Skip to main content

Will working affect my benefits?

We know that ione concern when looking to get into work is "how will this affect my benefits?". Below is some more information about disability benefits and how being in paid employment can affect them.

How much you earn and how many hours you work can affect your benefits. You can discuss this in more detail with your Disability Employment Advisor at the Job Centre.

When you start a new job:

Working 16 hours or more a week

If you are claiming ESA, working for more than 16 hours a week can leave you worse off depending on how much you earn.

Working for 16 hours or more a week may also mean that you’re not eligible for Income Support.

Calculate how working more might affect your income

Income Support and working 16 hours a week or more (entitledto)

Benefits covering extra costs of living

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:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

If your work suggests your needs have changed, you could be re-assessed for these benefits.

ESA and permitted work

You can earn up to £140 a week if:

  • you’re claiming ESA
  • you’re working for less than 16 hours a week
  • your work coach agrees that it’s permitted work

Employment and Support Allowance 

If you go over these permitted work limits, your ESA claim will stop. You may be able to claim other benefits.

Calculate how claiming different benefits could affect you

Universal Credit

If you are claiming Working Tax Credit, you will usually be better off. 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, 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.

Universal Credit 

Self-employment and Universal Credit (GOV.UK)

Housing Benefit

If your income changes, ask to see a housing adviser 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.

Housing Benefit 

Carer's Allowance

You can earn less than £128 a week and claim Carer's Allowance if you are caring for someone for 35 hours a week or more.

Carer’s Allowance Eligibility criteria (GOV.UK)