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Universal credit claimants working less than 18 hours must look for more work

13 May 2024 2 minute read
Photo by Helen Cobain, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Universal credit claimants working less than 18 hours a week will from today (13 May)  have to look for more work.

As part of the UK Government’s sweeping changes to the welfare system, ministers are raising the administrative earnings threshold from the equivalent of 15 hours to 18 hours at national living wage for an individual claimant.

That means those working less than half of a full-time week will have to meet their work coach more often to boost their earnings, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Economic growth

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s changes will help more people on universal credit move into well paid jobs and progress towards financial independence, which is better for them and for economic growth.”

He added that “welfare should always be a safety net and not a lifestyle choice”.

The new rules affect individuals earning below £892 a month or £1,437 for couples, the DWP said.

This is up from £617 for individuals and £988 for couples.

The change applies to some 180,000 people, according to the department.

Jobcentre support

Those able to work are expected to use the Jobcentre support available or face losing their benefits.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: “We will always back those who want to work hard and today we are radically expanding the support available to help people progress in work.

“With the next generation of welfare reforms, I want to help thousands of people on their journey off benefits and towards financial independence.

“Our plan is making work pay, with people in full-time work now £7,000 better off than on out-of-work benefits, and our tax cuts putting £900 back in the pockets of millions of workers across Britain.”

Mr Sunak last month announced his welfare reform plan, including a review of payments to people with mental health conditions, which prompted accusations of a “full-on assault on disabled people”.


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Doctor Trousers
10 days ago

But I’m sure you’ll still only need to get one hour of paid work a week from a zero hour contract to be statistically counted as employed, so the tories can crow about all the “jobs” they’ve created

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