Parents to go back to work sooner

10 Apr 2017

Universal Credit conditions change which now mean parents will be expected to look for work when their youngest child turns 3 years old (rather than 5 years old as it was). For the first time this affects those with pre-school children at an age when childcare is the most expensive.

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work in England, Wales or Scotland (N.Ireland will start handing out UC in Sept 2017). It has replaced some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be used to getting now, including:

- Income based Jobseekers Allowance

- Income related Employment and Support Allowance

- Income Support

- Child Tax Credit

- Working Tax Credit

- Housing Benefit


Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears so it can take up to 6 weeks after you have made a claim, to get the first payment. Universal Credit is made up of one standard allowance per household plus any elements below which cover your family circumstances:

- Housing

- Being responsible for children or young people

- Disabled children

- Childcare costs

- An ill or disabled adult

- Being a carer

Before the latest changes, lone parents were expected to look for work once their youngest child was 5 yrs old and in full time education. On April, the 3rd 2017 this changed. As soon as the youngest child in the household turns 3 years old the parents will be forced to start looking for work or their benefits may be affected under the latest Welfare announcements. This change will mean thousands of parents might even need to start looking for work whilst their child is only 2 years old to make sure they don't lose out on income.

The Government have stated they expect this change will save up to £55 million by 2020. Has this change affected you and your family? Let us know what you think on our Facebook wall.