Tax Credits and Benefits After Studies
Tax Credits are monies paid by the government to individuals or households to supplement their income.
It is possible that you may be eligible to receive Tax Credits after you graduate.
There are two types of Tax Credits: Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, both of which are administered by Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC).
Working Tax Credit
To be eligible you must meet certain residency criteria and be:
- 25 or over and working at least 30 hours per week or
- have responsibility for a child and work at least 16 hours per week or
- have a disability that puts you at a disadvantage in securing a job and work at least 16 hours per week
AND – your income must fall below a set threshold.
For Working Tax Credit (WTC) purposes the term ‘work’ includes self employment, so WTC may be a useful way to supplement earnings while you are setting up a business or enterprise.
WTC is calculated on an annual basis, but it is best to inform HMRC of changes in income to avoid overpayments.
WTC can include an element to help with paying for the cost of childcare.
For more information check the HMRC website.
Child Tax Credit
To be eligible you must be responsible for a dependent child and your income must be below a set threshold.
The basic family element of Child Tax Credit only starts to be reduced when the household income exceeds £50,000, so it is reasonably likely that if you have a child, either you, or your partner if you have one, will be eligible to receive some Child Tax Credit.
If you do not enter employment immediately after graduation, you may be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) from the date that you complete your course.
You will need to meet the residency criteria, show that you are actively seeking work and not in employment (this includes self-employment if you are being paid or expect to be paid for the work that you are doing).
Claims are made at your local Jobcentre Plus.
Housing Benefit is paid to people with a low income who pay rent. It is paid whether or not the claimant is in paid work and can be paid in addition to other benefits. If you are in employment your income will need to be below a certain level to be eligible. The level used for calculations depends on where you live and who else is in your household.
If you do not enter employment immediately after you graduate, or if you are on a low income, and you are paying rent, then you can claim Housing Benefit from the date that you complete your course.