factchecking myths and misconceptions about universal credit

“If I get work I won’t have to do any more work search”

The short answer:

Not always true ... you may still need to fulfil work-related requirements depending on how much you earn

If you get work after looking for work on universal credit, you won’t have to meet any more work-related requirements in your claimant commitment if you earn an amount equal to your personal conditionality earnings threshold (or joint threshold for couples). This is usually set at a level equal to 35 hours earning the national minimum wage, but may be lower depending on your circumstances.

If you earn below your conditionality earnings threshold, work-related requirements may be placed on you. What is expected of you will depend on the level of your earnings. If you earn above the level that jobseeker’s allowance would be paid (known as the administrative earnings threshold), you will not have to comply with work search and work availability requirements.

At some point in the future you may also be required to comply with in-work conditionality - whereby the DWP requires you to look for and take on additional work if your current earnings are not high enough. A pilot scheme testing the process ended in March 2018 and is currently being evaluated.

Tip: Even if you still have work-related requirements placed on you when working, remember you can still request that these are switched off if your circumstances mean it is difficult for you to meet them.


Law and case law:

Regulation 90 and 99(6) of the Universal Credit Regulation 2013 provide for the way that the conditionality earnings threshold and the administrative earnings thresholds are calculated.

Regulation 99 also provides for the circumstances in which requirements must not be imposed.


Official guidance:

Working enough regime (last updated April 2017) from the House of Commons library provides guidance on the conditionality earnings threshold.

Paragraphs J2080 to J2104, chapter J2 Advice for Decision Makers sets out how conditionality earnings thresholds are worked out.

Administrative earnings thresholds are explained at paragraph J3233, chapter J3 Advice for Decision Makers.

In work progression randomised control trial (last updated March 2017) from the House of Commons library.

Need more help?

If you need help in finding out more about your rights and the options available to you, do consider contacting a local independent advice organisation. 

Enter a postcode on our advicelocal site to find details of advice organisations in your area. They will usually be able to offer free advice and support, and help to answer any questions you have.

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