Employment and careers
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difference in work rules between ESA and UC

Jean EveleighJean Eveleigh Member Posts: 134 Pioneering
A Friend posted on Facebook about how she is struggling with work full time 20 hours a week while on UC.

We both have the same primary condition (Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) but have differing co-morbidities and she is actually much iller than me.

I asked her why she doesn't just reduce her hours to those she can manage and she said she's not allowed to on UC.

I am currently on ESA with all the premiums and allowed to work under the "permitter work at higher level" rules.  I work 4 hours per week and am not able to do any more without severely damaging my health.

She said that if/when I am migrated to UC I will have to increase my hours to the full-time 20pw or give up work completely as UC does not allow some work your either well enough to work or not there is no "limited capacity for therapeutic reasons" with the understanding you are never well enough to work enough to substantially support yourself - i.e. with UC it is all or nothing while under ESA any little bit you can do has benefit which is more than just financial (especially as they only allow you to keep  a portion of any salary you earn and then deduct it £ for £).

Is my friend correct if/when I am migrated onto UC I will have to stop working completely as I am not able to increase my hours due to my health?


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger

    The problem is with facebook is that alot  of people have no idea what they are talking about and i'm afraid your friend is no exception here. She's completely wrong.

    20 hours per week is not full time hours. If she doesn't have limited capability for work then depending on her circumstances should could be forced to work or look for work for at least 35 hours per week but it will depend on her claimant commitment.

    When claiming ESA there's permitted work, for UC there's a work allowance, which is very similar but how much your work allowance is will depend on your circumstances. If you claim the housing element then your work allowance will be £287 per month, if you don't claim the housing element then your work allowance will be £503. This means that you can earn that amount of money each month before you start to see deductions of 63p for every £1 over that amount.

    Limited capability for work under UC is the same as it is for ESA.

    To answer your question, when you do transfer across you will not have to increase your hours at all as long as you still have limited capability for work.
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,999

    Scope community team

    Hi @Jean Eveleigh
    Is your friend in the LCW or LCWRA group on Universal Credit (the UC version of ESA)? 
    If not, sure may want to look into it. If she is, then there is no set amount of hours she should work and she can drop to lower than 20.
    Community Manager
  • VOBVOB Member Posts: 45 Pioneering
    Universal credit us not about how many hours it's about how much pay you get. I do 20 and I get £9.00 universal credit a month
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