Universal Credit: part-timers to get monthly statements and texts from DWP
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Universal Credit and also in Central Government, Finance
The Department for Work and Pensions might start sending part-time workers monthly statements and texts to tell them how much better off they could be if they increased their hours, after Universal Credit is introduced later this year.
There are also plans for an online calculator that could inform benefit claimants "within seconds" how much more they could make if they boosted their hours.
Universal Credit, the Government's big shake-up of the welfare system, will replace six different benefits.
Ministers have insisted that the new system will make sure that "work pays" and not leave workers who increase their hours actually worse off as sometimes happens under the current system.
Part-time workers who are able to increase their earnings will be expected to take action to do so to make them less reliant on benefits.
The DWP believes that around 1m people who could reasonably be expected to earn more will choose not to when Universal Credit is fully implemented in 2017.
People who cannot work full-time - whether for caring responsibilities, illness or because they cannot find a full-time job - will continue to receive support.
The Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, said: "At the moment too many people are trapped working 16 hours a week by a system which means there’s no point extending their hours because they’d be worse off.
"Universal Credit will mean you’re always better off in work, so we want to find the best ways to help people increase their hours and boost their earnings so they no longer need to rely on benefits."
Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, said: "Under Universal Credit we will expect claimants to do all they can to improve their life prospects and reduce benefit dependency, such as carrying out job searches to find better paid work or increasing the hours they work.
"Today we are calling on employment experts to work with us to develop and pilot innovative ways for claimants to meet their commitments in return for their benefit. Text messaging and access to an online 'better off' calculator are just some of the ideas so far."
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