Work Capability Assessment
You will usually have a Work Capability Assessment. This is to find out if your condition affects your ability to work. You will need to fill in a form about how your condition affects you. You may also have a medical assessment.
Work Capability Assessment (Disability Rights UK)
Depending on how your condition affects you, the DWP assessor decides what you must do to claim Universal Credit.
You can go into 1 of 3 ‘activity groups’:
Limited capability for work and work-related activity
You do not have to work or prepare for work.
Limited capability for work
You do not have to work, but you must do some regular tasks to get ready for work, such as meeting your Work Coach or training.
Fit for work
You must do regular tasks to get ready for work and be looking for work 35 hours a week.
Starting work and pay rises
You can work and claim Universal Credit. You must contact the DWP if you start a new job.
As you earn more, your Universal Credit reduces but you should still be better off.
You may keep more of what you earn if you or your partner have limited capability for work.
Pay rises and benefits Probation periods Contact Jobcentre Plus to tell them when you start working.
If your job is affecting your health, get advice from your doctor and send evidence to your Work Coach.
Talk to your Work Coach if you do not pass your probation period.
You may lose benefits if your employer dismisses you.
Your Work Coach may ask you to prove that your work is useful and productive. They call this 'gainful' employment.
They'll probably ask about your:
clients suppliers appointments business plan
You might not have to do this if the DWP says that you do not need to look for work.
Self-employment and benefits Zero-hour contracts
Zero-hour contracts and unpredictable work can affect other income-related benefits, like Housing Benefit. You will need to provide pay slips so that the council can work out your average wage.
Zero-hour contracts Finishing work due to ill health
If you resign and the DWP does not think you had a good reason, they could cut or reduce your benefits. Get written evidence to show that stopping work was not your choice. This could be a letter or email.
You may be able to claim Universal Credit and other benefits if you are made redundant.
Redundancy and your rights Could reasonable adjustments help?
Your employer should work with you to find reasonable adjustments that could support you to keep working. This could include equipment or a change in duties.
There is no set definition of what is ‘reasonable’. It depends on:
your job your employer your condition
If your employer does not work with you to find reasonable adjustments, this could be discrimination.
Disability discrimination at work Students claiming Universal Credit
The rules for students are complicated. Get advice before you start studying.
Call the Disability Rights UK Students Helpline to get advice Apply for other benefits as soon as you can
You can only claim Universal Credit as a student if all of the following apply:
You have applied for New Style Employment and Support Allowance (NESA), and have a Work Capability Assessment that says you have limited capability for work. You receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or another disability benefit.
A claim for NESA can take more than 4 months. Claim NESA as soon as you can.
How to claim 'new style' Employment and Support Allowance (GOV.UK)
If you think you may be eligible, apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Student finance, loans and scholarships
Your student income can affect how much Universal Credit you receive. Student income includes:
student maintenance loans student grants scholarships from a college or university for anything that is not travel costs, books, equipment or childcare bursaries, like a teacher training bursary
Loans for tuition fees do not affect your student income or the Universal Credit you receive.
How student finance affects your benefits Change in circumstances
You will move on to Universal Credit if all of the following apply:
you are claiming an older legacy benefit that Universal Credit replaces you have what the DWP calls a “change in circumstances” Older 'legacy benefits’ that Universal Credit is replacing
Universal Credit is replacing 6 benefits. The DWP calls these legacy benefits:
Housing Benefit income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) Child Tax Credits (CTC) Working Tax Credits (WTC) Income Support Warning Starting a new job and other ‘changes in circumstances’
If you have what the DWP calls a ‘change in circumstances’, you may move on to Universal Credit automatically. If this happens, you would not be able to re-claim any legacy benefits.
Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to choose if you move onto Universal Credit.
Ask your Work Coach if you’re not sure.
Examples of change in circumstances
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 Universal Credit triggers (entitledto)
Last reviewed by Scope on:
Was this page helpful?