Universal Credit rule change set to affect 114,000 Britons – will your payment change?

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is raising its Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) from £355 to £494 per month for single claimants, and from £567 to £782 per month for couples making joint UC claims. This is the equivalent of a single Universal Credit claimant working 8.62 hours per week at the National Living Wage, the minimum wage for those over-23s.

Around 114,000 Universal Credit claimants will be moved from the ‘light touch’ group to the ‘intensive work search’ group.

To be moved back into the ‘light touch’ group, claimants will be expected to find ways of raising their earnings above the AET, by getting a better-paying job, or working more hours.

However, the Government says Universal Credit claimants will be supported in their efforts to find more work.

Claimants affected by the change will receive a message in their work journal telling them what action they need to take.

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The DWP stated that low-paid people on Universal Credit “will continue to receive support from a work coach until they are earning a secure income and forging a sustainable career.”

Former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng signalled in the mini-budget that the AET would soon be raised further, to the equivalent of 15 hours per week.

He told the House of Commons that doing so would “help grow the economy and raise living standards.”

Charities and think tanks have criticised plans to tighten Universal Credit rules, arguing that it puts some of the most vulnerable households under even greater pressure as prices and bills rocket.

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People who are unable to find extra work may therefore have their benefits sanctioned through no fault of their own, they warn.

This is not the only change that Universal Credit claimants will experience.

The DWP is also moving all legacy benefit claimants to Universal Credit – a move affecting Britons on Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit.

As the cost of living crisis continues, many families on low incomes may be struggling to keep up with rising bills.

READ MORE: Attendance Allowance: When to expect the DWP £150 cost of living payment 

To help manage the cost of living, the Government introduced a variety of schemes to help Britons afford the changes.

The Government announced that households receiving DWP benefits will receive a £650 Cost of Living Payment to help them keep up with rising bills.

Over 8 million families have already received the first Cost of Living Payment, worth £326, which was sent out from July 14 this year.

Millions of households across the UK will receive a £324 cost of living cash boost by the 23 of November.

The second payment will automatically be paid into the bank accounts of those eligible in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who receive a qualifying benefit, meaning they will not need to do anything to receive the money.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Chloe Smith said: “Millions of families will soon see a £324 cash boost as part of our extensive £1,200 support package, helping to raise incomes and manage the rising cost of living.

“We understand that people are struggling which is why we’re committed to supporting the most vulnerable households.

“That’s also why we are focused on driving growth and delivering quality public services so we can continue to support those in need through these challenging times while boosting opportunity for all.”



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