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How much you can earn on Universal Credit

You should be better off as you earn more when you’re receiving Universal Credit.

Use the Turn2us benefits calculator to find out what you can claim.

Earning money

You should still be better off as you earn more. For every £1 you earn, you should be better off by:

  • £1, if you’re earning under your ‘work allowance’
  • 45p if you’re earning more than your work allowance or you do not have a work allowance

Work allowance

Your work allowance is the maximum you can earn before your Universal Credit is reduced.

Universal Credit: Work allowance (GOV.UK)

You can get a work allowance if the DWP decides that you have ‘limited capability for work’ after a Work Capability Assessment.

You can also get a work allowance if you’re responsible for a child.

The tax office updates the DWP about your earnings

If your pay rise means that you no longer qualify for Universal Credit, you do not need to sign off.

If your earnings reduce within 6 months, your claim will still be live and you’ll start receiving Universal Credit again.

For example, you are claiming Universal Credit and then:

  • you earn more in December, so you did not qualify for Universal Credit that month
  • you earn less in January, and start receiving Universal Credit again

When your income or life changes

If you’re claiming benefits, contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

If you are getting Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support), contact your local council (GOV.UK)

If you already report your earnings to Universal Credit, you will need to report changes in your life to the DWP. These are called ‘change in circumstances’ which include:

  • starting a new job
  • stopping work
  • having a child
  • a partner starts living with you
  • a partner stops living with you
  • starting or stopping being a carer
  • moving house

Other benefits

You may also be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This is not linked to your income.

What you earn does not affect:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance (only if you have reached State Pension age)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payments (instead of PIP)
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance (if you became disabled after getting injured at work or fighting in the armed forces)

Other benefits may stop or reduce if you earn more or work more hours.

Getting advice

If you need advice about how accepting a pay rise that could affect your benefits, call Scope’s helpline on 0808 800 3333.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 11/04/2022

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