Everything You Should Know About the 2012 Working Tax Credit Changes

If you claim or want to claim Working Tax Credit, the rules changed in April 2012.  Many people who previously qualified for the credit can no longer claim whilst other people may have experienced cuts to their Working Tax Credit.

Our guide is designed to help you to understand the recent changes.  Keep reading for everything you need to know about the current Working Tax Credit rules.

The number of hours you have to work

Before April 2012 you could claim Working Tax Credit if you worked at least 16 hours per week and you were responsible for at least one child.  However, from 6 April 2012, the rules have changed.

Now, if you’re not responsible for children and are aged 25 or over, you have to do at least 30 hours paid work per week to claim.  If you have a disability and are aged 16 or over, or if you are aged 60 or over, you must do at least 16 hours of paid work per week.

If you are responsible for children, you have to do at least 16 hours of paid work per week if you are single.  If you’re in a couple your must work at least 24 hours per week between you, with one of you working at least 16 hours per week.

For example, if you’re in a couple and only one of you works, that person must work for at least 24 hours per week.

You’ll also continue to qualify for Working Tax Credit if you are in a couple where one of you works 16 hours or more, and the other:

  • is in prison or remanded in custody awaiting trial or sentence
  • receives certain benefits due to ill health (such as Disability Living Allowance)
  • is a hospital in-patient


If your hours of work do fall, you are obliged to tell the Tax Credit Office within one month of your circumstances changing.  You should also get in touch with the Tax Credit Office within one month if:


  • you or your partner were working at least 30 hours a week, and your hours have dropped to less than 30 hours a week
  • you are in a couple with children, and your joint working hours drop to less than 30 hours a week

The rules relating to updating your information have also changed

Before April 2012, if a change in your circumstances resulted in your tax credit payments going up, you would usually get the higher amount backdated for up to three months. However, this also changed in April 2012.

From 6 April 2012, the ‘backdating’ period reduced to one month. If you report a change that means your payments go up, the higher amount will only be backdated by up to one month.  So, you should report any changes as soon as you can.


  1. sandra brown says:

    I’m single and live alone I wrk 24 hrs a week. Can I claim working tax credits I don’t have no cildren. Could u please let me know thanks

  2. sam says:

    i am going to working 40 hr as a couple do i still claim for tax credits

  3. Julie Masterson says:

    If i work 19 hrs per week & my husband receives DLA am i entitled to WTC & CTC?
    Please help.
    Thank you.

  4. Emma Collins says:

    I’m a bit confused about how many working hours a couple with children have to work. My husband works 16 hours and I work 10 hours. As we work over 24 hours between us, we should still be able to claim Working Tax Credit?

    • NickP says:

      Emma – thanks for your question.

      While couples now have to work for a minimum of 24 hours per week in total, one of you has to work at least 16 hours per week. So, as your husband works 16 hours per week and you work over 24 hours in total, you should be able to claim.

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