Benefits Expert: ‘Can I claim Working Tax Credit?’

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Q MY husband receives Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) but, because of the severity of his disability, he does not have to attend work-focused interviews.

 I have taken a job of 12 hours a week. Can I claim Working Tax Credit (WTC) and will my wages affect his ESA?

Pam (by Email)

A YOU are not working enough hours to qualify for WTC. The minimum weekly number of hours for this is either 16 or 30, depending upon circumstances.

 As your husband’s ESA is income-related his benefit will be reduced by the amount of your earnings less £20 a week.

Q WE are a couple over 80. I claim Carer’s Allowance (CA) for looking after my wife. Can she also claim CA for looking after me? We both receive Attendance Allowance (AA).

Mr. F (by Email)

A EVEN though you are receiving CA for looking after your wife, she may be able to receive it for looking after you.

 To be eligible the following should apply.

 You must be receiving AA (at either High or Low Rate) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the Middle or High Rate for Care; your wife must be looking after you for at least 35 hours a week; no one else must be receiving CA for looking after you.

 A person cannot receive CA on top of another State Benefit like State Pension; they get whichever is the greater.

 So if your wife has a State Pension of £58.45 a week or more she would not be able to receive CA.

 If all the other conditions were met, however, she would be entitled to ‘underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance’.

 This is not a benefit in itself but it means you will be more generously treated for benefits like Pension Credit, Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit.

 If you send me full details of your income and circumstances I will let you know what I think you should be claiming. Your wife can claim Carer’s Allowance (or underlying entitlement to it) by phoning the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 882200.

Q I HAVE had to give up work because the bus services have changed.

 This leaves me with £58.45 a week Carer’s Allowance and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) of £20.55 for Care.

 My husband earns £158 a week plus Working Tax Credit of £41 and DLA of £72.40 a week for Care and Mobility. What should we be claiming? We are too young for Pension Credit.

Mrs R (Downhill)

A COUNCIL Tax Benefit of at least £10 a week and, if you pay rent, significant Housing Benefit.