I understand that any pension contributions made by someone claiming tax credits or universal credit are deducted from the claimants earned income when assessing the amount a claimant is eligible for.

Can anyone tell me how this works if there is a couple making a joint claim and one of them works full time and the other is a full time parent? If pension contributions are made for the partner with no taxable income, are those contributions deducted from the other partners income? Or is it only the working partner who can benefit from pension contributions in this way?

On the tax credits form it asks for each partners income figures separately, there isn't a box to enter your pension contributions, and their advice is to deduct the pension contributions from the income figure yourself before entering it. So it seems the tax credits forms are designed in such a way that only the working partner could benefit from this.

Can anyone confirm this? And does anyone have any experience of this with universal credit?

1 Answer 1


No experience of this stuff myself, but I note that the information at https://revenuebenefits.org.uk/universal-credit/guidance/entitlement-to-uc/self-employment/calculating-income-from-self-employment/ mentions (in "Step4" of the "Step-by-step calculation" section) that, after deducting any pension contributions from the presumably zero income:

If the amount left is Nil or a negative amount, then the claimant's earnings are Nil

So it does look like only a working partner can derive any benefit from their contributions (at least for UC purposes; the pension contributions themselves have to be a good thing).

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