Unearned income

The rules on assessment of unearned income under universal credit are set out in the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.

What counts as unearned income

Regulation 66 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the benefits and other income, including retirement pension income, that are counted as unearned income.

Definition of retirement pension income

Regulation 67 of SI.No.376/2013

Defines retirement pension income.

Treatment of student income

Regulation 68 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out which assessment periods student income is to be taken into account for and which parts of student grants are to be taken into account. It also provides for notional income to be taken into account where a student could acquire a loan but hasn’t.

Calculation of student loan income

Regulation 69 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the rules as to what proportion of the maximum possible student loan, including for post-graduate study, should be taken into account.

Calculation of student grants

Regulation 70 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the amounts to be excluded (such as amounts in respect of disability and for books and equipment) when calculating income from student grants.

Calculation of amount of income in an assessment period

Regulation 71 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the formula for assessing income in an assessment period.

Disregarding extra-statutory payments


Ensure that extra-statutory payments, including compensation for people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, are disregarded as income and capital

In Northern Ireland, SR.No.216/2016 makes provisions that are largely equivalent to that in Great Britain.

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for decision making

Chapter H5

Sets out guidance for decision makers on unearned income.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Unearned income

Sets out guidance on unearned income and how it works in universal credit.

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

Upper Tribunal

[2022] UKUT 65 (AAC)

Tribunal was correct to decide that an Irish widow’s pension should be counted as the claimant’s unearned income to be deducted from any calculation of universal credit.