Income Support and working 16 hours a week or more

Work hours rules in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance

If you claim Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance you should normally either be not working or working on average less than 16 hours a week. Partners of people receiving Income Support/Jobseeker's Allowance are able to work for, on average, up to 24 hours a week, without their partner’s entitlement being affected.

However, in certain circumstances you are able to work more than 16 hours (24 hours for partners) and still claim Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance. These include:

  • Carers;
  • Self-employed childminders;
  • Volunteers;
  • People on certain training schemes;
  • Special occupations i.e. life boatmen, part-time firemen, Territorial Army, Volunteer Reserves and coastguards;
  • Local Councillors and foster parents;
  • Disabled people with low earnings due to disability;
  • People living in residential care or a nursing home;
  • In certain circumstances, people involved in a trade dispute;
  • Share fishermen.

For these people, there are no restrictions on the hours they can spend doing this type of work and still remain eligible to claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support.

If you fall into one of these categories and work more than 16 hours a week then you may qualify for Working Tax Credit (see below). If you want instead to calculate your entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support then this is only possible in the calculator if you indicate that you work less than 16 hours a week.

Carers

Anyone who is treated as a carer for Income Support purposes is able to claim regardless of the number of hours they work (i.e. the remunerative work restriction does not apply). For more information see Income Support rules for carers.


Working Tax Credit

If you work 16 hours a week or more you may be able to claim Working Tax Credit (WTC). As WTC is included as income when calculating Income Support, as well as most earnings, most people in this situation end up being refused Income Support because their earnings and any WTC received are too high. However there are still some people who get an Income Support payment to top up earnings/tax credits e.g. self-employed carers whose business makes no profit. You should get further advice about claiming Income Support if you are a carer working 16 hours or more.

Do you work 1-15 hours per week?

We are doing a survey of people who work 1-15 hours per week to inform a paper on future benefit reform. If you work 1-15 hours per week we would be very grateful if you could spare a minute to fill out the survey.Click here to take the survey