Thousands on Universal Credit to be impacted by major change this month – how it affects you explained | The Sun

THOUSANDS on Universal Credit are set to be impacted by a major change this month.

You might have to look for work or prepare for work if you want to receive the benefit.

This is because of a change to the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET).

Before, Universal Credit claimants had to earn the equivalent of 12 hours pay a week at the National Living Wage to not have to meet certain requirements, including looking for more work.

But this has now been upped to 15 hours a week, meaning an estimated 120,000 will have to earn more to be exempt.

If the requirements are not met you could be sanctioned, meaning Universal Credit payments being temporarily stopped or reduced for a set period.

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Who will be impacted?

Each person has their own earnings threshold, which means they have to earn up to a certain amount to be exempt from looking for or being available for work.

Your earnings threshold is unique to you based on your specific circumstances.

As an example, before this month's change, if you were single, employed and had household earnings of more than £494 per month you weren't expected to look for or be available for work.

This was £782 per month joint income if you were were part of a couple.

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But these figures have now gone up to £617 and £988 respectively.

That means if you earn underneath these amounts you will have to look for or be available for work.

If you don't, you'll be faced with a sanction and could risk having your Universal Credit temporarily stopped.

The change will impact roughly 120,000.

But there are some exceptions, for example if you have a joint Universal Credit claim and your partner is not expected to work because they have a Limited Capability for Work.

Another exception is if you are over the state pension age, which is currently 66.

The rules can be complicated so it's worth speaking to your work coach if you think the change will impact you.

Or, you can speak to charities like Turn2Us for advice. You can call them for free on 0808 802 2000.

What help is there for people on Universal Credit?

There's plenty of extra help on offer if you're on Universal Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced millions will get a £900 cost of living payment over the next two years.

This includes those on Universal Credit.

The payment will be split into three instalments of £300.

The first will be paid in Spring 2023, the second in Autumn 2023 and the third in Spring 2024.

The payments will be made automatically into eligible household's bank accounts so you won't have to apply.

The exact dates the payments will be made haven't been announced yet.

There's also a host of freebies you can get if you receive Universal Credit.

This includes free or cheap broadband, through so-called social tariffs.

Plus you can get free school meals, a discount on your council tax, cold weather payments and help with rent.

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For the full list, you can read our guide here.

In other news, we reveal the big six money changes coming in January.

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