Home Finance DWP Universal Credit shake-up to hit 180,000 people claiming benefits within weeks

DWP Universal Credit shake-up to hit 180,000 people claiming benefits within weeks

Next month’s Universal Credit overhaul is set to impact over 180,000 benefit claimants as the government tightens the rules.

From May 13, the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) will increase from 15 to 18 hours a week at the National Living Wage, compelling those working fewer than 18 hours and earning under £892 a monthor couples working less than 29 hours and earning below £1,437to step up their job hunt.

The AET is crucial in determining claimants’ “work group” classification. Earning above the AET places you in the “light touch” group with no requirement to seek additional work.

However, falling short of the threshold puts you in the “intensive work search” bracket, obliging you to look for more work to retain your benefits.

Failure to adhere to Universal Credit conditions could result in reduced or halted benefits. These changes, endorsed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week, will shift over 180,000 claimants from the “light touch” to the “intensive work search” group, reports the Mirror.

Affected individuals will be notified via their Universal Credit journal. This adjustment marks the second hike in the AET, which was previously raised from 12 to 15 hours per weekor 24 for couplesin January 2023.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride stated: “I believe our welfare system is about far more than benefit payments; it is about changing lives for the better. That is why we’re bringing forward the next generation of welfare reforms. We’ve already overhauled the outdated benefit system by introducing Universal Credit, and now we are building a new welfare settlement for Britain one where no one gets left behind.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP, said: “We are seeking the advice of those who understand the system best so we can break down these unnecessary barriers to work. Through tailored care and reasonable adjustments, we can build a healthier workforce for a healthier economy.”


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