***Mention Of Suicide***
As from next week the DWP are set to make changes for working Universal Credit claimants These rules if applicable could well see already working claimants being forced to undergo more job searching commitments and to look for a better paid job.
From the 26th September 2022 onwards there will be an increase in the Administration Earnings Threshold (AET). This threshold ultimately decides which work search group people that claim Universal Credit are placed in. This then results in decisions being made as to how many hours they are required to look for work whilst already working. This also applies to job seekers not working but placed in the intensive work search group.
It is estimated that around 114,000 people will be moved from the ‘light touch’ work search group to the ‘intensive work search’ group. From September 26, the earnings rate is being increased from £355 to £494 per month and from £567 to £782 per month for joint claimants
If their working income total is above these rates the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) will move working claimants into the ‘light touch’ work search group.
If a claimants working income total falls below these thresholds, they will be placed into the ‘intensive work search’ group. Whilst in the intensive work group they will undoubtably be put under more pressure to find more work and ask for more hours, if they don’t do as is asked of them this can result in their Universal Credit payments being sanctioned.
Each person that is moved into the intensive work group will then be informed about the amount of hours they will be expected to search for more work and they will also be asked to show evidence of their job searching and what is expected of them
Then Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey said the new approach will “help claimants get quickly back into the world of work while helping ensure employers get the people they and the economy needs”.
Unbelievably Coffey makes the above statement ignoring the fact that these working Universal credit recipients are already working extremely hard, often with more than one job. They don’t need introducing to the ‘world of work’ they’re already aware, they’re in it.
Coffey went on to say “Helping people get any job now, means they can get a better job and progress into a career. Way to Work is a step change in our offer to claimants and employers, making sure our Jobcentre network and excellent work coaches can deliver opportunities, jobs and prosperity to all areas of the country.”
Her statement proves that she has absolutely no idea of what the ‘world of work’ is really like. Employees can’t ask for more hours and receive them easily like she says.
Most low paid work is now part time, full time work is very hard to find. This inevitably results in people forced to work two or even three jobs to get more hours to reach the targets expected by the DWP. Coffey also omits to say that many employers also can’t afford to increase wages and employees work hours.
Universal Credit claimants are paid poverty wages hence why they have to apply for Universal Credit to top their wages up in the first place, they do essential jobs that the rich wouldn’t do and are often overlooked. Most are already working the maximum amount of hours that they already can work and to expect them to find more work immediately is completely unreasonable and is unrealistic.
Universal Credit recipients can’t drop prior commitments whenever the DWP requests them to find more work, it’s an impossibility for them to do so. Commitments are largely based around care for children or a loved one and the physical ability to be able to work, they’re already doing as much as they can physically do for very little, if any financial reward.
Whilst typing this I’m reminded of a conversation that I had a few years ago with a man that was told to search for more work and to commit to the job search rules. He was working difficult shifts, both night and day shifts and was exhausted.
Sadly he fell asleep whilst sat looking for work on his computer and his work coach sanctioned him for being a hour short of his job search commitments. This resulted in him loosing everything and eventually his life.
I don’t need to tell you that this shouldn’t be happening. I fear that this is yet another tactic employed by the government to unfairly push people away from claiming social security, to punish them for being poor. After all they don’t have any regard for their wellbeing this has been proven time and time again.
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