Spring Budget 2023

Abolition of the Work Capability Assessment

The government have announced their intention to abolish the Work Capability Assessment. Instead, the proposal is to introduce a new health element in Universal Credit, available to people who receive Personal Independence Payment. This will replace the limited capability for work-related activity element. The suggested timeline is 2026/27. We know that this will be a huge cause for concern among many of you – we will keep you informed as the details develop.

Universal Credit childcare costs element

  • From Summer 2023 (exact date not known), claimants will be able to get the childcare costs element paid upfront when moving into work or increasing their hours.
  • From July 2023, the maximum amount of the childcare costs element will increase from £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for two or more children to £951 and £1,630 respectively (no corresponding change to Working Tax Credit figures).

Universal Credit Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET)

  • The Administrative Earnings Threshold will apply on an individual basis – the couple threshold will be removed.
  • The AET will also increase from 15 hours per week to 18 hours per week at the National Minimum Wage.
  • No date known for these measures.

Universal Credit conditionality changes

  • Lead carers of children aged 1 or 2 will have to meet more frequently with a work coach to prepare for work.
  • Lead carers of children aged 3 to 12 will be asked to increase the number of hours they search for work.
  • No date known for these measures.


The sanctions regime will be ‘strengthened’, including parts of the process becoming automated to ‘reduce error’.

Surplus earnings threshold

The figure used in the surplus earnings threshold calculation will remain at £2,500 until April 2024, rather than reducing to £300 as previously announced.

Transitional SDP element

From April 2023, the transitional severe disability premium element payable in specific circumstances to Universal Credit claimants will be uprated in line with CPI. It is not yet known whether this increase will apply to existing claimants.

Other measures

  • Compensation payments made to those affected by the Post Office Horizon scandal will be disregarded for means-tested benefits.
  • A new supported employment programme called Universal Support will be introduced to support people with health conditions and disabilities back into work.
  • Several measures to increase support for jobseekers, including additional time spent with work coaches and intensive 2 week support for some.
  • Operational measures introduced in May 2021 to reduce new claim waiting times for PIP will be extended to November 2023.

The full details of the budget can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/spring-budget-2023

You can read about this and other changes announced in the government’s Health and Disability White Paper here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/transforming-support-the-health-and-disability-white-paper

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