A BIG change to Universal Credit has been confirmed with 120,000 on benefits set to be affected.
They face tougher rules if they don't work enough hours.
It comes as the Chancellor announced:
- Beer price rise cancelled
- National Insurance rise scrapped saving hundreds a year
- Income tax cut from next April saving average £170 a year
- Stamp duty cut for home movers and first-time buyers
- Boost for self employed as complex tax rules axed
- Low-tax investment zones for business
- Corporation tax hike scrapped
- Bankers bonus ditched
But that will rise to 15 hours a week at the National Living Wage, or 24 hours for couples.
The change, which applies from January 2023, is expected to bring around 120,000 more people into the intensive work search regime.
Universal Credit is based on how much you earn rather than the hours you work.
But the minimum wage for those aged over 25 - currently £9.50 - is used to calculate the equivalent hours worked.
Working fewer than these hours a week, means you're expected to go to the job centre and meet with work coaches to increase your earnings.
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Meanwhile, claimants aged over 50 will also get extra support from work coaches, while the newly unemployed will receive nine months of targeted sessions.
The measures come as the government tries to boost the economy.
The Bank of England yesterday warned that the country is already likely to be in recession.
What does the change mean for me?
Exactly how you're affected will depend in you claimant commitment.
This is a document where you agree to certain terms when making a claim for Universal Credit.
The exact terms of looking for work or increasing hours depends on your circumstances and is detailed in your claimant commitment.
For instance those looking after children or with caring responsibilities are not expected to have to work, or look for work, for as many hours.
If you do need to follow new rules you should be told about it by your work coach or through your Universal Credit account.
What happens if I ignore the new rules?
If you don't follow the new rules then your payments could be affected.
Payments can be cut or stopped altogether for failing to turn up to meetings.
If you repeatedly miss meetings the sanctions may be stricter and last longer.
Sanctions are when claimants can lose some or all of their benefits if they don't follow the rules set out in their claimants commitment, but the most severe consequences are for repeat offenders.
Payments can be slashed for a number of reasons, like turning down a job offer or failing to update information like moving house or how many hours you work.
Here we list five mistakes that could see your Universal Credit payments stopped and tell you how to challenge a sanction.