What is a claimant commitment?
To claim Universal Credit, you - and your partner if you have one - will need to agree and sign a claimant commitment.
This will outline what you (and your partner) need to do in order to be paid, and continue to receive, your full Universal Credit award.
If you are fit enough to work you will need to look for work - most people fit enough to work will be expected to spend 35 hours a week looking for work. Some people- e.g. those with children under 3, will not be expected to spend as much time looking for work. And some - i.e. those with a child under one, who are unfit for work, or certain carers, will not be expected to do any work search.
Some part-time and lower paid workers will also have to show they are looking for more hours/higher paid work.
Peter and Sandy get Housing Benefit that covers only part of their rent as Sandy works part-time on a low wage. In 2015 they are transferred onto Universal Credit. As a condition of claiming, Sandy has to look for a full time job / better paid job. Peter isn’t required to look for work as he has been found unfit for work.
Failing to keep to your claimant commitment will mean losing some of your Universal Credit for a period - this is called a sanction.
Hardship Payments will be available to some people faced by such a sanction but this is a loan that will need to be repaid.
Ben finishes college in 2014. He is living in an area where Universal Credit has started. He claims whilst looking for a job. As a condition of claiming he has to spend 35 hours a week looking for a job. He fails to do so and his Universal Credit is reduced. He applies for a Hardship Payment because otherwise he will struggle to pay all his bills and his rent.
More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/404215/uc-and-your-claimant-commitment.pdf
Please note that the Association has two Welfare Reform Officers who can help you with any queries relating to Universal Credit. Simply call the office on 0345 177 2244 and ask to talk to Sandie Fitzpatrick or Kerry Brown.