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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) and increase in hours

Pat Russell
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Employment Services, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

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Total Posts: 6

Joined: 21 September 2022

Hi there,

There has been coverage in the news this week, in respect of the AET increasing to £892 per month.

I have a client who works as teaching assistant and does 22 hours per week - this is term time only. So the change would effectively take her under the AET. My client is a lone parent and her five-year-old child is on the assessment pathway for ADHD/Autism and receives additional support in school (a claim for DLA is being processed, but the decision is still pending).

So while there are exceptions for carer’s and people with mental or physical health issues - that DWP can reduce the amount of hours a person has to work for. In DRH Ch17, page 116, it refers to “if you would otherwise only have to meet the ‘work-focused interview condition’ and/or the ‘work preparation condition’, you would only be expected to work just 16 hours a week. My question is under what situation would a claimant be expected to meet either of those conditions? I’ve read DRH extensively and looked online - but cannot seem to find any comprehensive answer.

If anyone could throw any light on my query, it would be very much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Pat

Elliot Kent
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Shelter

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Total Posts: 3168

Joined: 14 July 2014

There are two separate thresholds at play.

The Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) is what is being discussed in the news. It is always set at the same level regardless of your circumstances. If you meet this level, then you can’t be asked to look for work (although you can be asked to do other work-related activity) - but it is a binary thing; you either hit it or you don’t.

The Conditionality Earnings Threshold (CET) is what the DRH is talking about. This is separate and is based on the number of hours that the specific person is to be expected to work, multiplied by the NMW. If this is met, conditionality is turned off altogether. The default position is that this is 35 hours per week, but it can be reduced on various grounds including relating to caring responsibilities. The expected hours of work should be set at a level consistent with those responsibilities.

There is provision that people in the groups referred to in the DRH (mainly parents of children aged 1-2 and/or assessed as LCW) are usually expected to work 16 hrs per week. None of those groups seem to have any relevance to your case.

For other claimants, it is a matter of individual negotiation. ADM J2086 says that the hours should be set at 25 for someone with a school age child as a general rule (although other resources say 30 hours). But this should be flexible and if your client can explain why their child’s health limits her availability for work, then she can argue for this to be reduced.

You might hope that, in reality, whatever the situation with these thresholds, it will be accepted by the work coach that she is doing enough and that they will have something better to do than to insist on her running around trying to find another job which pays marginally more.

Pat Russell
forum member

Employment Services, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

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Total Posts: 6

Joined: 21 September 2022

Hi Elliot,

Thank you very much, for your definitive answer. It really has helped.

Kind regards,

Pat