Money Wellness
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calendar icon13 May 2024

Nearly 200,000 benefit claimants forced to look for more work from today

If you’re getting universal credit and working less than 18 hours a week at the national living wage, you’ll have to start looking for more work if you want to keep receiving your benefit payments.

New rules that came into force today (13 May) mean if you’re earning less than £892 per calendar month as an individual or £1,473 as part of a couple, you’ll be moved into the intensive work search group.

This is up from £617 for individuals and £988 for couples – or the equivalent of 15 hours per week at the national living wage.

What is the intensive work search group?

If you’re moved into the intensive work search group, it means you’ll need to meet with your work coach more regularly to plan how you’ll boost your income.

Over 180,000 will be affected by the change.

Pushing people into crisis

The charity Turn2Us has called on the government to rethink the policy, warning it will have a devastating impact on carers, those with long-term health conditions and those with inconsistent incomes.

Spokesperson Michael Clarke said:

“It’s vital that the support system truly supports, rather than penalises those it’s meant to help…

“For single mothers and others on razor-thin margins, these adjustments risk tipping them into crisis, exacerbating financial instability and mental stress as they struggle to meet these new demands.”

Safety net not lifestyle choice

But 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.”

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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