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Working while in the LCW group?

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maxwilkes
maxwilkes Community member Posts: 3 Listener
I receive PIP standard daily living and enhanced mobility and live in supported accommodation (semi independent living) due to autism support needs and severe social anxiety. I’ve been on universal credit for a few years now and was assessed as being LCW (not LCWRA) in 2019. I get standard universal credit allowance but also have transitional protection of £285. I’ve been working towards getting into (part time) work for a while now and am potentially suitable for a role that can work around my support needs (according to the employer). The job centre have repeatedly reassured me that I will definitely be better off in work than on benefits. Due to debt repayment plans for large amounts of debt accumulated over the years as well as ongoing bills and support costs for which the disability benefits assist virtually all my (current) benefit income is gone on bills leaving me, currently, with just under £100 a month to buy food. (Around £50 a fortnight). If it wasn’t for my huge debt I’d have quite a bit more money potentially but right now I get around £1000 a month in benefits and I barely see any of that money. I get by but there’s nothing leftover really and I’ve always wanted to get into work so I can earn some EXTRA money. After all that’s what working is all about right? Being able to live but also having a healthy (yet not exuberant unless you’re a high earner) amount of disposable income on top.

Anyway I’ve been informed by my work coach that because I’m LCW the work allowance applies to me which means if I were to get a part time role…according to conversations with the potential recruitment agency you could see temporary contracts as and when they’re available and it would be £9 an hour (less breaks and travel time) for each full hour worked. While I’m currently on LCW the first approximately £300 would be untouched right? In which case I’d be at least around that amount a month better off which would be a life changer for me.

however, my fear is…what if I start working? Then the DWP decide I’m now no longer LCW and then my work allowance just stops…what if, as it would be part time, I only earn say £300 a month in total contracts that month…well…then I’m no better off at all am I? So where’s the incentive? Or am I missing something here?

As long as I stay in LCW I’ll be fine but if they take me off it I’m afraid I’ll be no better off in work than I was before…or if I am better off it’ll be so little it won’t really feel worth it. Does anyone have any real life experience of what to expect? Because, apart from my fears, I have no clue.

Not seeking full time roles. My work coach says because I’m LCW she’s not making me look for work but she’s aware I'm keen and have been for a while and is therefore assisting me but she is also realistic so is focusing on part time roles, not full time roles. The potential role in question which looks like it really could work out after discussions with the employer would be contract based via an agency where they recruit you out. And I’ve been informed some months there could be a lot of work available, other months barely any…if any at all. If that helps.

But I absolutely NEED to be better off in work. And not just £20 a month or something ridiculous like that. The current work allowance for LCW of around £300 really appeals to me. If I could be around that a month better off it’ll feel really worthwhile to me. But if they take that away I could end up being worse off/no better off at all if I’m only doing part time…that’s my fear.

Comments

  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2022
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    If your UC includes the housing element then the Work Allowance is £335/month. That much is ignored. Above this there will be a deduction of 55% of the earnings,

    If you were to earn £500/month the reduction in your UC would be £500 - £335 = £165 x 55% = £90.75. From the £500 you would therefore keep £409.25.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • maxwilkes
    maxwilkes Community member Posts: 3 Listener
    edited February 2022
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    calcotti said:
    If your UC includes the housing element then the Work Allowance is £335/month. That much is ignored. Above this there will be a deduction of 55% of the earnings,

