Surplus Earnings Rule

Surplus earnings rule means that sometimes your Universal Credit is affected by income you had in earlier months.


Surplus Earnings Rule

Your earnings from previous months can affect your Universal Credit payment. If you earn more than £2,500 over the amount you can earn before your Universal Credit claim is stopped, you are said to have surplus earnings.  

Your surplus earnings will be taken into account in the next monthly assessment period. This may lower the amount of Universal Credit you get, or you won't get any payment that month. You can use our Benefits Calculator to check whether your earnings in a month will mean you won’t receive any Universal Credit payment that month. 

If your earnings go down, your surplus will decrease. Once your surplus has gone or 6 months after the original surplus was created (whichever is earlier), you’ll be able to get a Universal Credit payment again.

If you are part of a couple that has surplus earnings and you separate, the surplus earnings will be divided equally between the two of you. Your half will usually be taken into account if you make a single Universal Credit claim.

Please see our guide on calculating surplus earnings,  if you require it in a different format please email