Important DWP Universal Credit change comes into force this week

Housing: PM announces changes to Universal Credit rules

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shaken up the Universal Credit rules this week which could result in benefit cuts for thousands of claimants. Universal Credit claimants will be moved from a light touch work search category into an intensive work search group from September 26 which will force them to work more hours or find a better-paid job.

Thousands of Britons on Universal Credit could see their benefits slashed if they refuse to work more hours or look for better-paid work. 

This rule change will affect approximately 114,000 part-time workers who will now need to work at least 12 hours instead of just nine to stay in the “light touch” work search group the DWP has confirmed.

Claimants affected by the change will receive a message in their work journal telling them what action they need to take.

Additionally, there are some other new rules for Universal Credit coming into effect before the end of 2022.

New rules for Universal Credit 2022

As well as the change to the minimum amount of working hours, the Administration Earnings Threshold will change on September 26 which determines how much people have to earn before they are made to look for more work.

The rate is currently £355 a month for single claimants or £567 a month for joint claimants, however, this will rise to £494 a month or £782 for joint claimants.

The DWP is also moving all legacy benefit claimants to Universal Credit – a move affecting Britons on Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit.

Meanwhile, some eight million benefit recipients are due the second cost of living payment worth £324 this autumn to help them make ends meet amid the cost of living crisis.

They should have received the first cost of living payment worth £326 back in July.

Energy bills and rising food costs mean millions of people are experiencing a cost of living crisis with prices the highest they have been in 40 years.

Universal Credit claimants are being reminded they could apply for 33 extra benefits from the DWP saving them thousands of pounds.

Cash-strapped benefit claimants may be able to claim Advance Payments, Hardship Payments and a Budgeting Advance.

Hardship payments are for people who have had their benefit payments stopped as a result of a sanction.

This could be worth up to 60 percent of someone’s usual claim.

Universal Credit claimants may also be able to get a Budgeting Advance worth up to £812 to help with emergencies.

Universal Credit claimants could ask the DWP for extra financial help in the form of:

  • Advance payments
  • Hardship payments
  • Budgeting advance
  • Other state benefits
  • Cheap broadband
  • Reduced council tax bills
  • Capped water bills
  • Half price bus
  • Discounted rail fares
  • Free or discounted gym membership
  • Help with new job costs
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme of £140 off fuel bills
  • £25 in Cold Weather Payments
  • Cheap BT phone calls
  • Free prescriptions for people with zero income or those on a low income
  • Free dental treatment
  • Eye tests and discounted glasses
  • Free school transport
  • Free school meals
  • Discounted childcare costs
  • £150 towards school uniforms – dependent on the local authority
  • £1,200 free cash as part of the Government’s Help to Save scheme
  • Food vouchers for kids as part of the Healthy Start scheme
  • Maternity grant up to £1,000
  • Disabled Facilities Grant (up to £30,000) to make changes to a home
  • Homeowners can apply for up to £10,000 to pay for a boiler
  • Homeowners can get help to pay for double glazing as part of the Green Homes Scheme
  • Up to £300 in Winter Fuel Payments
  • Free wigs or fabric support provided by the NHS
  • Free health travel costs
  • Help with housing costs
  • Help with funeral costs
  • Bereavement support payments
  • Reduced court fees.

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