Working and your benefits
How much you earn and how many hours you work can affect your benefits.
Some benefits cover some of the extra costs of living if you’re sick or disabled. They are not affected by your income. These include:
If your work suggests your needs have changed, you could be re-assessed for these benefits.
Working disabled people tend to be better off claiming Working Tax Credit. You cannot re-claim ESA once you’re claiming Universal Credit. A change in your income or even a one-off payment can trigger a move onto Universal Credit, so you might be worse off.
Universal Credit is affected by how much you earn. It’s not affected by the number of hours that you work. For every £1 you earn above your work allowance (if you qualify for one), your Universal Credit payment will reduce by 63p. If you make a new claim for Universal Credit, you will not get your first payment for at least 5 weeks.
Universal Credit works in a different way if you’re self-employed.
Self-employment and Universal Credit (GOV.UK)
If your income changes, ask to see a housing advisor at your local council. Tell them that you have had a change of circumstances. They will need to see your pay slips.
If you do not tell your council that your income changes, this could mean that you get the wrong amount of Housing Benefit:
If you are overpaid Housing Benefit, you must repay this to the council.
If you are underpaid Housing Benefit, this could mean you do not have enough to cover your rent.
Working Tax Credit
You need to be working for at least 16 hours a week to qualify for Working Tax Credit and either:
- do not live in a Universal Credit area
- you and your partner qualify for Pension Credit
Working Tax Credit eligibility criteria (GOV.UK)
Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance
You cannot claim Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance if you work more than 16 hours a week.
Warning Accepting a job when you claim ESA
If you work 16 hours or more you will move onto Universal Credit and will not be able to claim ESA again. Consider carefully if it is worth working 16 hours or more.
Last reviewed by Scope on: 03/05/2018