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Universal Credit (UC) is gradually replacing tax credits, and some other social security benefits. Universal credit is now available across the UK and HMRC state that it is no longer possible for anyone to make a brand-new claim for tax credits. The only exception is for certain people who are granted refugee status. Instead, people are expected to claim UC or pension credit depending on their circumstances.  Currently, existing tax credit claimants can continue to renew their tax credits and/or add extra elements to their claim. See our existing tax credit claimants page for more information. Our understanding is that the majority of existing tax credit claimants will move to either universal credit or pension credit by the end of the 2024/25 tax year. You can find out more about this in our universal credit section. 

Updated on 6 April 2024

Work requirements

If you are claiming universal credit you will usually be placed into a work-related group. Each group has different work-related requirements. Some people will be placed in the no-work related requirements group. Your claimant commitment will show which group you have been placed into and what is expected of you.

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Universal credit and work

You do not have to work a certain number of hours to qualify for universal credit. Instead, the rules about the universal credit work conditions look at earnings and whether they meet your personal earnings threshold. Earnings levels in the system are set according to the number of hours of work ,paid at the relevant national minimum wage rate, the individual is required to work.

Work-related requirements

There are four basic types of work related requirements that you can be asked to do depending on which work -related group you have been placed in. These are:

Work-focused interviews

Attend periodic interviews to discuss plans and opportunities for returning to work (immediately or in the future).

Work preparation

Actions to prepare for work – such as attending training courses, preparing a curriculum vitae (CV) or taking part in the work programme.

Work search

Take all reasonable action and any particular specific actions to find work – such as applying for suggested vacancies or registering with a recruitment agency.

Work availability

Be available and willing to immediately take up work.

Work-related groups

The requirements that are imposed on you will depend on your own individual circumstances and what can be reasonably expected of you. To do this, you will be placed into one of the work related groups below which then sets which of the work related requirements above can (and cannot) be imposed.

If you have made a joint claim, you and your partner will each have your own requirements. You may be placed into different groups. The groups are:

No work-related requirements group

If you are in this group you will have no requirements to prepare for work or look for work and so will not have any work-related requirements imposed on you. You will be placed into this group either because you meet certain criteria (for example due to your disability or caring responsibilities) or because you meet certain earnings thresholds.

Work-focused interviews group

If you are in this group you are only expected to stay in touch with the labour market and begin thinking about a move into work, more work, or better paid work.

Work-preparation group 

If you are in this group, you are expected to prepare for a move into work, more work or better paid work by, for example, participating in the work programme. You are not expected to look for work.

All work-related requirements 

If you are in this group you are expected to look and move into work, more work or better paid work.

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