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Claimant commitment

Everyone on UC has a claimant commitment. It is a very important part of your claim as it details what is expected from you in return for your payment. Accepting commitments is an essential part of claiming UC.

 

Each commitment is based on individual circumstances and dependent on what labour market regime you are in. Both members of a joint claim will have their own claimant commitment which could mean they are allocated to different labour market regimes.

There are four conditionality groups:

  • All Work Related Requirement

  • Work Preparation

  • Work Focussed Interview only

  • No Work Related Requirements

If your circumstances mean that you fall into more than one group, the group with the lowest commitments should be used. Your commitments may be changed every time you report a change in circumstances.

If you are a single claim you will be lead parent/foster carer to any children on your claim. In the case of joint claims, you will nominate who is lead parent/carer.

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No work related requirements regime - working enough

If you are in the ‘all work related requirement’ group, there is a number of hours that you are expected to work. This should take account of your circumstances, responsibilities and health. The maximum is 35 hours per week. This is called Conditionality Earnings Threshold (CET).

 

If you are working and earning the equivalent of your CET at National Living Wage (or National Minimum Wage if under 23) you are considered to be working enough and will not be asked to take part in work focused interviews, work preparation or work search. For example: if you are earning £1400 per month, this is over your CET and you will not be asked to carry out further tasks.

If you are part of a couple, you can be considered to be working enough based on combined earnings if the earnings on the claim are above joint CET. This can apply whether both or only one member of the joint claim is working.

You will still be required to accept commitments agreeing to report any change in circumstances promptly. You must report leaving a job within 5 days. You can be sanctioned for leaving work without good reason.

No work related requirements regime - no work related requirements

You will not be expected to take part in any work related requirement.

 

You can choose to work if you wish and your earnings will be treated as normal. You cannot be sanctioned for reducing hours at work or leaving a job.

Work focused interview only regime

You will normally be asked to take part in mandatory meetings to think about work now and in the future and consider the steps you could take to prepare for work. These meetings are mandatory and failing to take part (without good reason) could lead to sanction. 

As part of the meetings a work coach should enquire what skills, experience and knowledge you have, help you to focus on the work you can do in the future and consider what can be done now to help you get work ready. They may also encourage you to take voluntary actions.

You can choose to work if you wish and your earnings will be treated as normal. You will be expected to take part in work focused interviews even if you work, unless you earn above your CET - 16 hours hours at national living wage (or national minimum wage if under 23). 

Work preparation regime

You will be asked to take part in mandatory meetings and activities that will be likely to help you obtain paid work, more paid work or better paid work. These should be set out clearly in your claimant commitment, after discussion with a work coach and should be reviewed regularly. Any mandatory commitments that you fail to take part in (without good reason) could lead to sanction. 

The maximum number of hours you can be asked to prepare for work is 16 hours but should take account of your circumstances, responsibilities and health.

This could include:

  • attending a skills assessment

  • improving personal presentation

  • taking part in training

  • taking part in programmes or provision

  • undertaking work experience or a work placement

  • creating and maintaining job profiles – however, you must not be mandated to use particular internet or social media sites (this must be entirely voluntary)

  • developing a business plan

  • searching for and undertaking voluntary work

This is not an exhaustive list.

If you have LCW, you may also be asked to take part in a work-focused health-related assessment with an approved health care professional but any commitments set must take into account your health and capabilities.

You can choose to work if you wish and your earnings will be treated as normalYou cannot be sanctioned for reducing hours at work or leaving a job.

If you are currently working but less than 16 hours, the number of hours you are working should be deducted off the number of hours you are expected to prepare for work.

All work related requirements regime - light touch

If you are in the ‘all work related requirement group’ and you earn your Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET), you will have no mandatory work related requirements - including work search.

  • The AET for a single person is £345 per assessment period*

  • The AET for a joint claim is £552 per assessment period*

*please note that unearned income and self-employed earnings cannot be used towards the AET. It is strictly only earnings paid by an employer and is reviewed each assessment period.
 
This means that if you have earnings on your claim that meet the AET your commitments should not include any work search and you do should not be asked to agree to be 'willing and able to take up more paid work'.

You can check your commitments by visiting your UC homepage and clicking ‘my commitments’. If you are in light touch regime your commitments will reflect the example below.

You must report leaving a job within 5 days. You can be sanctioned for leaving work without good reason.

 
 
 
 
 
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All work related requirements regime - intensive work search

If you are in the ‘all work related requirement’ group you will be given a number of hours that you are expected to take part in work search activities each week taking into account your circumstances, health and responsibilities. These activities should be set out clearly in your claimant commitment, after discussion with a work coach and should be reviewed regularly. Any mandatory commitments that you fail to take part in (without good reason) could lead to sanction.

If you are lead parent to child/children you will not be asked to work search more than 16 hours if your youngest is 3 or 4 years old and more than 25 hours if your youngest child is aged 5 to 12 years old. For other circumstances, the maximum number of hours you can be expected to work search is 35 hours taking account of your circumstances, responsibilities and health.

All work search activities must be for the purpose of obtaining paid work, more paid work or better-paid work. This could include:

  • carrying out work searches

  • making applications

  • creating and maintaining an online history

  • registering with an employment agency

  • creating and maintaining job profiles – however, you must not be mandated to use particular internet or social media sites (this must be entirely voluntary)

  • seeking references

  • any other actions which reasonably increase the likelihood of obtaining employment

If you are currently working but not enough, the number of hours you are working should be deducted off the given number of hours you can be expected to work in a week and be asked to work search the amount of hours that make up the difference. You must report leaving a job within 5 days. You can be sanctioned for leaving work without good reason.