5 February 2019
New claims for tax credits
Now that Universal Credit full service is available across the UK, most people can no longer make a brand new claim for tax credits. However, there are some exceptions to that rule.
Until recently, the exceptions included claimants with more than 2 children who were unable to claim Universal Credit (UC). From 1 February 2019, that exception no longer applies and claimants with more than 2 children will need to claim UC instead (unless they fall into one of the two new exceptions groups).
One of the other exceptions included claimants who had reached their state pension credit qualifying age (or in the case of a couple, where at least one member of the couple has reached their state pension credit qualifying age – ‘mixed age’ couples).
This exception was also removed from 1 February 2019.
This now means that claimants who have reached their state pension credit qualifying age (both claimants in a joint claim) can no longer make a brand new claim for tax credits and will be expected to claim pension credit for support. Mixed-age couples, where one member of the couple has reached their state pension credit qualifying age and the other has not, can choose whether to claim UC or pension credit until 15 May 2019. From that date they can only claim UC.
From 1 February, ‘frontier workers’ are not permitted to claim UC and are allowed to claim tax credits (and other legacy benefits being replaced by UC). Frontier workers are defined in the legislation as ‘a person, other than a person referred to in sub-paragraph (b) (Crown Servants or member of HM Armed forces posted overseas), who is in GB (equivalent rules in Northern Ireland) for the purposes of Article 9(1)(c) of the Order but who does not reside in Great Britain (or Northern Ireland).
People who receive a severe disability premium (SDP) with certain existing benefits (or have received such a premium in the past month) are not able to make a claim for UC from 16 January 2019 and instead continue to claim legacy benefits, including tax credits, until further notice.
Renewing an existing tax credit claim or adding WTC to a CTC claim (or vice versa) does not count as a brand new claim. The recent changes are quite complex and we will be providing more detailed information on our website pages over the coming week.
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