Two Universal Credit changes coming next week - how they will affect you

Universal Credit claimants are being reminded of upcoming changes
The truth about Universal Credit at Jobcentre Plus, Exeter Street, Plymouth . -Credit:PlymouthLive

Two imminent changes to Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could affect your finances - one may even result in recipients seeing an uptick in their bank account balances.

From 13 May, the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET), currently pegged at 15 hours per week at the National Living Wage for single applicants, is set to rise to 18 hours per week, equating to a monthly income of £892. For couples, the AET will increase to 29 hours weekly, translating into an equivalent monthly income of £1,437.

The key role of the AET is to determine your "work group". If your earnings fall under this rate, you'll be cast into the "intensive work search" category, thus being obliged to seek more work or boost your working hours in order to retain your benefits.

Failing to meet your Universal Credit obligations can result in benefit reductions or complete stops, warns the Mirror. The second shift pertains to a boost in benefit payments. The DWP announced that benefits would witness a 6.7% increase as of 8 April, reports Chronicle Live.

However, due to the manner in which Universal Credit disbursements are made, the earliest beneficiaries will see this rise reflected in their payments is 14 May. Universal Credit, calculated using your "assessment period", is disbursed monthly in arrears and the newly increased rate won't be paid until a fresh assessment begins on or post April 8. You typically receive your Universal Credit payment seven days following each monthly assessment period.

The core composition of Universal Credit refers to a "standard allowance" based on your age and if you're applying individually or as part of a pair. Supplemental payments may also be provided - such as if you're caring for a child or if health-related complications prevent you from working.

Potential additional entitlements are then factored in to calculate your total amount before any reductions come into play. Deductions can occur if you're employed, possess savings, or are indebted to the DWP.

Here is how much the Universal Credit “standard allowance” is now worth:

  • Single under 25: £311.68 a month

  • Single 25 or over: £393.45 a month

  • Joint claimants both under 25: £489.23 a month

  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £617.60 a month