Sunday, May 26News For London

Everything you need to know about new universal credit rules and changes

Unions called for an increase in minimum wage and benefits to offset inflation. The ongoing pandemic pushed an extra 1.3 million workers on universal credit which forced the government to bring in new rules.

The government on February, 7 announced that Universal Credit, child benefit and statutory pension are among the payments that will be increased in April to keep up with the energy and food price cap.

Benefits usually go up each year to keep up with the rising cost of living and in April universal credit claimants will see a 3.1% rise in payments.


What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is designed to support people over 18 who are either on a low income or out of work. This law was legislated in 2012 helped claimants with the cost of housing, children and childcare, and financial support for people with disabilities, carers and people too ill to work

Universal credit claimants usually receive their payments on a monthly basis.

Who can claim universal credit?

There are a few sets of people who can claim Universal Credit. To claim universal credit, you must be:

  • be aged 18 or over (16 or 17 in selected cases)
  • be under State Pension age
  • not securing a full-time education or training (unless exceptions apply)
  • not hold savings for more than £16,000

A person gets low Universal Credit if they have savings over £6,000 or if they earn enough money to cover their basic living costs.

A couple who are staying together should make a joint claim. Two people are treated as a couple if they and their partner are:

  • married to each other
  • in a civil partnership
  • living together as if they were married
CREDITS: Sakshi Shukla

What are the rate changes from April 2022?

Extra amounts for children

  • A rise from £282.50 to £290 per month for the first child born before April 6, 2017.
  • An increase from £237.08 to £244.58 per month for a child born on or after April 6, 2017, or second child and subsequent child.
  • A lower rate addition is to rise in April from £128.89 to £132.89 and higher rate is set to rise from £402.41 to £414.88.

Tougher job offer rules for benefit claimants
Previously, universal credit claimants could spend around three months specifically trying to get a role that they have experience for. However, that was slashed to four weeks, after which these claimants will be expected to accept alternative offers of employment.

Those who refused offers could experience benefits cut from the scheme.

Limited capability for work support

  • Limited capability for work amount is set to rise from £128.89 to £132.89.
  • Limited capability for work and work-related activity amount will see an increase from £343.63 to £354.28.

Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claims – March 2022
Employment support allowance is for those who are under State Pension age and have a disability or health condition that affects their ability to work.

People who have a health condition or are disabled can apply for ESA help and could get up to £74.70 a week.

A new rule will be kept in place until March 24, 2022, which allows the eligible person to make a claim from the first day if they were absent from work – instead of the usual eighth.

You should have worked either as a self-employed worker or as an employee to be eligible for this. If you have claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance or Statutory Sick Pay you cannot get EMS.


Pension Credit
Pension credit is for those people who are retired on a low income. There will be an increase from £177.10 per week to £182.60 for single retirees. For retired couples, it will rise from £270.30 to £278.70.

How does universal credit help with health and travel costs?

Universal Credit can also help you with health and travel costs, your partner or your children. These includes:

  • a dental treatment
  • eyesight tests
  • glasses or contact lenses
  • travelling for treatment on a doctor or dentist referral

What do the changes in universal credit means for me?
If you are not sure what these alterations mean for you, you can find out more via the online benefits calculators which is available on the UK government’s website.

You can also find details about increases to sanctions and other deductions can also be found online.

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