How your earnings affect your payments

If you’re employed, how much Universal Credit you get will depend on your earnings. Your Universal Credit payment will reduce gradually as you earn more - for every £1 you earn your payment reduces by 63p.

There’s no limit to how many hours you can work.

Use a benefits calculator to see how increasing your hours or starting a new job could affect what you get.

The work allowance

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

This is called a ‘work allowance’. Your work allowance is lower if you get help with housing costs.

Your circumstances Monthly work allowance
You get help with housing costs £198
You do not get help with housing costs £409


You have a child and get money for housing costs in your Universal Credit payment. You’re working and earn £500 during your assessment period.

Your work allowance is £198. This means you can earn £198 without any money being deducted.

For every £1 of the remaining £302 you get, 63p is taken from your Universal Credit payment. So £302 x £0.63 = £190.26.

This means you earn £500 and £190.26 is deducted from your Universal Credit.

If your payment stops because your earnings increased

As your income increases, your payment will reduce until you’re earning enough to no longer claim Universal Credit. Your payment will then be stopped. You’ll be told when this happens.

If your earnings decrease after this and you want to restart your Universal Credit payment, you’ll need to make a new Universal Credit claim online. You do this by signing in to your online account.

If you do not have an online account, call the Universal Credit helpline. You’ll be told if you can claim again.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm

Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Surplus earnings

If your monthly earnings are more than £2,500 over the amount where your payment stopped, this becomes ‘surplus earnings’.

Your surplus earnings will be carried forward to the following month, where they count towards your earnings. If your earnings (including your surplus earnings) are then still over the amount where your payment stops, you will not get a Universal Credit payment.

If your earnings fall below the amount where your payment stopped, your surplus will decrease. Once your surplus has gone, you’ll be able to get a Universal Credit payment again.

You’ll need to reclaim Universal Credit every month until your earnings have reduced enough to get another payment.

You can talk to your work coach for more information about surplus earnings.

If you have an online journal, the statement will show your work allowance and when the surplus reduces.

If you separate from your partner

If you’re part of a couple that claims Universal Credit together, any surplus earnings will be divided equally between you if you separate.

You’ll then need to re-apply individually, with your part of the surplus earnings counting towards your earnings.

If you’re a victim of domestic abuse you do not take on any surplus earnings from your partner. Talk to your work coach to make sure your partner’s surplus earnings are not divided between you.

If you’re self-employed

You can carry over a loss (as well as a surplus) to the following month. A loss will be deducted from your next month’s earnings.

  1. Step 1 Check if you're eligible

  2. Step 2 Create an account and make a claim

    You need an online account to claim Universal Credit.

    1. Set up an account and make a claim

    You must submit your claim within 28 days of creating your account.

    If you live with your partner, they will also need to set up an account. You'll be given a code to link the accounts together.

  3. and Find out how your claim is assessed

    You'll need to have an interview with Jobcentre Plus. You'll be told how to arrange this after you submit your claim. It will be within 10 working days.

    If you have a disability or health condition you may need a medical assessment. You'll be told if you need one after you claim.

    1. What to do if you have a health condition or disability
  4. Step 3 Apply for an advance on your first payment

    If you need help with bills or other costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply to get an advance.

    1. Get an advance on your first Universal Credit payment
    2. Check if you can get any other financial support
  5. Step 4 Attend your interview

  6. Step 5 Get your first payment

    You’ll get your first payment 5 weeks after you claim. Your account will be updated to tell you how much it will be.

    1. What to do if you disagree with the decision
  7. Step 6 Follow your agreement and report any change of circumstances

    You must keep to the Claimant Commitment you agreed at your interview. If you do not, your payments could stop.

    You must also update your account if your circumstances change to get the right payment.

    1. How to report a change in circumstances
    2. What to do if your payments are stopped