The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shared details of how the Claimant Commitment will be reintroduced for people claiming Universal Credit. The Claimant Commitment is a record of the responsibilities that a person accepts in return for receiving Universal Credit, the rules have been relaxed throughout the coronavirus outbreak and sanctions were suspended.
The DWP lifted the sanctions suspension on 1 July 2020 and people will again need to demonstrate that they are actively seeking work in line with their Claimant Commitment. We have been advised that those claiming Universal Credit do not need to contact DWP, as work coaches will make outbound calls.
‘Claimant Commitments will reflect our ‘new normal’, acknowledging the reality of a person’s local jobs market and personal circumstances, to prepare them for getting back into work. We are managing this in a phased approach to ensure our Work Coaches can deliver an effective service in a reasonable, measured and safe way, taking into account any Covid-19 restrictions. Work coaches will continue to support claimants by tailoring claims to include easements where appropriate, whilst maintaining the ability to look for work.
We don’t want to sanction anyone. These are difficult, uncertain times for many people and we want to do everything we can to help them find work or increase hours, where that is possible for them. No sanction will be used until the claimant has a up-to-date Claimant Commitment in place. After that, a sanction will only be used where a claimant has not provided good reason for meeting the agreed requirements in the Claimant Commitment. Claimants who are shielding, have childcare responsibilities because of COVID restrictions, etc. will have their Claimant Commitment tailored to reflect their circumstances and will not be asked to do anything unreasonable.
We know that as jobcentres start opening more widely, your first concern will be the safety of customers in the circumstances, so we wanted to reassure you that ensuring customers and colleagues can attend jobcentres safely is our top priority and we are putting appropriate measures in place. Claimants who can use digital and telephony services should continue to do so for the time being.’