DWP confirms big change to Universal Credit – new rules explained

Housing: PM announces changes to Universal Credit rules

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Tens of thousands of Britons (100,000) will see their Universal Credit work group change as a result of an increase to the Administration Earnings Threshold (AET). This affects the minimum hours people have to work without having to report to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Some 5.8 million Britons rely on Universal Credit to make ends meet and almost half – 40 percent – are in work but on a low income.

Claimants who are in work are expected to earn a minimum amount or asked to report more to the job centre or look for more work.

Currently the Administration Earnings Threshold (AET) rate stands at £355 a month or £567 a month for joint claimants.

However, this will increase from September 26 to £494 a month or £782 for joint claimants.

 People who earn less than the threshold will have to prove they are doing more to find more work otherwise their benefits could be stopped.

Britons who earn below this rate will be given a number of hours they are expected to take part in work search activities each week.

This will depend on individual circumstances including childcare commitments and health conditions.

However, failing to commit to extra activities could lead to a sanction and benefits being stopped.

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A DWP spokesperson said it should help people earn more during the cost of living crisis.

They said: “The Department has been preparing to raise the Administrative Earning Threshold (AET) for several months as bringing more claimants into scope for intensive support will help more low-earning households to increase their incomes at a time of cost of living pressures.”

Meanwhile, millions of people who depend on Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance and Pension Credit could claim 30 additional freebies which could save them thousands of pounds.

Depending on where they live, some parents may also qualify for a Back to School grant worth £150. 

Sites like Turn2us have free tools where people can check whether they qualify for Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

Parents may be given a £150 Back to School grant to help with the cost of school uniform depending on where they live in the UK.

Typically, children who are entitled to free school meals should qualify for a School Uniform Grant if there’s one available.

However, not every local council is still offering the cash boost – people can check whether they qualify by entering their postcode into a tool on the Government website.

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However, not everyone will receive it at the same time and it will depend on which benefits people are claiming.

Britons who claim tax credits will receive the money later in order to avoid duplicate payments.

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