It's a benefit that is intended to replace other benefits and roll them all into a single payment. It replaces the following individual benefits.
- House Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Essentially, when a claim for Universal Credit payment is made it will encompass any or all of the above depending on what the claimant is entitled to.
The benefit has what is referred to as the Administration Earnings Threshold (AET). This is the minimum amount the claimant must earn or be placed in the intensive work search scheme.
If a claimant earns less than the AET it is a mandatory requirement to attend face-to-face work search reviews. Even if the claimant has a health condition providing it does not prevent that person from working.
From September 2022 The AET level is being increased. Currently, it is £338 per month for a single person and £541 for couples. That will increase to £494 per month for a single person and £782 for couples.
The result is that over 100,000 claimants' income will be below the AET and be placed into the intensive work search scheme and be required to attend bi-weekly or even weekly interviews at a local job centre.
For many, it will mean being forced into work or having to try and increase their earnings. There is nothing anyone can do, the rules will come in soon. Claimants may already have been contacted or will be contacted soon.