Q. I am a lunchtime assistant in a school and I receive a reduced wage all year round because I am off during all the school holidays.
I have just started receiving Working Tax Credit and I wanted to know if that would end during the six weeks holidays.
A. If you have a “recognisable work cycle” then you will be acknowledged as a working throughout the year, including during the school holidays. This means that your Working Tax Credit will be paid so long as you continue to work your normal term-time hours.
Q. I was claiming Employment and Support Allowance last year when I broke my arm, but I went back to work before I had any medical assessment.
I am off work again now as I have been diagnosed with COPD, but I have heard that you can’t claim Employment and Support Allowance again if you did not have a medical assessment. Is that right?
A. When you make a new claim for Employment and Support Allowance you are treated as having limited capability for work until you are seen by a Healthcare Professional at a Work Capability Assessment. If you failed to attend a medical appointment or you were found to be fit for work following a medical assessment then you would no longer be treated as having limited capability for work and any new claims could be refused unless you have a new or worsened condition.
In your case you were never found to be fit for work so you should have no difficulty in claiming again.
Q. I have taken a mortgage out on my property to release some money in order to help my daughter to buy a home for herself. The property is in my name as my daughter did not want me to lose the money I had put into the property. I am now out of work struggling to pay the mortgage on my property. I am claiming Contributions Based Jobseeker’s Allowance and they have explained that they cannot pay towards the mortgage as it wasn’t used to buy my house, which I understand.
But is there anything else I can claim to help with the mortgage or Council Tax?
A. Unfortunately, because you are now listed as the owner of an additional property, this will be seen as an asset which could be sold as a way of supporting yourself.
Any equity in the property will be treated as capital and will affect your ability to claim means tested benefits such as Council Tax Reduction. For people of working age, any capital over £6,000 would start to affect your entitlement to Council Tax Reduction and any capital over £16,000 would mean that you are no longer entitled to claim. For people over pension age, anything over £10,000 would affect your means tested benefits, but there is no set upper limit.