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Money saving

Maximise your income by checking which benefits you’re entitled to

Posted 14 July 2017

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Our benefits calculator is a great way to make sure you’re maximising your income. Read on to find out more.

Making sure you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to is all part of good money management. It’s important to check this now more than ever, as Universal Credit will soon change the amount you could be entitled to in tax credits.

Our benefits calculator

Not sure what benefits you should be claiming, or if you could be getting more? Worry no more, we’ve worked with the experts in this field – EntitledTo – to bring you a handy benefits calculator that’s free and super easy to use and will point you in the right direction.

You just need to fill in a few personal details - like whether you’re single or in a couple, your current income, if you have any children under 20 and whether anyone else lives in your home, like a relative or lodger –  so that the calculator can deliver results that are tailored for you. It’s definitely worth checking as it’s a very quick and simple process and you could end up with more money in your pocket each month.

Another good reason to check your entitlement now is because of the new benefit system the Government is introducing between now and 2018. Universal Credit will combine Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance.

When it comes to tax credits, how much you’ll get depends on whether you apply before or after this new system comes in. If you apply after Universal Credit comes into force, the amount you get will be cut. However, if you apply beforehand you’ll get the higher rate – and once you start on the higher rate it won’t be cut when Universal Credit starts. If you’re already claiming this benefit then you’ll stay on the higher rate as well.

You’ll find lots of other useful links on our calculator page as well, like how to work out your housing status, and the dates that each separate type of benefit will change.

How do tax credits work?

The tax credits system can seem complicated, so we’ve done our best to explain how they work. There are two types available: Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Working Tax Credit is there to help those on lower incomes. If you’re wondering what counts as ‘low’ £18,000 is the threshold – if you earn under this amount you might be eligible.

Child Tax Credit is there to help parents or guardians of children who are either under 16, or under 20 and still in full-time education. The amount you get depends on your circumstances, for instance, how many children you have living with you and whether any of them are disabled.

So what’s stopping you? Make sure you have a look at the calculator and find out whether there’s a benefit out there that could make things easier for you and your family financially. 

 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.