On 30 January 2023, the UK Government raised the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET), which means more than 120,000 low-earning Universal Credit (UC) claimants will start to move from the Light Touch regime. This will see them move from not needing to engage with the Jobcentre, into regular contact with a dedicated work coach. Those impacted will move into the Intensive Work Search group. The AET is a threshold of earnings from employment that determines the level of work coach support that a UC claimant receives. These changes are part of the Government’s plan to help UC claimants to earn more and increase participation in the labour market. An online digital explainer and further information is available in the press release.
Part of the changes include regular, fortnightly appointments with a work coach as well as claimants having access to the full range of Jobcentre Plus support, including the Flexible Support Fund to help address any barriers to progression. Work coaches will schedule these meetings outside of a claimant’s working hours. A claimant can limit their work availability if they have a health condition or have caring responsibilities - either for a disabled person or young children.