This blog post aims to help in answering the question of how much you can claim through Universal Credit payments if you work 16 hours a week. For a deeper perspective, we will also discuss the other benefits you can claim if you work 16 hours a week; as well as review how much one can earn to remain eligible for Universal Credit.

How Much Universal Credit Will I Get If I Work 16 Hours A Week?

The amount that you can claim through Universal Credit if you work 16 hours a week, does not solely depend on your working hours but there are also other factors to be taken into account. This means that you can get Universal Credit according to the following personal circumstances (that do not take your working hours into account):

  • if you are single and under 25 years of age, you can claim £265.31 every month
  • if you are single and 25 years of age or older, you can claim £334.91 every month
  • if you are living with a partner and both of you are under 25 years of age, you can claim £416.45 every month
  • if you are living with a partner and one of you or both of you are over 25 years of age, you can claim £525.72 every month

However, these are only the standard rates that apply to your Universal Credit claim depending on your circumstances. There are added elements that can be claimed depending on your situation, income and expenses. 

For instance, if you have to cover any of the following costs, you can claim additional amounts on top of the standard amount you claim for Universal Credit: 

  • housing costs 
  • children’s expense
  • childcare payments
  • taking care of someone
  • having a serious health condition or disability
  • previously claiming a disability premium

However, claimants must keep in mind that their Universal Credit payments are not directly affected by the number of hours they work. It is the claimant’s income that will affect their work allowance such that as income increases beyond the threshold of the work allowance, Universal Credit payments start to decrease.

What Added Elements Can I Claim For Universal Credit If I Work 16 Hours A Week?

Different elements can be added to your standard claim for Universal Credit if you work 16 hours a week. These include the following:

  • If you need support for taking care of your children, you can claim £244.58 per child. In the case of a disabled child, this amount can increase if you claim Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment for your child. If you are a working parent and need help with the costs of childcare, you can claim £646.35 for one child and £1108.04 for two or more children.
  • If you claim Universal Credit and are also taking care of someone else, you can get an additional amount of £168.81.
  • If you have been classed as having limited capability for work due to a health condition or severe disability, you can claim an additional amount that ranges between £132.89 and £354.28.
  • If you need help with housing costs such as rent or mortgage, you can claim the housing element of Universal Credit. The amount that you can claim depends on the Local Housing Allowance in your area.

What Other Benefits Can I Claim If I Work 16 Hours A Week?

In addition to Universal Credit, you can claim the following benefits if you work 16 hours a week:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Working Tax Credits

If you are claiming Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can only work 16 hours or less per week so that you can continue claiming these benefits. If your working hours increase, you will no longer remain qualified for these benefits. However, if you are unable to claim Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can check if you are eligible for Working Tax Credits.

If you claim disability benefits such as the following, your claim will not be affected if you work 16 hours a week:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment

How Much Can I Earn If I Work 16 Hours A Week And Claim Universal Credit?

You can earn a low income if you work 16 hours a week and claim Universal Credit as long as your savings or capital are below the £16,000 threshold. 

Low income is defined as earnings that are at least 60% more than the median income within a given period. According to statistics, the median income of the UK in August 2022 was £2,111 per month. This means that as long as a claimant earns less than 60% of this amount; which comes to £1,266, they can claim Universal Credit.

If you earn £2,500 more than the low-income threshold, you are said to have “surplus earnings”. These earnings can reduce your future payments of Universal Credit.

Generally speaking, as a claimant’s savings or capital increase from the minimum floor limit of £6,000, their Universal Credit payments will start to reduce.

How Can Benefits Remain Unaffected If I Work 16 Hours A Week?

If you fall into any of the below categories, you can claim benefits and continue working for 16 hours or more:

  • carers
  • disabled people on a low income
  • foster parents
  • local councillors 
  • on certain training schemes
  • living in residential care or a nursing home
  • self-employed childminder
  • special occupations (such as. lifeboatmen, part-time firemen, Territorial Army, Volunteer Reserves and coastguards)
  • volunteers

Conclusion:

The discussion in this blog post has made it clear that your Universal Credit payments are not directly affected by your working hours and are rather affected by your income and capital. This means that if you work 16 hours a week, your Universal Credit payments will depend on your marital status, your income and savings and your age to determine your standard allowance. Then there are added elements that serve as incremental amounts to support individuals with a health condition or disability or those who struggle to meet their housing or child care costs.

References:

Universal Credit work allowances – GOV.UK

Check how much Universal Credit you’ll get – Citizens Advice

Understanding Universal Credit – How earnings affect Universal Credit

Understanding Universal Credit – How much Universal Credit can I get?