BENEFITS EXPERT: Changes on the way to those who receive Universal Credit
Currently if you work and also claim and receive Universal Credit you may still have to accept job seeking commitments if your salary is on or below a certain amount. These amounts will change after September 26.
Currently if you are single person as long as you earn £355 or more each month you will not have additional job seeking commitments. After the aforementioned date this figure will increase to £494 per calendar month.
If you claim UC as a couple the current earnings figure is £567 per calendar month, again after the date this figure will increase to £782 per calendar month.
For couple claims you may have a situation where only one person in the household works and thus the non-working partner is likely to already have some sort of UC commitments unless they are exempt, for example, they cannot work due to illness or they may have to care for children or a disabled person.
Alternatively both could work but both jobs are part time or zero hours so the income figure could come from two jobs.
These changes mean that if you earn less than the figures, you will find the DWP/your work coach will request you agree to a new UC commitment and failing to agree this will mean a sanction will be applied to your benefits resulting in either a reduction or no payment of your UC standard element (housing costs cannot be sanctioned).
The agreed new commitment will likely be that you will be in the same position as a UC claimant who has no work and claims UC as a job seeker.
This will mean that you agreed to intensive job searches (consideration will be given to your existing job if you have one so you won’t have to job seek for a full 35 hours each week for example).
So you would be expected to see if you can increase your hours of work with your current employer (if that is possible), agree to seek a second part time job or even look to seek work in a profession, industry sector, etc. that you may never have worked or considered before.
If you then reach the required earnings level the UC commitments will be amended again so there will be no requirement to work or search for work to increase your earnings.