A MAJOR change to Universal Credit is planned and expected to leave claimants unhappy – here’s how to avoid losing out.
Those who receive benefits and refuse to take a job will now face automatic slashes to their handouts.
It comes after Jeremy Hunt’s new plans were revealed as part of the Budget.
The “back to work” rescue plan is in a bid to help Britain avoid a recession.
And now sources of the Treasury have said anyone failing to attend job interviews or refusing to take offers of employment will be sanctioned.
As it stands, jobcentres can dock benefits for those refusing to take a job however, this rarely happens.
New funding will now mean the Department for Work and Pensions will be able to automatically refer people who aren’t accepting the help to find employment.
A source has told the Mail the current system doesn’t act as much of a deterrent.
The source added: “There are many people at the moment who could be sanctioned for not taking a job but are not.
“Automation is going to change that.”
Anyone found to have turned down a job could see their benefits cut by three months or up to six months.
Changes in the Budget will also require people to seek more working hours – unless they are already working 18 hours per week.
Ministers believe the changes could see 200,000 people get back
into the workplace.
Mr Hunt said the new plan would hopefully break down barriers “that stop people from working”.
He said: “Independence is always better than dependence,
which is why we believe those who can work, should.
“So sanctions will be applied more rigorously to those who fail to meet strict work-search requirements or choose not to take up a reasonable job offer.”
The DWP insisted jobcentre staff would still have the final say over whether someone should lose their benefits.
A spokesperson said: “We are not and will not be automatically
“To help our work coaches, we are exploring how automation can
improve the speed and accuracy of sanction referrals.”