New DWP rules for Universal Credit: Over 180,000 to work more hours or face cuts

A Universal Credit sign on the door of a job centre
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has introduced new working rules for Universal Credit this week, affecting around 180,000 people.

Universal Credit is one of the most claimed benefits in the UK, with over six million people seeking support. Unemployed individuals or those earning a low income can claim Universal Credit from the DWP.

However, specific rules need to be abided by; otherwise, your benefit payments may be at risk. This week witnessed the introduction of fresh working rules, requiring approximately 180,000 people to work more hours to remain entitled to their benefits. Notably, this marks the second working rule modification introduced by the Government this year.

To assist, here is everything you need to understand concerning Universal Credit and its updated working rules, reports the Mirror.

How much does Universal Credit shell out?

There isn't a fixed monthly amount given; what you receive depends on your personal circumstances, which could comprise your age, whether you are part of a couple and if you have children.

Nevertheless, there exists a base rate for Universal Credit, referred to as the "standard allowance". Should you be eligible, you can fetch additional payments atop this to aid with other expenses.

These figures are combined to provide your total figure before any deductions that are then applied based on factors such as whether you work, possess savings, among others. As of April 2024, the standard allowance is set at:.

If you have children, the amount you can claim varies depending on the number of children you have - if you have a disabled child then you are also eligible for additional support.

Can you work while claiming Universal Credit?

You can claim Universal Credit from the DWP if your income is low or if you're unemployed. This means you can be employed and claim Universal Credit simultaneously.

However, the more you earn, the less Universal Credit you receive. The reduction in your benefit is determined by the taper rate.

The current taper rate is 55%, which means 55p is deducted from your maximum Universal Credit payment for every £1 you earn.

However, some Universal Credit claimants may be granted a work allowance which sets how much they can earn before their Universal Credit is reduced. This is typically only available to those who are responsible for a child or have a disability or health condition that affects their ability to work.

As usual, the Universal Credit payment is reduced by 55p for every £1 earned over the work allowance. There are two rates and which one you get depends on whether you receive help with housing costs, either as part of your Universal Credit payment or through Housing Benefits:.

What are the Universal Credit work rules?

According to details provided by Citizens Advice, if you're claiming Universal Credit, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will place you into one of four work activity groups. These classify what you should be doing in order to keep your benefits.

For those deemed fit for work, there are two main groups: "Light Touch" and "Intensive Work Search". The government's Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) decides which of these groups a claimant falls into.

This is based on monthly earnings, with those surpassing the threshold segregated into the light touch group, while those under it, are categorised under the intensive work group. If you identify with the latter, you're required to put in more hours to retain your benefits.

The Government recently raised the AET threshold, suggesting that those who drop below the limit will have to seek out additional employment. As of May 13, the AET equated to 18 hours per week, witnessing an increase from 15 hours, half of a full-time week, or about £892 per month.

For couples, the new AET has risen to 29 hours per week, which translates to approximately £1,437 a month. If not abided by, your benefits are liable to reduction or cessation.