New rule could stop Universal Credit payments for thousands of claimants - check if you’re affected

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Around 120,000 people are set to be affected by the changes, which could stop Universal Credit payments.

Universal Credit claimants could be at risk of losing their monthly payment due to a rule change that’s coming into effect later this month. Claimants working part-time jobs may have to start looking for better paid or more work if they want to keep receiving the benefit.

At the moment, people working 12 hours or less a week and earning the national minimum wage must “actively look” for extra hours or better paid work to continue to be eligible for Universal Credit. These claimants must also have regular meetings with a work coach.

But from January 30 a new rule will be put in place which will increase this to 15 hours or less at minimum wage, meaning around 120,000 people will have to earn more in order to be exempt. If claimants do not meet these new requirements they could lose their Universal Credit payments.

Here is an example - currently, if someone is single, employed and has household earnings of more than £494 a month, they wouldn’t be required to look for more work. This also applies if you’re in a couple who’s earning a joint income of more than £782.

But these amounts are set to increase to £618 and £988 respectively under the changes. So if you earn below that, you will need to look for more or better paid work.

If you claim Universal Credit and are not sure how you’ll be affected, speak to your work coach or a charity such as Turn2Us. You can get in touch with the charity for free by calling 0808 802 2000.

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