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Universal Credit question and answers

Welcome to the first in a series of questions commonly asked by employers at Universal Credit events.

What are the benefits of Universal Credit for employers?
Claimants can be flexible about working more or ad-hoc hours because Universal Credit has no restrictions on the number of hours worked. It automatically responds to fluctuations in earnings, and allows claimants to keep receiving Universal Credit, making work pay.

How are claimants informed that they can now work more than 16 hours without losing their benefit?
Claimants can get help and advice from GOV.UK and from Jobcentre staff. Work coaches explain the changes at their interview when they make a claim and at further meetings.

How do work coaches help claimants increase their earnings and become more financially independent?
They explain how they can be better off working more. They encourage claimants to discuss with their employer how they can increase their chances of earning more, for example by improving their skills.

How is the information employers supply to HMRC linked to the DWP?
When a claimant is accepted as eligible for Universal Credit, DWP verifies their identity and Universal Credit sends an electronic message to HMRC. HMRC marks the individual’s record as being a Universal Credit claimant and automatically passes Pay As You Earn (PAYE) data supplied in relation to that individual to DWP.

How quickly does information that employers supply to HMRC transfer to DWP?
Employers should supply PAYE information to HMRC on or before the day employees are paid. PAYE information is sent by HMRC in real time. This is Real Time Information (RTI). HMRC sends relevant data on Universal Credit claimants to DWP several times daily. This means the information supplied will be with DWP on the same day or on the next day, at the latest.

What happens if RTI data is submitted late?
This could mean that your employees receive too much or too little Universal Credit. You could also risk receiving a penalty if you fail to submit PAYE details on time. For more information see the Running Payroll guidance at GOV.UK

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