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Permitted work

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

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 per week. 

Permitted Work - higher limit 

£167 pw

You can earn up to £167 per week however you must be working less than 16 hours a week. You can do this indefinitely. 

Supported Permitted Work

£157 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 or how many hours you can do as long as your earnings are no higher than £167 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 of your weekly earnings is disregarded.  This means that your Income Support will be reduced by anything you earn above £20 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 should complete a PW1 Permitted Work Form.    


Last modified on 03 April 2023

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