Universal Credit for Couples and Families
Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. UC is replacing in-work and out-of-work benefits such as income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, and Housing Benefit.
For couples with children, the claim is made by a nominated parent for the family as a whole. One parent - designated as the "lead carer" - will essentially be treated in the same way as a lone parent while the other parent will be treated in the same way as claimants who have no children. See GOV.UK guide to Universal Credit and Your Family.
Lone Parents and Universal Credit (UC)
Lone parents are automatically be treated as the "lead carer" under Universal Credit. The following applies if the claimant is not already in paid employment. Once their youngest child reaches age one, the claimant will be required to attend interviews to discuss plans for a future move into work. As soon as the youngest child reaches three, the claimant will be expected to take active steps to prepare for work which might include training and work-focused interviews. When the youngest child is between age five and twelve, the claimant will be expected to look for work during school hours. Once the youngest child is thirteen, the claimant will be expected to look for full time work.
Self-Employment and Universal Credit (UC)
Universal Credit will bring substantial changes for the self-employed as the Government envisages a Minimum Income Floor, which will apply after the first or "trial year" of self-employment (known as "the start-up period."
Universal Credit (UC) Sanctions
It is the standard personal allowance and not the housing component or the amount allocated for dependent children which will be reduced if the claimant fail without "good reason" to meet the conditionality requirements.