The Working Tax Credit (WTC) is designed to help taxpayers on low incomes by providing top-up payments and includes those who do not have children. There are extra amounts available for qualifying childcare expenses and working households in which someone has a disability. The basic amount of WTC is £1,960 a year and is always included for qualifying applicants. There are also payments that may be available for couples or for those with certain disabilities.
In order to satisfy the rules for claiming the WTC, claimants must work a certain number of hours a week. For couples, one member has to work at least 16 hours a week, with the joint total being at least 24 hours. Single people who are responsible for 1 or more children can claim the WTC if they work at least 16 hours per week. Claims can also be made by those without children who work at least 30 hours per week if they are aged over 25. There are different limits for those claiming the disability element.
Backdated claims for WTC will usually only be backdated for a maximum of one month. There are exceptions for those with refugee status and claimants that qualify for certain sickness or disability benefits.
Making a new claim for tax credits is no longer possible for most people and it has been replaced by universal credit. Universal credit will eventually replace tax credits and other social security benefits. Existing tax credit claimants are expected to be moved across to universal credit between 2020 and 2023 although a small pilot will start from July 2019.