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Last updated:
19/10/2018

What is the claimant commitment?

  1. Overview
  2. What is Universal Credit?
  3. How much can I get?
  4. What if I am working or studying?
  5. What if I care for someone or have children?
  6. What about my housing costs?
  7. How will income, savings and property affect my Universal Credit?
  8. Will the Benefit Cap affect me?
  9. How will I get my Universal Credit payments?
  10. What is the claimant commitment?
  11. Can I appeal if I disagree with a decision?
  12. When will I have to claim?
  13. Next steps

You may be able to look for or prepare for work and in this situation, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will expect you to do this to claim Universal Credit (UC). If you have a part-time job, you may have to look for more work and if you are in a low paid job, you may have to look for a higher paid one.  

If you claim UC and are looking for work, you must agree to a list of conditions called a claimant commitment – this will explain what:

  • You have to do to prepare for, or look for, work
  • Will happen if you don’t do these things, and
  • Information the DWP needs you to give.

Depending on your situation, you might have to:

  • Show that you are looking for full-time work, and
  • Take some steps to prepare for work if you are too unwell to work.

You will have to go to work-focused interviews but if you are so unwell that the DWP does not think you should go, this must be a condition of your benefits claim. These are meetings with an adviser where you will talk about the type of work you can do and what problems you would have in work, and you will work out how to deal with these problems. 

What if I have to look for work?

If you have to look for work, you will have to be available to start work immediately unless you have a good reason why you can’t – this is the work availability requirement. The work search requirement is when the DWP will expect you to spend time looking for or preparing for work.

Your claimant commitment should say what meetings you have to go to and how long you have to spend looking for work. If you need the commitment changed, speak to a personal adviser at Jobcentre Plus.

What if I don’t follow the rules in my claimant commitment?

If you don’t follow the rules, you could lose some of your benefit – this is called a sanction. There are four levels of sanction the DWP can apply depending on what happens.

If you don’t follow the rules, you could lose some of your benefit – this is called a sanction. There are four levels of sanction the DWP can apply depending on what happens

If your UC is sanctioned at the lowest level, you will lose 40% of your standard allowance. This will continue until you start doing what the Jobcentre asked you to do or they say you don’t have to.

If you are claiming as a couple, you will lose 40% of the couple’s allowance if one partner is sanctioned and you will lose 80% if both of you are sanctioned.

 

Hardship payments

If the DWP sanction your benefit, you may be able to apply for help through a hardship payment. The DWP must pay you some money if you:

  • Cannot pay for important things like rent, heating, food and hygiene,
  • Have tried to spend less and get other kinds of support, or
  • Have met all work-related requirements in the previous seven days.

You will have to apply for a hardship payment every month if you need it but you will have to pay it back using 15% of how much UC you get.

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Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. What is Universal Credit?
  3. How much can I get?
  4. What if I am working or studying?
  5. What if I care for someone or have children?
  6. What about my housing costs?
  7. How will income, savings and property affect my Universal Credit?
  8. Will the Benefit Cap affect me?
  9. How will I get my Universal Credit payments?
  10. What is the claimant commitment?
  11. Can I appeal if I disagree with a decision?
  12. When will I have to claim?
  13. Next steps
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