How a redundancy payout can affect what benefits you can claim - our expert advises

Extra benefits may be available.
Extra benefits may be available.

Q. I have just been made redundant from work and received a good redundancy package. Will this affect the benefits I can claim? I was employed for 14 years before being made redundant.

A. You will be entitled to claim Contributions Based Jobseekers Allowance if you are looking for work; this benefit is not means tested and your redundancy pay won’t be taken into account.

After six months the Jobseekers Allowance claim becomes means tested and any savings or other income you have is factored into the calculations.

Statutory Redundancy Pay is treated as savings, but any contractual redundancy pay is ignored for Jobseekers Allowance purposes. Holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice are also usually ignored.

Depending on your circumstances (for example you may have dependent children, a wife/husband/partner, etc.) you may also be entitled to means-tested benefits, for example a top-up of Universal Credit, and in this situation your redundancy payments will be taken into account.

In this situation you should get a full benefit check to maximise your potential income whilst seeking work.

Q. My son has recently moved out. He usually contributes towards my bills, so I am struggling on my current benefits.

I receive Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance, and my rent is covered by Housing Benefit. Is there anything else I should be claiming?

A. You may be entitled to additional Employment and Support Allowance if you meet the criteria for a Severe Disability Premium.

You must receive Personal Independence Payment for daily living (middle and high rate Disability Living Allowance also qualifies, as does Attendance Allowance), live alone or only with other people on one of these benefits and no one must be receiving Carer’s Allowance for looking after you.

A severe disability premium is an additional £64.30 per week in your Employment and Support Allowance calculations. Speak to your local Jobcentre Plus to apply for the extra premium.

Q. I am disabled and my wife is my carer. She has been looking for work or volunteer work and wanted to know if this would affect her Carer’s Allowance?

A. Carer’s Allowance is subject to an earnings limit (currently £120 per week), so your wife would not be paid any Carer’s Allowance for weeks in which she earns over that amount.

If you receive any means-tested benefits as a couple then they are likely to be affected by her wages.

Volunteering would not prevent your wife from claiming Carer’s Allowance, so long as she is still able to meet the requirement of providing 35 hours per week of care.