    If you were to earn £500/month the reduction in your UC would be £500 - £335 = £165 x 55% = £90.75. From the £500 you would therefore keep £409.25.
    That sounds like a decent EXTRA amount of money a month…of course depending on amount of hours available over the month. I’d personally be happy with £200-£300 extra a month but obviously more hours would be even better. What I don’t want though is to lose money or end up being barely any better off…for example if they take me off LCW and I end up earning over £300 a month but because they took me off LCW I end up losing all or most of my UC and consequently end up no better off or barely any better off than I was before which would mean I’m working, unlike before, but in no better a financial situation. My fear is that they (DWP) turn round and say “well you’re working now we see no reason why you should be LCW” as an excuse to take away the work allowance and save them money. I understand if I was to work full time, a full 40 hour week, I’d earn about £200-£300 more than I currently do on benefits. But because I’d only be working part time I absolutely need to not lose the work allowance otherwise I’d be barely any better off in work. What’s likely to happen do you know? Anyone here managed to work part time but remain in the LCW group?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,031 Disability Gamechanger
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    If the work you do contradicts the reasons why you were found to have LCW then the decision could go against you when you're next reassessed. We can't tell you whether this would definitely happen because we don't know anything about your conditions or the reasons why you were found to have LCW.
    You can't really compare others to yourself because everyone is different.
    The same applies for PIP, lots of people work and claim PIP but there could be problems when you're reviewed if the work you do contradicts the reasons you're claiming PIP.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
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    maxwilkes said:..if they take me off LCW and I end up earning over £300 a month but because they took me off LCW I end up losing all or most of my UC 
    You will continue to have LCW until such time as you are reassessed and following reassessment will either be found Fit for Work, to still have LCW, or to have LCWRA. If the work you do clearly contradicts the reason you currently have LCW that might prompt a reassessment but you can be reassessed at any time anyway.

    If you did not have LCW you would not have a Work Allowance but you would still keep 45% of what you earn so would still be financially better off (along with satisfying your wish to work).
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • maxwilkes
    maxwilkes Community member Posts: 3 Listener
    edited February 2022
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    calcotti said:
    maxwilkes said:..if they take me off LCW and I end up earning over £300 a month but because they took me off LCW I end up losing all or most of my UC 
    You will continue to have LCW until such time as you are reassessed and following reassessment will either be found Fit for Work, to still have LCW, or to have LCWRA. If the work you do clearly contradicts the reason you currently have LCW that might prompt a reassessment but you can be reassessed at any time anyway.

    If you did not have LCW you would not have a Work Allowance but you would still keep 45% of what you earn so would still be financially better off (along with satisfying your wish to work).
    I’m speaking to my work coach today so I’m going to ask her these questions because, all along, she’s been selling it to me as the first £290 you earn won’t affect your benefits. As previously mentioned though I believe that £290 is now £335. Due to my support needs finding suitable employment has been very difficult and this particular employer has found quiet places for me to work and agreed he’ll only contract me out to jobs he deems suitable which he’s been keen to tell me “limits the amount of work I can offer you”. But he’ll do his best. I’m well aware this will very much be a part time role and that, sometimes, there might well be very little or no opportunities available. But when there is a suitable opportunity available I’d like to think completing that contract would earn me a healthy amount of extra income that month. For example say I were to work 7 days over the course of a month and accumulate say 40 hours over the course of the month that equates to about a week worth of earnings which is around £300. I’d like to think I’d see most of that money and not end up losing it to cuts elsewhere. As I’m sure you’re aware I’m trying to improve my financial situation not risk anxiety meltdowns going to all this extra effort in my life which I will admit is new territory for me just to end up not much better off than I was before. As I mentioned before I’d like an extra £200-£300 a month as that’s what’s been sold to me since the beginning. Also…the £285 transitional protection I receive? Will that be factored into deductions too? Or is it just the standard UC they deduct from?
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2022
    Options
    maxwilkes said: ..she’s been selling it to me as the first £290 you earn won’t affect your benefits. As previously mentioned though I believe that £290 is now £335. 
    Correct, as previously advised. The amount was changed in late November last year.
    maxwilkes said: Also…the £285 transitional protection I receive? Will that be factored into deductions too? Or is it just the standard UC they deduct from?
    The transitional protection is not affected by you working. It will  continue to be included in the calculation of the maximum UC amount.

    The earnings deduction is taken from your UC maximum amount which includes all elements of the UC calculation.

    (Note - in April the standard allowance will increase, your transitional protection will be reduced by the increase in the standard allowance. Your maximum UC amount will be unchanged. Similarly if your housing element goes up your transitional protection will decrease.) 
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
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