Agree your Universal Credit Commitment

Depending on your circumstances there are some things you will need to do to keep getting Universal Credit

Agree your Commitment

To get Universal Credit you need to agree your commitment through your online account. Your commitment sets out the things you need to do to prepare for work, look for work or increase your earnings (where appropriate).

You will regularly discuss and update your commitment with your work coach, and you will need to agree to the commitment each time to keep getting Universal Credit. 

The actions set out in your commitment will depend on things like:

  • your health
  • your responsibilities at home, and
  • how much help you need to start working or to increase your income.

Your work coach will contact you by telephone to discuss what activities you can do to help you move into employment and to offer support.

You will be given notice of your telephone appointment on your journal. It is important that we have this conversation with you as part of your Universal Credit application process.

If you claim Universal Credit as a couple, you will each have your own commitment.  Your commitment may be affected if your partner starts work or their circumstances change.

Your Universal Credit payment may be reduced if you do not do the things you agreed in your commitment and you cannot give a good reason to explain why. This is known as a ‘Sanction’.

If you are sanctioned, you will be told how much of your Universal Credit payment you will lose and for how long.

COVID-19

If you are self-isolating or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 you should let Universal Credit know immediately through your online Universal Credit account  or by phoning the Universal Credit Service Centre.
You will not be sanctioned. Universal Credit are ready to provide the help and support you need. Messages to your online account will be answered as soon as possible during business hours.

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to have an appointment at your local Jobs & Benefits office to discuss your commitment and make sure it meets your needs.  You will need to accept your commitment through your online account every time it changes.

Your commitment will:

  • take account of your circumstances, including if you have a disability or medical condition or caring responsibilities
  • set out what you need to do to prepare for work, look for work or increase your earnings, and
  • be reviewed regularly with your work coach and updated if necessary.

The things you need to do could include:

  • going to interviews in your local Jobs & Benefits office
  • preparing a CV
  • going on a training course or employment programme
  • applying for jobs, and
  • registering with a recruitment agency.

You must agree your commitment online every time it is changed.  If you think that you will not be able to do any of the things set out in your commitment, speak to your work coach straight away.

If you claim Universal Credit as part of a couple, you will each have your own commitment. Your commitment may be affected if your partner starts work or their circumstances change. You will need to agree your commitment on your Universal Credit online account every time it is changed

You can see your latest commitment and update the details of things you have done using your online account.

You must tell your work coach about any changes in your circumstances to make sure you keep getting the right amount of Universal Credit. Changes in your circumstances may also affect the things you need to do to keep getting Universal Credit.

If you have a health condition or disability

If you have a health condition or disability you may need to have a work capability assessment to check what you can and can’t do. This assessment will work out whether you:

  • have a limited capability for work (currently too sick to work)
  • have a limited capability for work and work-related activity (have a long-term health condition or disability), or
  • are fit for work.

Your work coach will talk to you about the actions you need to take to keep getting Universal Credit, based on your work capability assessment and your other circumstances. 

If you move from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to Universal Credit and have already had a work capability assessment, the findings of that assessment will apply until a new work capability assessment is made.

If you are currently unable to work, your work coach will support you until your circumstances improve.  During that time you may be expected to take actions to prepare for work.

If you become ill or disabled, let Universal Credit know through your Universal Credit online account.

Your Circumstances Actions

You have limited capability for work (you are currently too sick to work)

You will be expected to:

  • attend interviews with your work coach
  • take the actions agreed with your work coach to prepare for work (like going on a training course or updating your CV), and
  • report any changes in your circumstances.

You have limited capability for work and work-related activity (you have a long-term health condition or disability)

You will be expected to tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change

If you are fit for work

You may be expected to spend up to 35 hours a week looking for, or preparing for, work (depending on your circumstances).

Your Circumstances  Actions
You are fit for work

You will be expected to:

  • attend interviews with your work coach
  • take the actions agreed with your work coach to prepare for work (like going on a training course or updating your CV)
  • take the actions agreed with your work coach to find work, and
  • report any changes in your circumstances.

You can find more information on applying for jobs, advice on careers and looking for work.

If you have children

Children affect the commitment and actions expected of the main carer. If you are claiming Universal Credit as a couple, you will be asked to choose which one of you is the main carer.

