The Spring Budget: Universal Credit and over 50s

The Chancellor presented his budget on Wednesday 15th March 2023 and announced some changes to Universal Credit and support for benefit claimants over 50.

Universal Credit Sanctions:

Sanctions will be “applied more rigorously” to force universal credit claimants without a health problem to search for work. New measures including automating parts of the process and training work coaches will be put in place to strengthen the sanctions process.

The minimum earnings threshold needed to avoid regular meetings with work coach is also moving from 15 to 18 hours per week and the partner of a working person will also now be required to look for a job.

Unemployment/Economic inactivity:

The budget announced incentives to encourage over-50s, who are on benefits due to poor health, and living with disabilities to move out of economic inactivity into the job market. The Government is proposing to scrap Work Capability Assessment and Limited Capability Work-Related Activity Element.

In place of the Work Capability Assessment, a new scheme called Universal Support will provide £4,000 of funding per person to help people with disabilities find appropriate employment opportunities.

There will also be an increase in the number of over-50s who get “mid-life MOTs” from the Department for Work and Pensions to help them assess their financial situation.

Another incentive will be a new apprenticeship, called “returnerships”, for over-50s wanting to return to work in a new sector.