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Universal credit claimants to seek more than 18 hours work

Part of the government’s sweeping changes to the welfare system include claimants having to look for extra work if they do less than 18 hours a week.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have said the new rule, which came into effect this morning, means individuals working less than half of a full-time week will have to book frequent visits with their work coach to boost their earnings.

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Ministers have increased the administrative earnings threshold from the equivalent of 15 hours to 18 hours at national living wage for an individual claimant. The DWP have said the change applies to some 180,000 people.

Commenting on the news, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said: ‘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 economic growth.’

The new legislation, which was announced last month by Mr Sunak alongside a review of payments to people with disabilities and mental health conditions, means people earning under £892 a month or £1,437 for couples will have to seek additional work.

This is up from individuals earning £617 and £988 for couples.

Mel Stride, Work and Pensions secretary, said: ‘We will always back those who want to work hard and today we are radically expanding the support available to help people progress in work.

‘With the next generation of welfare reforms, I want to help thousands of people on their journey off benefits and towards financial independence.

‘Our plan is making work pay, with people in full-time work now £7,000 better off than on out-of-work benefits, and our tax cuts putting £900 back in the pockets of millions of workers across Britain.’

Image: Suzy Hazelwood

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