Your Circumstances Actions
You are fit for work and your youngest child is 12 months or younger

You will be expected to:

  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.
    You will not be expected to take any other action.
You are fit for work and your youngest child is aged between one and two

You will be expected to:

  • attend interviews with your work coach,
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change
You are fit for work and your youngest child is aged between two and three

You will be expected to:

  • attend interviews with your work coach
  • take the actions agreed with your work coach to:
    • prepare for work (like going on a training course or updating your CV), or
    • look for work that will fit in with your child’s nursery hours
    • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.
You are fit for work and your youngest child is aged between three and four

You will be expected to:

  • spend up to 16 hours a week looking for work
  • be available to take a job of up to 16 hours a week (if you are offered one)
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.
You are fit for work and your youngest child is aged between five and 13

You will be expected to:

  • spend up to 25 hours a week looking for work
  • be available to take a job of up to 25 hours a week (if you are offered one), and
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change,

    If working 25 hours a week would not fit in with your child’s normal school hours, speak to your work coach.
You are fit for work and your youngest child is aged 13 or over

You will be expected to:

  • spend up to 35 hours a week looking for work
  • be available to take a job (if you are offered one)
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.

If you look after someone who is sick or disabled

If you care for someone who gets a sickness or disability benefit such as:

what you are expected to do will depend on how many hours you spend looking after them.

If you look after someone for less than 35 hours a week, or the person you look after doesn’t receive sickness or disability benefits, you should speak to your work coach.

Your Circumstances Actions
You look after someone for 35 hours or more a week

You will be expected to:

  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.
    You will not be expected to take any other action.
You look after someone for less than 35 hours a week

You will be expected to:

  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.
    Depending on the hours you are looking after the person, you may be expected to: look for work or take a job you have been offered.

If you work for an employer

If you are working you may not have to attend interviews at your local Jobs & Benefits office. This will depend on your earnings.

Your Circumstances Actions

You work for an employer and your earnings are over the conditionality earnings threshold

(See note 1 below)

You will be expected to:

tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.

You work for an employer and earn a low amount

You will be expected to:

  • do all you can to increase the number of hours you work
  • have telephone conversations with your work coach about how to increase your earnings
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.

Note 1 – Conditionality Earnings Threshold

Your earnings are above the conditionality earnings threshold if:

  • you are earning enough to not have to carry out any work-related activity, or 
  • if you are claiming as a couple, the total of your and your partner’s earnings are enough for you to not have to carry out any work-related activity.

If you are self-employed

If you are self-employed you may not have to attend interviews with your work coach. This will depend on your earnings.

Your Circumstances  Actions

You are self-employed and considered to be gainfully
self-employed

(See note 2 below)

You will be expected to:

  • tell Universal Credit your self-employed earnings each month
  • have telephone conversations with your work coach about ways to increase your earnings
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.

You are self-employed and not considered to be gainfully self-employed

(See note 2 below)

You will be expected to:

  • tell Universal Credit your self-employed earnings each month
  • attend interviews with your work coach
  • agree to your commitment on your online account
  • look for work, and
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.

You are self-employed and in the start-up period

(See note 3 below)

You will be expected to:

  • tell Universal Credit your self-employed earnings each month
  • attend meetings with your work coach every three months to agree actions to increase your earnings, and
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.

Note 2 – Gainfully self-employed

You are gainfully self-employed if your self-employed work is your main employment, you take an income from it, and it is regular, organised, developed and expected to produce a profit. 

Note 3 – Start-up period   

You are in the start-up period if your current self-employment started less than 12 months before you became gainfully self-employed and you are taking steps to increase your earnings to the level you need.

If you work for an employer and are also self-employed

If you work for an employer and are also self-employed you may not have to attend interviews with your work coach. This will depend on your earnings.

Your Circumstances Actions

You are considered to be gainfully self-employed

(See note 2 above)

You will be expected to:

  • tell Universal Credit your self-employed earnings each month, and
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.

You are not considered to be gainfully self-employed

(See note 2 above)

You will be expected to:

  • tell Universal Credit your self-employed earnings each month
  • look for work and
  • tell Universal Credit if your circumstances change.

 

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