Going back into work – what you’re entitled to

Going back into work following a period of timeout can be a daunting experience for anyone, but for someone that has become used to a routine on benefits it can be even more so. Here I have laid out some suggestions for managing the financial changes that you may encounter as you begin employment.

  • If you are claiming out of work benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and IS, this will automatically stop when you are working 16 or more hours a week – this is considered ‘full time work’. You will need to inform the benefits department of this change to your circumstances as soon as possible to avoid any potential over payments which you may need to repay.
  • If you are claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction, this does not stop automatically just because you have started work. They will be means tested against your income from work. You will need to provide information to your local council about your income such as a pay slip and any entitlement will be recalculated.
  • If you have been on an out of work benefit for an extended length of time, you could get extended payments of full benefit for the first 4 weeks of work.
  • If you are claiming Universal Credit, you can continue to claim this in work, but this will be means tested against your income from work and recalculated. You will need to update your online journal to let them know you have started work.
  • If you have a health condition or disability which impacts you on a daily basis, and you are currently claiming Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance, these can continue in work.
  • If you are claiming Carers Allowance, this benefit will stop when you are working and earning more than £120 per week.

When moving off of benefits and into work, some may struggle to pay for essential work items such as work clothes and travel expenses. Local authorities can offer grants to help subsidise these costs when starting a new job. You can apply for these on your local authorities website.