Millions claiming Universal Credit will see their benefits impacts by changes being made by the Department for Work and Pensions.

With the cost-of-living crisis hitting home for much of the country, including soaring energy bills, some of the changes will see claimants benefit from support payments.

However, others will see them needing to meet extra requirements in order to continue receiving their benefits.

Here are the changes to Universal Credit happening before the end of the year.

Looking for work

The Administration Earnings Threshold is set to change on September 26.

The AET decides which group you are placed in, and this then impacts how many requirements you must meet in order to keep your benefits.

Currently the rate stands at £355 a month or £567 a month if you are a joint claimant.

However, this will increase from September 26 to £494 a month or £782 for joint claimants.

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If you earn more than these rates each month you will not be required to look for work and will have less contact with the JobCentre.

However, if you earn below this rate you will be moved to “intensive work search” and will be given a number of hours that you are expected to take part in work search activities each week.

Your individual circumstances will decide how many hours that is, with childcare commitments and health conditions being considered.

Cost of living payments

The Government paid the first £325 payment to Universal Credit claimants in July.

It was also paid to those on pension credit and those in receipt of legacy benefits.

A second £325 lump sum will be paid at some point in the autumn, taking the total contributions to £650.

The government also announced that households across England, Scotland and Wales will receive £400 to help with rising energy bills this winter.

The money, which is part of the Energy Bill Support Scheme announced in May this year will come in six instalments over six months to some 29 million households.

Households will not receive a one-off payment, instead they will see £66 taken off their energy bills in October and November, and £67 between December and March, the Government said.

Christmas bonus

Universal Credit claimants as well as those on other benefits will receive a welcome cash boost to help with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis this Christmas.

As energy bills soar, those eligible will receive a cash boost of £10 fro the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

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Although it is a relatively a small amount, will not need to be repaid and will not affect any other benefits you may receive.

The Christmas bonus will be paid automatically so there is no need to claim, and the payment will be received before Christmas.

Longer working hours

New rules will see Universal Credit claimants have to work longer hours or attend meetings with “work coaches” to keep receiving payments.

The current system says that anyone claiming the benefit and working a minimum of nine hours does not need to attend regular appointments at the Job Centre.

However, this will soon rise to 12 hours according to comments made by former Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey in June.

Managed migration

Managed migration is the process of moving people from six “legacy” benefits to Universal Credit.

The plans to move people over to Universal Credit will affect people claiming six types of support.

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Some people may be better off by moving over to Universal Credit and can opt in to change over.

Some people may also be changed over if their circumstances change. For example, if they move to a new address or change working hours.