Thousands of Universal Credit claimants face payment cut as rules change | Personal Finance | Finance

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The new guidelines mean many people will be required to look for more or better-paid work or their payments may be affected. The current rules set out that claimants who work 12 hours a week or less at the national minimum wage must look for extra hours or better-paid work, and have regular meetings with their work coach.

This is changing on January 30, when the threshold will be raised from 12 hours to 15 hours, meaning more workers on the benefit will be asked to meet these requirements.

Some groups will be exempt from the changes, such as those who cannot work because of long-term illnesses or disabilities.

There is also an earnings threshold for when these requirements are put on claimants of Universal Credit.

People who are single and in work with earnings of more than £494 a month currently don’t have to look for more work, but this is increasing to £618.

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The threshold for couples is currently £782, but this is also increasing, to £988. People on Universal Credit are given a Claimant Commitment, which outlines what they have to do with regard to looking for work.

The commitment also details what will happen if a person fails to meet one or more of their agreed responsibilities.

Failing to comply with the terms of a Claimant Commitment can result in a person losing their payments altogether.

If a person is not sure how the new rules will affect them, they can talk to their work coach at their local Jobcentre.


Universal Credit is available to Britons aged 18 and over and under the state pension age, who have £16,000 or less in cash, savings or investments.

Universal Credit is gradually replacing several older benefits, known as ‘legacy benefits’. These include:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit.

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