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
- have a disability or health condition that affects your ability to work
This is called a ‘Work Allowance’. You will keep 45p 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.
|Your Circumstances||Work Allowance|
|You get help with housing costs||£379 per month|
|You don't get help with housing costs||£631 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 £631. This means you can earn £631 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, contact your Universal Credit online account or phone the Universal Credit Service Centre. Messages to your online account will be answered as soon as possible during business hours.
Your employer is required to give details of your earnings on or before the date you are paid.
If your employer continually reports your earnings late or incorrectly, speak with your work coach who can let you know what options are available to you.
If you disagree with the information used to calculate your earned income, contact your work coach, who will ask you to provide supporting evidence, such as wage slips/ bank statements for the period you are disputing.
The information and reasons provided will be considered and checked against the information received from your employer.
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 45p 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.
If your payment stops because your earnings increased
As your or your partner’s income increases, your payments will reduce until you’re earning enough to no longer claim Universal Credit. Your payments will then be stopped. You’ll be told when this happens.
If your or your partner’s income decreases after this, you could become eligible for Universal Credit again. If it’s been 6 months or less since your last Universal Credit payment, you’ll automatically start getting payments again. If it’s been more than 6 months, you’ll need to reapply for Universal Credit.
Help and Support
If you would like independent help and advice on Universal Credit or any other benefit, you can visit any independent advice office or contact: