New rules require 180,000 on Universal Credit to increase working hours

New rules meaning over 180,000 Universal Credit claimants will have to look for more work have come into force today (Monday 13 May)

  • Universal Credit claimants working less than half of a full-time week will have to look to increase their hours, benefitting from extra work coach support.
  • 400,000 to receive more help to progress in work, as Mel Stride says “I want to help thousands of people on their journey off benefits”.
  • Changes come as the PM announces once a generation welfare reforms to help people find work, boost their earnings, and grow the economy.

The latest rise in the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) means someone working less than 18 hours – half of a full-time week – will have to look for more work.

These Universal Credit claimants will move into the ‘Intensive Work Search group’, meeting with their work coaches more regularly to plan their job progression, boost their earnings and advance the journey off welfare altogether.

Combined with previous increases, 400,000 claimants are now subject to more intensive Jobcentre support – and with that the expectation that those who can work must engage with the support available or face losing their benefits.

Further information:
  • We amended Regulation 99 (6) of the UC Regulations 2013 to raise the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) to £892 per calendar month for individual claimants and £1473 per calendar month for couples on 6th May 2024, with the change being in force from 13th May 2024.
  • With this change, individuals earning below £892 a month or £1,437 for couples – so working less than half of a full-time week – will have to meet more frequently with their work coach to up their earnings. This is up from £617 for individuals and £988 for couples. 
  • Previously, the Administrative Earnings Threshold was increased in September 2022 to 12 hours per week at the National Living Wage, and again in January 2023 to 15 hours per week.
  • Impacted claimants will receive a message in their Universal Credit journal and are encouraged to talk to their work coach to understand what it means for them and the help on offer.
  • As with previous increases, claimant commitments will be tailored to personal circumstances and will take into account caring responsibilities as well as any health conditions.

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