People could face Universal Credit cuts under new rules in force from today

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As energy bills skyrocket by 54% and the UK faces a cost of living crisis due to inflation, extra sources of income remain vital for people up and down the UK.

Universal Credit is one of those very lifelines and the payments can, for some people, make the difference between eating or going hungry and resorting to a food bank.

A 1.25% rise in the National Insurance tax, put into place by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, will also hit in April, 2022.

New rules have now come into place from today and carry some strict penalties for people on the scheme.

There are around 5.9million people on Universal Credit and just over 2million of them are in work already, but still claim due to low wages or part-time work.

The shake-up directly affects people looking for work and who are part of the Universal Credit plan, but people may face sanctions.

Here is everything you need to know.

What are the new Universal Credit rules?

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The new rules are supposedly designed to get people back to work more quickly, while the time claimants have to look for a new job is being cut.

Claimants deemed to be capable of work are now only being given four weeks to find a job in their chosen field. After this, they will have to look elsewhere.

Previously, claimants had three months to find a job within their field of speciality.

Announcing the change, the government said: "The changes in the regulations aim to support people into work faster as we recover from the pandemic.

"If people are not able to find work in their previous occupation or sector, they are expected to look for work in another suitable sector and this will be part of their requirements for receiving their benefit payment."

As reported by the Mirror, Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of the Learning and Work Institute, said: "This 'crackdown' won't make a significant impact on those numbers and it’s not where the real challenges lie.

"People who've recently lost their jobs are the most likely to find work quickly. To tackle current labour shortages, we need a more ambitious plan for people who have left the labour market, with support increasing the longer someone is out of work."

Could my Universal Credit be cut?

People could face sanctions if they fail to comply with what they agreed to when signing up for Universal Credit and this could mean a cut in payments.

When looking for work, people will have to attend appointments with their work coach at the jobcentre.

Understanding Universal Credit said: "If you fail to do what you have agreed in your Claimant Commitment without good reason, your Universal Credit payments may be reduced for a set period. This is known as a sanction.

"There are different levels of sanctions and they’re decided based on the reason for the sanction. If you have had previous sanctions, this may mean new sanctions will be for a longer period."

  • Universal Credit
  • Rishi Sunak
  • Jobs

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