Autumn Statement: Hunt announces rise in Universal Credit
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The benefit supports many people on low incomes in helping them pay for their everyday needs. Payments are sent over monthly or twice a month to some people in Scotland.
Changes to how many hours a claimants needs to work
In January, more claimants will be required to look for work as the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) of Universal Credit increases.
The AET was raised to the same as 12 hours on the living wage in September last year, the same as £494 a month for single claimants or £782 a month for couples.
From January 30, the threshold will go up again to 15 hours on the National Living Wage, increasing the amount to £617 for single people and £988 for couples.
Those earning below the threshold will be placed in an intensive work search group and be under more pressure to improve their pay.
The change will mean an additional 120,000 people will be put into the intensive work search category.
More pressure to meet with work coach
Claimants who work between 15 to 35 hours a week for minimum wage will be required to meet a work coach to discuss ways to increase their hours or earnings.
This change will affect 600,000 Universal Credit claimants and is part of Government plans to encourage people into better-paid work.
Benefits to rise in April
Most benefits including Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will increase by 10.1 percent with the new tax year in April, as well as the state pension.
The full list of benefits which will see an increase in payment from April include:
- Universal Credit
- Housing benefit
- Pension Credit
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Employment Support Allowance
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay
- Maternity Allowance
- Income Support
- Personal Independence Payment
- State Pension
- Widows Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Industrial Death Benefit
- Incapacity benefits
- Bereavement Benefit.
The Universal Credit standard allowance will increase from:
2022-23 – single person – £265.31
2023-24 – single persons – £292.11
2022-23 – joint claimants – £416.45
2023-24 – joint claimants – £458.51
2022-23 – single person – £334.91
2023-24 – single person – £368.74
2022-23 – joint claimants – £525.72
2023-24 – joint claimants – £578.82
Benefit Cap increase
As announced in the Autumn Statement, the benefit cap is increasing by 10.1 percent. This is the maximum amount of benefits a person can claim from the Government.
- Annual cap for couples and families in Greater London – Increasing from £23,000 to £25,323 (Monthly equivalent: £1,916.67 to £2,110.25)
- Annual cap for single adults in Greater London – Increasing from £15,410 to £16,967 (Monthly equivalent: £1,284.17 to £1,413.92)
- Annual cap for couples and families in the rest of the country – Increasing from £20,000 to £22,020 (Monthly equivalent: £1,667.67 to £1,835)
- Annual cap for single adults in the rest of the country – Increasing from £13,400 to £14,753 (Monthly equivalent: £1,116.67 to £1,229.42)
State pension triple lock reinstated
The triple lock policy guarantees the state pension rises by the highest of average earnings, the CPI measure for inflation and 2.5 percent.
This means the full state pension will rise from £185.15 to £203.85 per week while the basic state pension will increase from £141.85 per week to £156.20 a week.
Cold Weather Payments replaced in Scotland
Beginning in February, the Cold Weather Payment will be replaced in Scotland with a new benefit called the Winter Heating Payment.
Cold Weather Payments pay £25 to people on certain benefits when temperatures fall, or are forecasted to be below, freezing for seven consecutive days.
The Winter Heating Payment will instead pay a one-off payment of £50 to people who meet the same criteria, regardless of the weather.
Changes to child Disability Living Allowance in Scotland
All claimants of Disability Living Allowance will be moved over to Scottish Disability Payment by spring 2023.
The Support for Mortgage Interest scheme is also changing. This is a loan to help pay the interest on a person’s mortgage or other home loans, for people who claim certain benefits.
The waiting period will be reduced from nine months to three months while the zero earnings rule will stay unchanged.
Switch to Scottish Carer’s Allowance
The Scottish Government is replacing Carer’s Allowance by the end of the year with the new benefits to be fully rolled out in Spring 2024.
It is being replaced by Scottish Carer’s Assistance, with monthly payments to be increased by around 13 percent.
More people to migrate to Universal Credit
More people on legacy benefits, the older benefits that Universal Credit is gradually replacing, will be moved onto the new scheme.
The process restarted in November 2022 and is set to be completed by 2026. However, claimants of Employment and Support Allowance who do not get Tax Credits will be moved onto Universal Credit in 2028.
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