check now to see if you can get tax credits

Check NOW if you're eligible for tax credits or risk losing £1,000s under benefits shake-up

More than a million people in England, Scotland and Wales who are eligible for – but don't currently claim – working or child tax credits should apply now or risk losing out under the incoming universal credit benefit system.

There are three main groups of people who may be eligible for working or child tax credits and who should check if they can claim (if in doubt though, check):

If you're a parent(s) and your household income's up to £47,000 (or up to £73,000 if you're paying for childcare).If you're in a couple, both working, and have household income under £18,000 even without children.If you're single, you don't have children, are working and earn under £13,000.

The reason for the urgency is the imminent roll-out of the new universal credit system. It's already in place for all single, unemployed people, and for everyone else there's a gradual roll-out in various areas of the country which will go on until June 2018.

Universal credit is a single benefit replacing the six existing social security payments

income support jobseeker's allowance employment and support allowance housing benefit child tax credit working tax credit

But while 2.2 million households are predicted to gain as a result of the shake-up, it's estimated some 3.2 million will be worse off, according to the Institute For Fiscal Studies.

'This is a no-lose scenario if you claim early'

As founder Martin Lewis explains, whatever scenario you're in, you should check now and claim early.

Martin says: "The golden rule is see if you're entitled to tax credits as early as possible – then it's a no-lose situation. If you're already claiming tax credits, and the universal credit payment will be lower, then transitional protections (in place until you have a change of circumstances) mean you still stick with the higher tax credit amount once universal credit is introduced, so you're not worse off.

"If you're claiming tax credits and universal credit turns out to be higher, you'll be able to move to the new higher payment – so you're better off. The only people who will lose out are those who'd get more on tax credits, but don't start their claim until universal credit has been introduced, in which case they'll get the new lower amount.

"So EVERYONE who thinks they're eligible should check now. And even if in your area universal credit will be rolled out later, well, you'll still have the tax credits coming in sooner so you'll have more cash."

Entitledto, a company which provides online benefits calculators, estimates that some benefits recipients could be around £50 per week worse off under universal credit.

You can use this two-minute calculator developed by Entitledto to work out whether you're eligible for tax credits, how much you might get, the last date to claim in your area and whether or not you would gain under universal credit based on your circumstances.

It’s worth noting just because your household income falls below the thresholds described above, it doesn't mean you'll definitely be eligible as many other variables determine this, including the number of hours you work each week. This is why you should check using the calculator above.


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