Does Permitted Work Affect Housing Benefit?

Key Takeaways:

  • Permitted work refers to limited work allowed while receiving certain benefits.
  • Earnings from permitted work do not directly affect housing benefit claims.
  • But earnings from work in general can impact benefits like housing benefit.
  • It’s important to report earnings and get advice on how work affects your benefits.
  • The permitted work rules depend on the specific benefits being received.


Receiving government benefits can provide vital financial support when you are unable to work or your earnings are low. However, the eligibility requirements for benefits often limit how much you can work and earn. Permitted work refers to specific arrangements that allow benefit claimants to carry out certain work while continuing to receive benefits. But how does permitted work affect housing benefit claims?

This comprehensive guide will evaluate if and how permitted work impacts housing benefit eligibility. It covers key considerations on permitted work rules for major benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit. You’ll learn how to report earnings from permitted work and get advice to ensure your benefits are not reduced incorrectly. Read on to gain a detailed understanding of how permitted work arrangements affect housing benefit and other government benefits.

By fully understanding the ins and outs of permitted work, you can take advantage of allowable work opportunities without jeopardizing your essential benefit income. The in-depth information here aims to help you make informed choices when considering any type of work while claiming benefits. Let’s dive in to explore how permitted work does and does not impact housing benefit claims.

What is Permitted Work?

Permitted work refers to paid work that is allowed within certain limits for individuals who are receiving government benefits due to illness, disability or unemployment. The work must be approved under specific permitted work rules for the particular benefits being claimed.

Here are some key facts about permitted work:

  • It allows recipients of certain benefits to carry out some work with light duties and limited hours.
  • The earnings threshold and hours allowed vary based on the benefit.
  • All earnings from permitted work must be reported to the benefit authorities.
  • The work undertaken must not affect entitlement to the benefits being claimed.

Permitted work aims to support benefit claimants back into employment gradually while maintaining their financial support. However, normal full-time work generally affects eligibility for most benefits.

How Does Permitted Work Affect Housing Benefit?

Housing benefit provides financial assistance with rent payments to eligible low-income households in the UK. So how does permitted work impact housing benefit claims?

Permitted Work Earnings Don’t Affect Housing Benefit

The key point is that any earnings from permitted work do not directly affect housing benefit claims.

This means the housing benefit amount will not be reduced if you carry out permitted work within the allowed limits for your primary benefit claim, such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.

For example, Jane claims ESA and housing benefit. She takes on permitted work earning £120 a week. Her £500 monthly housing benefit payment is unaffected by these permitted work earnings.

So permitted work offers an opportunity to earn extra income without reductions to housing benefit. However, normal full-time work earnings would affect housing benefit eligibility.

Reporting Earnings from Permitted Work

While permitted work doesn’t directly reduce housing benefit, it’s essential to report all permitted work earnings. This ensures the authorities know you are keeping within the allowed limits.

You must inform:

  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if claiming ESA, Income Support or other DWP benefits
  • Your local council if claiming housing benefit
  • HM Revenue and Customs for tax purposes

Accurately reporting your permitted work earnings helps avoid any incorrect reductions to your benefits.

How Work Affects Benefits Overall

While permitted work itself doesn’t affect housing benefit, earnings from work can impact the benefits you receive in general.

If your total earnings from employment go above certain thresholds, your entitlement to benefits like housing benefit may be reduced or terminated. The limits vary based on your household circumstances.

So it’s important to carefully understand how both permitted and normal work earnings impact your overall benefits income. Seeking advice can help maximise your total income from work, benefits and tax credits.

Permitted Work Rules for ESA

The permitted work rules for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are:

  • Unlimited earnings from permitted work if you are in the ESA support group.
  • Earnings up to £143 per week from permitted work if you are in the ESA work-related activity group.

Any work must be approved by your work coach as permitted work. You need to report earnings, but permitted work under these limits will not affect your ESA.

If you claim housing benefit and council tax reduction along with ESA, you can keep all earnings from ESA-approved permitted work without any reductions to those benefits.

So permitted work offers ESA recipients a valuable opportunity to earn extra income. However, note that earnings above the thresholds, or work not approved as permitted, could affect your benefits.

Permitted Work Rules for Universal Credit

Universal Credit has replaced several old-style benefits for working-age people. Here are the key permitted work rules if you claim Universal Credit:

  • You can earn up to £583 per month from permitted work.
  • Any type of work can qualify as permitted work based on your circumstances.
  • All earnings must be reported online to the Universal Credit system.
  • Permitted work earnings are subject to a taper reduction at a rate of 63%

So if you earn £300 per month from permitted work while on Universal Credit, £189 would be deducted from your Universal Credit payment. The remaining £111 would be additional earnings you keep.

This shows how Universal Credit aims to incentivise work while tapering benefits. Getting advice can be very helpful when considering permitted work under Universal Credit.

How to Report Permitted Work Earnings

To avoid benefit problems, it is essential to report all earnings from permitted work straight away. Here is what to do:

  • Tell the DWP through your online journal or work coach for ESA or other DWP benefits.
  • Inform HMRC about taxable earnings if required.
  • Contact your council to report housing benefit earnings.
  • Report Universal Credit earnings through your online account.
  • Seek advice from Citizens Advice or welfare rights organisations to ensure accurate reporting.

Keeping proper records and reporting promptly will help verify you are complying with the benefit rules. Most problems stem from earnings not being reported correctly or on time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I do voluntary work while claiming housing benefit?

Yes, voluntary work where you only receive reasonable expenses does not affect housing benefit. But any earnings from paid voluntary work may affect your benefit eligibility depending on your circumstances.

What happens if I exceed the permitted work earnings limits?

If you go over the thresholds for permitted work, your main disability or unemployment benefit could be reduced or stopped. This could then impact claims for additional benefits like housing benefit.

Do I have to pay tax on earnings from permitted work?

Yes, permitted work earnings are taxable in the normal way. You may have to complete a self-assessment tax return and pay income tax depending on your situation.

Does permitted work affect PIP and DLA claims?

No, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are not means-tested. Any amount of permitted work earnings will not affect entitlement to those disability benefits.

Can I do full-time work while getting housing benefit?

Not usually. Full-time work would make you ineligible for housing benefit in most cases. Certain exceptions apply depending on your household income and circumstances.


In summary, permitted work allows individuals receiving certain benefits to undertake approved work within earnings limits. Importantly, permitted work itself does not directly affect housing benefit claims. However, total earnings from work can impact your benefit entitlements in general.

Carefully reporting permitted work earnings and seeking benefits advice helps maximize income. Permitted work provides an opportunity to work while maintaining essential support. But full awareness of the rules is vital to avoid potential problems or reductions. With the right understanding, permitted work can supplement benefits to provide a steady income stream.


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