DWP issues 18-hour rule change warning to everyone on Universal Credit | Personal Finance | Finance

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Everyone who claims Universal Credit has been issued an 18-hour warning by the DWP after a rule change which takes effect this week.

Universal Credit is a benefit from the DWP which is claimed for various reasons including as a top-up for earnings for those in work.

And starting this week, from May 13, people who are working fewer than 18 hours per week at the national living wage will be forced to look for more work or they will lose their benefit payments.

Previously, the amount was 15 hours per week but it has been increased to 18 hours.

The change is thought to affect 180,000 people across the UK who are currently claiming Universal Credit.

The rule is based on the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET), the minimum Universal Credit claimants must earn each month to continue being eligible for the benefit.

Individuals must now earn £892 per month, or 18 hours work at national living wage, in order to qualify. For couples, the figure is £1,437, or 29 hours on national living wage.

If claimants drop below the minimum earnings while on Universal Credit, they risk sanctions from the DWP.

The DWP is moving 180,000 people from its ‘light touch group’ to its ‘intensive work search group’ as a result of the change, and a total of 400,000 have been moved groups this year.

Announcing the changes, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Welfare should always be a safety net, and not a lifestyle choice which is why we’re ushering in a new era of welfare reforms to help more people progress off benefits and into work.

“Today’s changes will help more people on Universal Credit move into well paid jobs and progress towards financial independence – which is better for them and for the economy.”

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