DWP's tough new Universal Credit rule comes into force on Monday

A Universal Credit information sheet (Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)
A Universal Credit information sheet -Credit:Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

From Monday onwards, Universal Credit claimants working fewer than 18 hours a week will have to search for additional employment, marking the DWP's firm new rule on Universal Credit. This is part of the Government's comprehensive overhaul of the welfare system, involving an increase in the administrative earnings threshold from the equivalent of 15 hours to 18 hours at the national living wage for individual claimants.

This implies that those engaging in less than half of full-time weekly work will need to regularly meet their work coach in a bid to elevate their income, says the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak remarked: "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 additionally stated that "welfare should always be a safety net and not a lifestyle choice".

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The latest regulations pertain to individuals earning less than £892 each month or couples bringing in under £1,437, according to DWP. These thresholds have seen an elevation from £617 for individuals and £988 for couples.

Approximately 180,000 individuals are said to be affected by this alteration, according to departmental records. Those capable of employment are anticipated to utilise the support available at the Jobcentre, or risk losing their benefits, reports Bristol Live.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride has come out in support of those striving for employment, announcing a significant expansion in assistance to aid individuals in advancing their careers. He stated: "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."

Stride further highlighted the financial benefits of employment, saying: "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."

The announcement follows Mr Sunak's unveiling of his welfare reform strategy last month, which includes a controversial review of payments to individuals with mental health issues, sparking claims of a "full-on assault on disabled people".