What are the changes
From April, in England, Scotland and Wales, working-age benefits and Tax Credits have been gradually replaced by a new benefit called Universal Credit.
Initially a pilot scheme, from last month, anyone who faced a significant change of circumstances, such as when a child is born or starting a new job, was switched to Universal Credit, replacing:
Income-based jobseeker's allowance
Income-related employment support allowance
Child tax credit
Working tax credit
What are the rules?
Tougher sanctions such as the freezing of benefit payments kick in if a claimant, for instance, does not fulfil their jobseeking deal and fails to show they are determined to find a job.
To get Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) you must:
be 18 or over but below State Pension age - there are exceptions if you’re 16 or 17
not be in full-time education
be in England, Scotland or Wales
be able and available for work
be actively seeking work
work on average less than 16 hours a week
go to a JSA interview
What the government says
Minister for Employment Esther McVey says the changes mean the government is "ending the something for nothing culture".
What the charities say
The Charity Citizens Advice has called for an overhaul of the benefits regime, in the wake of a huge increase in the number of jobseekers receiving sanctions.
Charity Child Poverty Action said that 120 disabled people who had been receiving Jobseekers Allowance have been given a three-year fixed duration sanction since October 2012.
Oxfam said the new rules have left many people without food and basic necessities.
Who to contact