Better Off In Work

A key feature of Universal Credit is that it promises to ensure you’re better off in work. If you have dependent children living with you, anything you earn up to £192 or £397 (depending on whether you are claiming Housing Benefit) is yours to keep over and above your UC payments. After that, you lose 63p for every pound you earn as it is deducted from UC. If you don’t have children, for every pound you earn 67p is deducted from UC but it means you should always be better off when you work.

This is particularly good news if you’ve been hit by the spare room subsidy rules. If that were costing you, say, £14 a week, and if you don’t have kids at home, by taking a few hours’ work and earning £38, you’ll cover the Bedroom Tax at least. It’s complex but it should work for everyone.

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Getting All You’re Worth

All claimants moving onto UC should do an online benefit checker and also a ‘better off calculator’ to look at how getting some paid work would affect things. Remember, UC replaces six of the biggest benefits but others are still claimed separately, such as Child Benefit and Council Tax Reduction (or support). Go to www.turn2us.org.uk

How is it worked out?
A computer system will take into account all your circumstances and come up with what the Government believes to be a fair amount for you to receive. It should be similar to any money you are getting now.

Direct payments
Universal Credit will be paid directly to you monthly, probably in arrears. So if you’re used to getting your housing benefit paid directly to your landlord, you’ll have to make new arrangements to make sure your rent is paid. See our Direct payments page.