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Understanding work and benefits

Find out how you can ensure you're better off in work.

Starting a new job, taking on extra hours, or returning to work after a period of not working can affect the amount you receive in benefits. Find out what you need to do and how you can ensure you're better off in work.

Accepting a job offer

If you get a new job while you’re on benefits, you must tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If you don’t, you might receive the wrong amount of benefits.

When you contact the DWP, you should:

  • tell them the name of your employer
  • tell them the start date of your new job or extra hours
  • find out if you can apply for help with childcare costs
  • discuss your claimant commitment with your work coach. 

Refusing a job offer

If you turn down a job offer, you’ll need to discuss this with your work coach as this can affect your claimant commitment. The DWP can't make you take a job, but if you don’t have a good reason for turning down a job you may be 'sanctioned', which means having your universal credit temporarily reduced.

How to contact the DWP

To report changes in your circumstances, like accepting or refusing a job offer, contact your work coach online by signing in to your universal credit account.

Freephone: 0800 328 5644

Welsh language: 0800 012 1888

Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Find out about universal credit on the government website

How we can help

To find out how much better off you’ll be in work use our benefits calculator. You can find out what benefits you can claim, helping you to stay in control of your finances.

If you’re unsure about benefits calculations, or for help and guidance with other financial matters, please contact our Clarion Futures support team. They can also help you plan for work-related costs, such as travel, work clothes or childcare. And they may be able to help you get grants for work or business.

Meet Geraldine – guidance officer

Geraldine provides proactive support for residents on universal credit. She’s worked at Clarion for three years.

Each week, she receives a list of Clarion residents on universal credit to call. Some are new residents, so she’ll check they’ve got everything they need to set up their new home – advising everything from council tax to grants for furnishings.

Or they’re residents who’ve moved on to universal credit due to a change of circumstances – and may need job and training advice, or support getting online.

Whoever she calls, she listens. “There is so much fear of universal credit, so letting people know there is help is so important, especially around council tax – as so many people don’t realise it’s a separate claim.”

“I love nothing better than being able to tell someone they’re eligible for more.”

I love nothing better than being able to tell someone they’re eligible for more.


financial guidance officer

Tools for managing your money

Benefits calculator

Find out which benefits you can claim with our simple, online benefits calculator.

You’ll also be able to find out how much better off you’ll be in work.

It’s free to use, takes just a few minutes and is completely anonymous.

Benefits calculator


Budget planner

See how a budget plan can help you stay in control of your money.

The independent Money Advice Service has a really useful online budget planner. It can help you see what you can afford and how you might be able to save money.

It’s simple to complete and anyone can use it.

Go to Money Advice Service

If you want any help using the budget planner or our benefits calculator – or any other financial guidance – please contact our Clarion Futures support team.

Contact us