. My wife who is 60 has no income at all. We are on full housing and council tax benefits. Now my wife has been told to apply for Carer’s Allowance for looking after me. She has been told to fill and send in the claiming form but told she will be refused but told that she fills the criteria for Carer’s Allowance and phone Pension Credit and she will be able to claim the Carer’s Addition. Is this right and how will this affect any of my benefits? I have heard that Carer’s Allowance does affect your benefits but I don’t know how. I am 64 years old.

If your wife meets the conditions she can get Carer’s Allowance by telephoning 0345 608 4321. Her Carer’s Allowance of £62.10 a week will be deducted from Pension Credit but a Carer’s Addition of £34.60 will be added to it.