Opening up work

Universal Credit is ‘opening up work’ and allowing access to a wider range of jobs by:

  • helping make sure you’re always better off in work than on benefits
  • allowing part-time and short-term work to act as a stepping stone into work
  • providing you with support from a work coach to help you every step of the way
  • enabling you to work more than 16 hours a week and still claim Universal Credit
  • paying towards your childcare costs, giving you more flexible working hours

If you’re on a low income or out of work, Universal Credit helps you to find a job or increase the hours you work.

How Universal Credit works

Taking a job will always be worth your while – even if it’s just for a few hours a week or a temporary job – and there are no limits to the hours you can work.

When you start work or increase your hours, Universal Credit will top up your earnings each month. It will gradually reduce as your earnings increase. And if your job ends, it’s easy to start your Universal Credit payments again.

If you’re a parent, you can also claim up to 85% of childcare costs.

When you can claim Universal Credit

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages, so you may not be able to claim it just yet. When you make a new claim for benefit, such as if you become unemployed, we’ll tell you whether you can claim Universal Credit.

You don’t need to do anything if you’re already claiming benefits or tax credits. We’ll let you know at the right time if you need to claim Universal Credit instead.