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Permitted work

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Permitted work is work that you can do while claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or other benefits on the grounds of incapacity.

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Normally, you cannot work and be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance unless the work you are doing is permitted work.   

Generally, if you do permitted work you should be paid at least the minimum wage for any work you are allowed to do.

Types of permitted work

There are three types of permitted work: 

Permitted Work - lower limit

£20 pw

This is work that you can do indefinitely as long as you are earning no more than £20.00 per week. 

Permitted Work - higher limit 

£115.50 pw

You can earn up to £115.50 per week however you must be working less than 16 hours a week. If you are in the Support Group of ESA you can do this indefinitely. If you are in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA, or if your capability for work has still to be assessed, you will only be able to do this type of work for up to 52 weeks.

Supported Permitted Work

£115.50 pw

Supported Permitted Work usually applies to people with long term disabilities who need support and/or supervision to carry out employment. The support and/or supervision must come from someone other than the employer and is usually someone that is employed by a public/local authority or voluntary organisation which provides or finds work for people with disabilities. 

There is no limit as to how long you can do this type of permitted work as long as your earnings are no higher than £115.50 per week. 

Effect of permitted work on benefits

Employment and Support Allowance

The amount you earn under the permitted work rules is disregarded as long as you keep within the above limits.   

Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance

The amount you earn under the permitted work rules is disregarded as long as you keep within the above limits. 

Income Support

If you are receiving Income Support on the grounds of incapacity, only £20.00 of your weekly earnings is disregarded.  This means that your Income Support will be reduced by anything you earn above £20.00 per week and your entitlement may even stop altogether.  

Permitted Work Form

Although you do not need to get permission from the Jobcentre Plus to do permitted work, you need to tell them about any work you do even if it is Permitted Work.  You may be asked complete a pdf icon Permitted Work Form PW1 (ESA) [303kb] by the Jobcentre Plus.  


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