The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is raising its Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) from £355 to £494 per month for single people and from £567 to £782 per month for couples making joint UC claims. This equates to a single Universal Credit applicant working 8.62 hours per week at the National Living Wage, the minimum wage for people over the age of 23.
Around 114,000 universal credit applicants will be transferred from the “light touch” group to the “intensive work search” group.
In order to be reinstated into the ‘light touch’ group, applicants are expected to find ways to increase their income through the AET by taking a better paying job or working more hours.
But the government says Universal Credit applicants will be supported in their efforts to find more work.
Applicants affected by the change will receive a message in their work journal letting them know what action they need to take.
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The DWP explained that people on low incomes and Universal Credit “continue to receive support from a work coach until they achieve a secure income and build a sustainable career”.
Ex-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng signaled in the mini-budget that the AET would soon be increased further, to the equivalent of 15 hours per week.
He told the House of Commons that it would “help grow the economy and raise living standards”.
Charities and think tanks have criticized plans to tighten Universal Credit rules, arguing it will put some of the most vulnerable households under even greater pressure as prices and bills soar.
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They warn that people who cannot find additional work could be sanctioned through no fault of their own.
This isn’t the only change Universal Credit applicants will see.
The DWP also shifts all legacy claimants to Universal Credit – a move that will affect Brits in relation to Labor Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, earnings-tested Unemployment Benefits, Income Support, Earnings-tested Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit.
As the cost-of-living crisis continues, many low-income families may struggle to keep up with rising bills.
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To get a grip on the cost of living, the government introduced a range of programs to help Britons afford the changes.
The Government announced that households receiving DWP benefits will receive a £650 living cost payment to help them keep up with mounting bills.
Over 8 million families have already received the first living allowance worth £326 sent from 14 July this year.
Millions of households across the UK will receive a £324 cost of living increase through November 23.
The second payment is automatically transferred to the bank accounts of beneficiaries in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who are receiving a qualifying benefit, meaning they don’t have to do anything to receive the money.
Chloe Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “Millions of families will soon receive a £324 cash boost as part of our massive £1,200 support package, helping to boost income and help cope with rising living costs.
“We understand people are struggling, so we are committed to supporting the most vulnerable households.
“That’s why we’re also focused on driving growth and delivering quality public services so we can continue to support those in need during these challenging times, while enhancing opportunities for all.”