Benefits Expert: ‘When can I claim Pension Credit?’

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Q I AM single, aged 52 and have just been taken off Incapacity Benefit after 10 years.

I work 16 hours a week for £97.73 plus Working Tax Credit (WTC) of £63.98 a week.

I have Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (HB/CTB), but must pay £64 rent plus council tax and arrears.

This leaves me only £50 a week for living expenses including £20 a week bus fares to work.

Has there been a mistake?

Mrs. M. (Houghton).

A BOTH your WTC and HB/CTB could well be less than you are entitled to.

WTC can consist of several elements, depending upon circumstances and yours seems to include the addition for people aged 50 plus who have gone back to work.

However, you do not seem to have the disability element which is worth £2,650 a year. Having been on a sickness benefit you should be entitled to this if your health puts you at a disadvantage in getting a job.

As you get WTC the council should ignore £22.10 a week of your earnings in your HB/CTB calculation.

However, they only seem to be ignoring the basic £5 which could be losing you £18 a week. You must query both these points.

Q I AM self-employed, just turned 57 and wonder when I can claim Pension Credit or any other entitlements.

We were told that as we own our own house we are not entitled to anything, even though we go months without work.

Ken (by Email).

A THE qualifying age for Pension Credit is rising in line with the increases in pension ages.

Someone of your age will not qualify for either Pension Credit or the State Pension until they are 66.

The value of the home you live in is never taken into account for any benefit, so you have been misinformed.

Working people on low incomes may qualify for Working Tax Credit (WTC) and/or Council Tax Benefit.

To qualify for WTC you must be working for at least 30 hours a week (16 hours in some cases) and usually have an annual taxable income of under £13,029 for a single person or £17,785 in the case of a couple.

Q I WILL retire next month when I am 65, but will do self-employed work, drawing State Pension and a works pension.

Can I continue to claim WTC?

Joe (by iPad).

A HAVING reached 60 you can claim WTC if you work a minimum of 16 hours a week. Your pensions will form part of the taxable income that is taken into account in your WTC calculation.