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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Conditionality and sanctions  →  Thread

UC, NRPF and conditionality earnings threshold

CAAdviser
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Please tell me if I am missing something.

Couple - one person has NRPF and has just been made redundant (we’ll call her Bella).  They have one child aged one.  Other person is furloughed but still on a good wage of about £1700pcm (we’ll call him Adam).

Assuming Bella is main carer for the child as she’s been made redundant, I have calculated that CET for the couple is about £2645pcm:  35hrs x NMW x 2 (as Bella’s circumstances are not taken into account and 35hrs is automatically used).

Bella cannot however be subject to WRRs as she is not eligible for UC.

So despite Adam earning a good wage and “working” full-time they may be subject to WFis and WPRs (light touch regime) as the couple earn under the CET?

Even when Adam returns to work he will still be earning less than the CET (about £2125).

While furloughed Adam could potentially say that he is the main carer and as child is aged 1 reduce the CET to £1927pcm (I believe it would then be 16hr for him as he would be in the WFIs only group and 35hrs for the NRPF person).  However, I think it would be difficult to argue he is the main carer if he as working and his partner wasn’t?

Thoughts?

 

 

Charles
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This is not correct. A member of a couple who is earning above his/her individual threshold is not subject to any conditionality no matter what the situation is with the partner.

The couple threshold is only relevant if for example one of a couple earns below their individual threshold, but their combined earnings are above the couple threshold, in which case the lower earner is still not subject to conditionality.

CAAdviser
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Reposted below with quote

CAAdviser
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Charles - 19 August 2020 02:49 AM

This is not correct. A member of a couple who is earning above his/her individual threshold is not subject to any conditionality no matter what the situation is with the partner.

The couple threshold is only relevant if for example one of a couple earns below their individual threshold, but their combined earnings are above the couple threshold, in which case the lower earner is still not subject to conditionality.

Hi Charles

Thanks for your reply.  Have you got a reference for this “The couple threshold is only relevant if for example one of a couple earns below their individual threshold”.  I posed the same question to our Expert Advice Team and they agreed with me so would be good to understand why you think the individual threshold applies first

Many thanks

 

CAAdviser
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Actually don’t worry I’ve found a source.  Thanks for your reply.

Elliot Kent
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Is the work coach actually applying any sort of real-world conditionality to this case? - if so it seems like something which can be trivially resolved by just saying “really?” in a suitably sarcastic fashion.

It’s in reg 90. Reg 90(1) sets out the IET:

(1) A claimant falls within section 19 of the Act (claimants subject to no work-related requirements) if the claimant’s monthly earnings are equal to or exceed the claimant’s individual threshold.

Reg 90(3) sets out the CET:

(3) A claimant who is a member of a couple falls within section 19 of the Act if the couple’s combined monthly earnings are equal to or exceed whichever of the following amounts is applicable—

(a)in the case of joint claimants, the sum of their individual thresholds; or
(b)in the case of a claimant who claims universal credit as a single person by virtue of regulation 3(3), the sum of—
(i)the claimant’s individual threshold, and
(ii)the amount a person would be paid for 35 hours per week at the hourly rate specified in regulation 4 of the National Minimum Wage Regulations, converted to a monthly amount by multiplying by 52 and dividing by 12.

The provisions are not exclusive of one another. There is nothing to say that someone who happens to be in a couple cannot rely on reg 90(1) if they exceed their IET.

The significance is that a claimant earning over the IET would exclude themselves from conditionality, but a claimant earning over the CET would exclude themselves and their partner from conditionality.

CAAdviser
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Thanks Elliot - work coach not involved as yet - we have to advise on what conditionality will apply as part of advising cl about making a UC claim as part of contractual requirements, hence my query.

“if so it seems like something which can be trivially resolved by just saying “really?” in a suitably sarcastic fashion.”  Will try that in the future; perhaps with the addition of one raised eyebrow combined with a look of incredulity….:-)

Think we may have cross-posted but I have found the regs and other info that confirms what you and Charles have said as detailed in my post above, but thanks for taking the time to reply.