Performers face financial hardship if the Government proceeds with plans to cut a £20 per week Universal Credit uplift.
53% of Equity members in a new survey said the policy would hurt them.
41% said they would be unable to meet essential costs, with a third unable to continue seeking work in the industry.
Equity believes the cut will have an even more pronounced impact on younger talent, underrepresented groups and those from working class backgrounds.
"These changes to Universal Credit will plunge thousands of Equity members into poverty or force them to leave the profession,” Equity’s Lead Tax and Welfare Rights Official Alan Lean said.
The union has called on the Government to abandon the proposed cut, scheduled to come into effect October 6.