3. Eligibility

Eligibility depends on your age and how many hours of paid work you do a week. Your income and circumstances will also affect how much you get.

Use the tax credits questionnaire to check if you qualify.

You can’t claim tax credits and Universal Credit at the same time.

Your age

You must be 16 or over to qualify. You must be 25 or over if you don’t have children or you don’t have a disability.

Hours you work

You must work a certain number of hours a week to qualify.

Circumstance Hours a week
Aged 25 to 59 At least 30 hours
Aged 60 or over At least 16 hours
Disabled At least 16 hours
Single with 1 or more children At least 16 hours
Couple with 1 or more children Usually, at least 24 hours between you (with 1 of you working at least 16 hours)

A child is someone who is under 16 (or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training).

Use the tax credits calculator to check if you work the right number of hours.

You can still apply for Working Tax Credit if you’re on leave.

Exceptions for couples with at least one child

You can claim if you work less than 24 hours a week between you and one of the following applies:

  • you work at least 16 hours a week and you’re disabled or aged 60 or above
  • you work at least 16 hours a week and your partner is incapacitated (getting certain benefits because of disability or ill health), is entitled to Carer’s Allowance, or is in hospital or prison

What counts as work

Your work can be:

If you’re self-employed

Some self-employed people are not eligible for Working Tax Credit. To qualify, your self-employed work must aim to make a profit. It must also be commercial, regular and organised.

This means you may not qualify if you don’t:

  • make a profit or have clear plans to make one
  • work regularly
  • keep business records, eg receipts and invoices
  • follow any regulations that apply to your work, eg having the right licence or insurance

If the average hourly profit from your self-employed work is less than the National Minimum Wage, the Tax Credit Office may ask you to provide:

  • business records
  • your business plan - find out how to write a business plan
  • details of the day-to-day running of your business
  • evidence that you’ve promoted your business, eg advertisements, flyers

Your pay

The work must last at least 4 weeks (or you must expect it to last 4 weeks) and must be paid.

This can include payment in kind (eg farm produce for a farm labourer) or where you expect to be paid for the work.


Paid work does not include money paid:

Your income

There’s no set limit for income because it depends on your circumstances (and those of your partner). For example, £18,000 for a couple without children or £13,100 for a single person without children - but it can be higher if you have children, pay for approved childcare or one of you is disabled.