Will I be able to get Working Tax Credit?

Working Tax Credit boosts the income of working people on a low income, whether you are working for someone else or are self-employed.

An overview or Working Tax Credit

You can get Working Tax Credit if you are getting paid work and either of the following apply:

  • You’re aged from 16 to 24 and have a child qualifying for a disability
  • You’re 25 or over, with or without children

You must:

  • Work a certain number of hours a week
  • Get paid for the work you do (or expect to)
  • Have an income below a certain level

The basic amount of Working Tax Credit is up to £1,960 a year – you could get more (or less) depending on your circumstances and income.

You can apply for Working Tax Credit even if you do not have children, you’re on leave or about to start a new job.

You cannot claim tax credits and Universal Credit at the same time.

Am I eligible for Working Tax Credit?

You can only make a new claim for Working Tax Credit if you are employed in some way and either of the following apply:

  • You do not live in a Universal Credit area 
  • You or your partner qualify for Pension Credit 

If you cannot make a new claim for Working Tax Credit, you’ll usually need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

Eligibility depends on your age and how many hours of paid work you do a week. Your income and circumstances will also affect how much you get.

Use the tax credits questionnaire to see if you qualify.

What counts as ‘work’ for Working Tax Credit?

Your work can be:

  • For someone else, as a worker or employee
  • As someone who’s self-employed 
  • A mixture of the two

If you’re self-employed

Some self-employed people are not eligible for Working Tax Credit. To qualify, your self-employed work must aim to make a profit. It must also be commercial, regular and organised.

This means you may not qualify if you do not:

  • Make a profit or have clear plans to make one
  • Work regularly
  • Keep business records, such as receipts and invoices
  • Follow any regulations that apply to your work, for example having the right licence or insurance

If the average hourly profit from your self-employed work is less than the National Minimum Wage, the Tax Credit Office may ask you to provide:

  • Business records
  • Your business plan – find out how to write a business plan here
  • Details of the day-to-day running of your business
  • Evidence that you’ve promoted your business – such as advertisements or flyers
What qualifies as ‘paid’ work?

The work you do to qualify for Working Tax Credit must last at least four weeks (or you must expect it to last four weeks) and must be paid.

This can include payment in kind (for example farm produce for a farm labourer) or where you expect to be paid for the work.

Paid work does not include money paid:

  • for a ‘Rent a Room’ scheme (less than £7,500 or £3,750 for joint owners)
  • for work done while in prison
  • as a grant for training or studying
  • as a sports award

There’s no set limit for income because it depends on your circumstances (and those of your partner). 

For example, £18,000 for a couple without children or £13,100 for a single person without children – but it can be higher if you have children, pay for approved childcare or one of you is disabled.

How many hours do I need to work?

You must work a certain number of hours a week to qualify for Working Tax Credit

Your circumstances

Hours a week

Aged 25 to 59

At least 30 hours

Aged 60 or over

At least 16 hours

Single with one or more children

At least 16 hours

Couple with one or more children

Typically, at least 25 hours between you (with one person working at least 16 hours)

For these purposes, a child is someone under 16 (or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training). 

What are the exceptions for couples with at least one child?

You and your partner can still claim if you work less than 24 hours a week between you, and one of the following criteria applies:

  • You work at least 16 hours a week and you’re disabled or aged 60 or above
  • You work at least 16 hours a week and your partner is incapacitated (getting benefits because of disability or ill health), is entitled to Carer’s Allowance, or is in hospital or prison 
How much might I get?

With Working Tax Credit, you get a basic amount and extra ‘elements’ on top of this. How much you get depends on things like your circumstances and income.

Your circumstances


Basic amount

Up to £1,960 a year

You’re a couple applying together

Up to £2,010 a year

You’re a single parent

Up to £2,010 a year

You work at least 30 hours a week

Up to £810 a year

You have a disability

Up to £3,090 a year

You have a severe disability

Up to £1,330 a year (usually on top of the disability payment)

You pay for approved childcare

Up to £122.50 (1 child) or £210 (2 or more children) a week

Use the tax credits calculator to work out how much you could get.

How will I be paid?

Money is paid directly into your bank or building society account. This is done either every week or every four weeks.

You must choose one account for it to be paid into if you’re a couple.

Usually, you’re paid from the date of your claim up to the end of the tax year (5 April).

If your circumstances change, your tax credits can go up or down. You must report family or work life changes to the Tax Credit Office.

How do I claim?

If you haven’t claimed tax credits before, you’ll need to order a claim form.

It can take up to two weeks for the claim form to arrive and up to five weeks to process a new claim.

You do not need a claim form to tell the Tax Credit Office about a change in your circumstances.

You can claim after starting a new job, at any time of year.

If you’re on benefits (for example Job Seeker’s Allowance or Income Support) you can usually start claiming seven days before you start a new job.

What should I do next?

Before you apply for Working Tax Credit for your child, make sure you’re fully informed about the benefits you’re entitled to. Take a look at these resources: