Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Coronavirus: Universal Credit - Claimant Commitment
Universal Credit - Claimant Commitment

  • Every Universal Credit claimant has to have a Claimant Commitment (with some limited exceptions).

  • This outlines what the claimant must do to be able to claim and continue to receive Universal Credit - often referred to as 'conditionality'.

  • The Claimant Commitment states in general terms what is required and the claimant will (normally) be notified via their UC journal of specific actions which they are required to take.

  • If the claimant (or their partner) fails to comply with any specific requirements without good reason, then their Universal Credit award is sanctioned - ie they get less money in their Universal Credit payment for a period of time.

  • Whenever a UC claimant has a change in their circumstances they should notify their work coach - it may mean that they have to have their current claimant commitment altered.

  • Where a claimant's claimant commitment is reviewed they will need to accept their new commitment online and within 7 days otherwise their claim will be closed.

  • Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all work search requirements were suspended until 30th June 2020, as was the requirement to be immediately available for work.  From 1st July 2020 new claimants are required to sign claimant commitments that include work search where appropriate, and existing claimant commitments were reviewed. However Job Centre staff have been advised to be reasonable in the light of claimant's personal circumstances and the local jobs market.

  • If a claimant is sanctioned then they should seek advice about challenging the sanction (and can apply for a Hardship Payment - a loan that may be given to help them during the period of the sanction). There is no time limit to challenge a sanction.

Frequently Asked Questions
I’m currently on UC as a jobseeker, but need to provide care for my Mum (who lives with me) as she's come down with Coronavirus. I’m worried that my UC will be sanctioned as I’m having to look after Mum and can't look for work at the moment. And we have no access to the internet at home.

Let your Work Coach know what is going on - if you can’t access the internet to get on your journal call the Helpline 0800 328 5644.

If you are having to self-isolate due to government guidelines you should be treated as having a limited capability for work. This means that your Work Coach should review your claimant commitment - so make sure you agree to your new claimant commitment within 7 days - or your claim could be closed.

After your mum recovers and you are no longer self-isolating, your work search requirements will probably kick back in, so look out for messages from your work coach and be prepared to start jobseeking again. But note that the DWP have been told to be reasonable in the light of peoples' personal circumstances and local job market. If you are asked to do something that you think is unreasonable, speak to your work coach and explain why you can't do it.