-A A +A
Select color visibility that suits you Basic theme Dark theme Darker theme Text only

Tax credits - extra money due to disability

Make a donation and support this factsheet

Disability Rights UK Factsheet F10

1. Introduction

Both working tax credit and child tax credit can include additional amounts due to disability, which can increase the amount of your award.

2. Working tax credit – the ‘disabled worker element’

This element is an important one for disabled people. In addition to working at least 16 hours a week, you have to meet a ‘disability test’ and be getting (or have recently got) a ‘qualifying benefit’. If you are one of a couple, it is the working partner who has to meet these tests.

The ‘disability’ test:

To get the disabled worker element, you must have a ‘physical or mental disability which puts [you] at a disadvantage in getting a job’. The notes in the tax credits claim form (TC600 Notes) explain what this means. You can get these from the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Helpline (see ‘Where can I get more help or information?’ below) or you can download a copy at www.gov.uk/government/publications/tax-credits-getting-your-claim-form-right-tc600-notes.

The ‘qualifying benefit’ test:

To get the disabled worker element, you must also meet one of the following conditions.

Condition A - At any time in the last 26 weeks before you claim working tax credit, you were getting incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance (SDA), employment and support allowance (ESA) or national insurance credits due to your limited capability for work. In the case of ESA and limited capability for work credits, you must have been entitled to it for at least 28 weeks – including linked periods and periods on statutory sick pay (SSP).

Condition B - At any time in the last 26 weeks before you claim working tax credit, you were getting the disability premium or higher pensioner premium in income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or housing benefit.

Condition C - You get disability living allowance (DLA), attendance allowance (or an Industrial Injuries or War Pensions scheme equivalent), personal independence payment (PIP) or armed forces independence payment. You can only get the disabled worker element while you are entitled to one of these benefits.

Condition D - On the date of your claim, and throughout your claim, you have a Motability car.

Condition E: the ‘Fast Track’ - This is known as the ‘Fast Track’ because it enables people who have been off work for a while to return to work without having to have been either off sick for six months or be on DLA etc (as in Conditions A to D). The ‘Fast Track’ rules are that –

  • at the date of claim

- you have a disability likely to last at least six months (or for the rest of your life if your death is expected within six months); and

- your gross earnings are less than they were before your disability began, by at least 20% or £15 a week, whichever is greater; and

  • at any time in the last eight weeks before you claim, you had been getting, for at least 20 weeks:

- ESA, SSP, occupational sick pay, incapacity benefit or income support paid on the basis of incapacity; or

- national insurance contribution credits on the basis that you were incapable of work or had a limited capability for work.

Condition F - At any time in the last eight weeks before you claim working tax credit you:

  • had been taking part in training for work (which means certain government training courses or a course of 16 hours or more a week learning occupational or vocational skills); and
  • within the eight weeks before the start of the training course, you had been getting one of the benefits or credits listed under Condition A.

Condition G – This is an important one, as it can enable you to continue to get the disabled worker element long after you stopped getting a qualifying benefit. You will be treated as qualifying for the disabled worker element if, within the eight weeks before you make your claim (including renewal claims), you were entitled to the disabled worker element by virtue of Condition A, B, E or F. For example, if you move off ESA into work, you’ll not only get the disabled worker element in the first tax year that you are on working tax credit, but you’ll continue to get it in subsequent tax years when you renew your working tax credit. This is because you’ll always count as someone who was on a qualifying benefit when you moved into work. On the other hand, if you got the disabled worker element because you met Condition C or D, you need to continue to meet condition C or D when you renew your claim. For example, if you get the disabled worker element because you are on DLA, it will stop if your DLA stops.

3. Working tax credit – the ‘severe disability element’

This element is different to the disabled worker element. You can get this even if you don’t qualify for the disabled worker element. If you are one of a couple, there is no requirement that the disabled person must work to get this element, so if the worker has a partner who doesn’t work but meets the condition below, the couple will get the severe disability element. To qualify, the claimant (or their partner) must receive one of the following disability benefits:

  • the highest rate care component of DLA:
  • the higher rate of attendance allowance;
  • the enhanced rate daily living component of PIP; or
  • armed forces independence payment.

If you are one of a couple and both of you meet the conditions, you can get two severe disability elements included in your working tax credit.

Working tax credit – the hours rules

As outlined in our Factsheet F9 - a guide to tax credits, if you are one of a couple and have children, you must normally work at least 24 hours a week between the two of you, with one of you working at least 16 hours a week. But this does not apply if:

  • you, or your partner, are working at least 16 hours a week and qualify for the disabled worker element; or
  • you, or your partner, are working at least 16 hours a week and the other partner is entitled to carer’s allowance or getting certain disability benefits (eg DLA or PIP).

4. Child tax credit – the disabled child element

The ‘disabled child element’ is payable at two different rates: the ‘severely disabled child rate’ and the ‘disabled child rate’.

The severely disabled child rate

A child or young person qualifies for the severely disabled child rate if they get:

  • DLA highest rate care component;
  • PIP enhanced rate daily living component; or
  • armed forces independence payment.

The disabled child rate

A child or young person qualifies for the disabled child rate if they:

  • get any other rate of DLA or PIP; or
  • are certified by a consultant opthalmologist as severely sight impaired or blind (or have ceased to be so certified within 28 weeks of the child tax credit claim being made).

5. Backdating

New claims

New claims for tax credits can normally be backdated for up to 31 days. Longer backdating is not possible for child tax credit claims. For new claims, working tax credit can be backdated for more than 31 days if entitlement is dependent on a disabled worker element being included in the calculation. If you claim working tax credit within 31 days of the decision to award a qualifying benefit for this element, the claim can be backdated to the date on which the qualifying benefit became payable or, if later, the first day on which your eligibility for working tax credit was dependent on receipt of the qualifying benefit. You must meet all the other conditions for working tax credit throughout this backdated period.

Existing claims – backdating elements

For existing claims, the disabled worker and severe disability elements of working tax credit and the disabled child element of child tax credit can be backdated for more than one month if you inform HMRC within one month of the decision to award a qualifying disability benefit.

6. Where can I get more help or information?

This factsheet is a basic overview of the extra tax credits that you can get due to your disability. You can find out more detailed information in our Disability Rights Handbook. This and all our other publications are available from our shop at https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/shop

See also our Guide to Tax Credits

You can also place orders by contacting Disability Rights UK.

You can get help and information at your local advice centre, such as Citizens Advice.

You can get more information about where to get personal advice from our Factsheet F15 - Getting advice. All our factsheets are free to download on our website at disabilityrightsuk.org.

You might also find Factsheet F9 - a guide to tax credits useful. You can contact HMRC helpline: Telephone 0345 300 3900 or textphone 0345 300 3905.

9 May 2018