Claimant commitment

Conditions for Claiming Universal Credit

The conditions for claiming Universal Credit are set out in a "claimant commitment" that you will have to accept at the beginning of your claim. If you are part of a couple, you will each have a separate claimant commitment that may be different from each other's.

There are 4 conditionality groups:

  • Group 1. No work related requirements
  • Group 2. Work-focused interview only requirement
  • Group 3. Work preparation requirement
  • Group 4. All work-related requirements

Group 1. No work related requirements

  • People who have a limited capability for work related activity because of health or disability (the equivalent in Universal Credit of the support group for ESA)
  • Lone parents with a child under one
  • The lead carer of a child in couple with a child under one (the other member of the couple will also be placed into their own group)
  • Carers with regular and substantial caring responsibilities ie 35 hours or more a week, for a severely disabled person
  • Those who are earning above their individual earnings threshold (which is set in terms of gross earnings exceeding the minimum wage times 35 hours or times 16 hours).

Group 2. Work-focused interview only requirement

  • Lone parents with a child over one but below 3
  • The lead carer in couple with a child over one but below 3

This group will be expected to attend periodic interviews to discuss their plans for returning to the labour market.

A sanction may be applied to your UC award if you fail to attend an interview. This sanction may be imposed for a period until you meet the compliance condition that you failed, or for up to 26 weeks.

Group 3. Work preparation requirement

  • Those who because of health or disability have a limited capacity for work ie the equivalent of the work related group for ESA
  • Lone parents whose youngest child is aged 3
  • The lead carer in couple with a youngest child aged 3. The other member of the couple will also be placed in to their own group.

This group will be expected to take reasonable steps to prepare for work, such as attending a skills assessment, improving personal presentation, participating in training or an employment programme, and undertaking work experience or a work placement.

A sanction may be applied to your Universal Credit award if you fail to undertake work-related activity. This sanction may be imposed for a period until you meet the compliance condition that you failed, or for up to 26 weeks.

Group 4. All work-related requirements

Anyone not mentioned above is included in this group.

This group will be subject to a work search requirement and work availability requirement, as they would under Jobseeker's Allowance. Personal Advisors will be able to order "Mandatory Work Activity" - a full-time work placement for four weeks. A severe sanction can be imposed if this is not attended without good cause.

A higher level sanction may be applied to the Universal Credit award for failure (with no good reason) to comply with the requirement to prepare or apply for work; take up an offer of paid work; or ceasing work voluntarily or through misconduct. This sanction could result in a reduction of your Universal Credit award, for up to a maximum of 3 years, depending on the number and regularity of such failures.

The expectation is that when in work people in this group will earn at least the equivalent of 35 hours at National Minimum/Living Wage. This is known as the 'individual earnings threshold'. So if you earn the minimum wage then you will be expected to work for at least 35 hours a week. But note that if you earn above minimum wage you could be lifted above your earnings threshold but work less than 35 hours - the threshold is measured in terms of earnings not hours.

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