Your claimant commitment

To get Universal Credit payments, you’ll need to accept an agreement called a ‘claimant commitment’.

This is a record of what you agree to do to:

  • prepare for and look for work
  • increase your earnings, if you are already working.

If you live with your partner, you both have to claim Universal Credit. You’ll each have your own claimant commitment.

You must do everything you agree to in your commitment or your payment could be reduced or stopped. This is called a sanction.

If a medical professional has said you might have 12 months or less to live, you will not need a claimant commitment and you will not get a sanction.

Agreeing your commitments

You will have a meeting to discuss your claimant commitment, usually at the jobcentre. In this meeting you’ll discuss your circumstances and talk about anything that could make it hard for you to do what’s in your commitment. For example, if you have a mental health condition, or if you care for someone.

You must accept your claimant commitment in your online account or your Universal Credit claim will be stopped.

Your claimant commitment is reviewed regularly and will change if your circumstances change. For example, if you get ill, your partner starts a job or you have a child.

If you need to look for work

You might need to look for a job. If you have a job, you might need to look for a better paid job or try to work more hours.

What you need to do depends on if you:

  • have a health condition or are disabled
  • care for someone
  • have a child under 13
  • earn above a certain amount

If you’re not able to work now but you will be able to in the future, you might need to prepare for work. This could include things like writing a CV or attending a training course.

Your work coach

If you need to look for work, you will get help from a ‘work coach’. Your work coach can help with things like applying for jobs, accessing training or looking for work in your area.

Attending appointments

You may need to attend regular appointments. These are usually in the jobcentre, but could also be by phone.

If you miss an appointment, you’ll need to provide a good reason for not attending. If your reason is not accepted, you could get a sanction and your Universal Credit payment will be reduced.

Managing your claim online

You will have to manage your claim in your online account. You might have to reply to messages, record your childcare costs, or tell us what you’ve done to look for work.

You’ll get a text or email when you need to do something in your online account.

You will also have to report changes in your circumstances.

Get help and support

You should contact the Universal Credit helpline for support straight away if you:

  • are unable to manage your claim online and need to claim by phone
  • cannot do the things you’ve agreed to in your claimant commitment
  • are unable to respond to a message or do something you’re asked to in your online account
  • will miss an appointment

You may be able to get a short pause or change to your claimant commitment in an emergency. For example, if you have a death in the family or are at risk of homelessness.

Help if your payment is stopped or reduced

If you do not do what is in your claimant commitment, you could get a sanction.

If you cannot pay for your rent, heating, food or hygiene needs because you got a sanction you can ask Universal Credit for a hardship payment.