Universal Credit if you're employed

You can get Universal Credit if you are over 18, under State Pension age and on a low income.

If you are working

Universal Credit does not limit the number of hours you can work, and your payments will go down as you earn more. You will be able to take temporary jobs without having to make a new claim, and Universal Credit will support you when you are between jobs.

To get Universal Credit you must do everything you can to find work or increase your earnings.  The things you need to do will be included in Your Commitment

How Universal Credit is calculated if you are working

The amount of Universal Credit you get will be based on your circumstances, including your income and how many children you have.  Your Universal Credit payments will reduce as you earn more.

You can earn a certain amount before your Universal Credit payments are reduced, if you or your partner:

  • are responsible for a child or young person or
  • have a disability or health condition that affects your ability to work

This is called a ‘Work Allowance’. You will keep 37p of every £1 you earn above your Work Allowance.  Your Work Allowance will be lower if your Universal Credit payment includes help with housing costs.

Work Allowance
Your Circumstances Work Allowance
You get help with housing costs £293 per month
You don't get help with housing costs £515 per month

For example, if you have a disability or you are living in temporary supported accommodation and you do not receive help or support with your housing costs from Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, your Work Allowance will be £515. This means you can earn £515 before your Universal Credit payments start to be reduced.

How often you are paid can affect your Universal Credit

Your Universal Credit payment is based on your earnings in an Assessment Period, which is one calendar month. The first Assessment Period starts when you make your Universal Credit claim.  Your Universal Credit is calculated at the end of each Assessment Period.

If you’re paid weekly, fortnightly, or every four weeks

  • If you’re paid every four weeks – once a year, you’ll get two sets of wages in one assessment period
  • If you’re paid every two weeks – twice a year, you’ll get three sets of wages in one assessment period
  • If you’re paid every week – four times a year, you’ll get five sets of wages in one assessment period

If this happens, your earnings might be too high for you to get Universal Credit for that assessment period. You will be told if your wages are too high for Universal Credit for that assessment period and if you’ll need to reapply to continue to get Universal Credit.

If you are paid monthly, there may be times when you receive two payments of your wages in a Universal Credit assessment period.  If this happens, please contact us through your Universal Credit online account or by phoning the Universal Credit Service Centre. Messages to your online account will be answered as soon as possible during business hours.

Reduced Universal Credit payments if you work

Your Universal Credit payments will reduce as you earn more, and increase again if you stop working or your earnings go down. With Universal Credit you will keep 37p of each £1 you earn until your earnings are too high to get Universal Credit.

Use a benefits calculator to see how starting a job or increasing your earnings would affect your benefits. 

When using a benefits calculator it is important that you enter your information correctly to get an estimate of what benefits you may be entitled to.  You should seek independent advice before you make the decision to change your benefits.

If you get Universal Credit and then start work, you need to tell Universal Credit who your employer is to make sure you get the right amount.

What happens if you earn too much

Once you earn too much your claim will close. Universal Credit will tell you if your claim is being closed. 

If your circumstances change and you want to claim Universal Credit again claim online within six months of your last claim ending.

If you need to go back on Universal Credit more than six months after your last claim ended, you will need to make a new claim.

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