Universal credit

Your claimant commitment

In order to qualify for Universal Credit, you have to meet certain work-related requirements which are recorded in a Claimant Commitment.

A Claimant Commitment is an agreement which details what will be expected of you in order to receive Universal Credit. It could involve actively seeking work and having regular meetings with your work coach at your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Disabilities, health conditions, caring responsibilities and any current employment or voluntary work will be taken into account.  In certain circumstances you may not have any work-related requirements.

Your Claimant Commitment can be reviewed and updated at any point during your claim. If you wish to discuss your claimant commitment we recommend that you add a UC Journal entry for the attention of your work coach.

This video gives an overview of a Claimant Commitment.

Voiceover: Everyone who receives benefits must sign what is called a Claimant Commitment. This is an agreement – a legally binding contract between you and the government. The government promises to give you money. In return you promise to do certain things about trying to find work. This agreement is drawn up between you and a work coach at the jobcentre.

Adviser: OK. We've got all you personal details, your work history and skills etc. Now we are going to talk about your Claimant Commitment. Do you know what that is?

Claimant: I'm not sure.

Adviser: Claimant commitment is the name of the contract between you and the jobcentre. You have to sign a Claimant Commitment and agree to the activities in it so you can get your benefits. Do you understand that?

Claimant: I think so.

Adviser: We'll talk about what's reasonable to expect you to do to try get a job. You have to tell me if you think you will have problems doing anything I suggest and why you would have problems, such as ill health or difficulty in reading or writing. When we have agreed what's is reasonable for you to do and we are sure you understand it all I will ask you to sign the form. OK?

Voiceover: You must tell the jobcentre if you have problems which might stop you from doing anything which is suggested. Everyone is different and you might agree to different things from someone else. They might agree to improve their computer skills.

You might agree to apply for a certain number of jobs every week. You might agree to attend a training course. They might agree to try to work for more hours.

But one thing is the same for everybody. The contract you sign is a legal document. Both sides MUST keep their promises.

Adviser: Are you sure you understand everything we have talked about today?

Claimant nods and says "Yes"

Adviser. Let's go over it one more time – do you know how many jobs you will be expected to look for each week?

Claimant: Yes.

Adviser. What else to you have to do?

Claimant: I have to write a CV and keep it up to date. log onto universal job match and complete on-line applications. I have to come here talk to a work coach every two weeks.

Adviser. Anything else?

Claimant: I have to go to any job interviews I am offered.

Adviser: Don't forget about the training. You have to attend training courses and improve your computer skills. OK. Do you have any questions before you sign this agreement?

Claimant. I don't have a computer and you say all this has to be done on a computer. What do I do?

Adviser: There are computers you can use here at the jobs centre and in libraries and community centres. If you don't know how to work a computer we can get you signed up for help.

Voiceover: Not doing what is promised in the Claimant Commitment – the contract you have signed – brings penalties. They are called sanctions and that means your benefits are cut or even removed.

Adviser: You gave us permission to look at what you have been doing on universal job match. We have done that and in the last two weeks you haven't applied for the right number of jobs we agreed in your claimant commitment. Why?

Claimant: I didn't think it was worth applying for some of these jobs. I would never have got them and one of them was about fifteen miles away.

Adviser: We made it quite clear when you signed the agreement – the Claimant Commitment – that you had to follow the rules or face a penalty.  You haven't done that and so you may be sanctioned.

Voiceover: So remember – if you receive benefits, the agreement you sign with the jobcentre is VERY important. Make sure you let the jobcentre know if you have problems with reading writing, counting or using a computer – they can arrange help for you. Other organisations which can help in different ways are listed at the end of this video.

Make sure you understand what you have agreed to do and make sure you do it. If you feel you don't understand, ask the adviser before you sign. It's not just about putting your name on a piece of paper and getting your money. You have to keep your side of the bargain. That way you get all your money and avoid any penalties.

For more information on the Claimant Commitment visit GOV.UK

If you would like more information or advice then please contact our  welfare rights service or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.