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SIGNING UP FOR UNIVERSAL CREDIT

Last month I signed up to Universal Credit for the first time, after I was made redundant. I am looking for a new job but I’m not sure if there’s anything more I need to do to ensure I keep getting Universal Credit?

When you apply for Universal Credit (UC) you’ll agree a claimant commitment with your work coach. This is a record of the responsibilities that you have accepted to receive UC payments. Your claimant commitment will be updated each time you see your work coach.

You will be put into one of four work-related activity groups (sometimes called “conditionality” groups). These set out the tasks you’re expected to complete in order to receive your full benefit payment. You can check which group you’re in by logging into your UC account online and checking your claimant commitment. If you don’t have access to the internet you’ll be sent a paper copy.

This will tell you which group you’re in and what tasks you’ll have to do regularly to get UC. These tasks could include writing your CV, signing up for job alerts or applying for vacancies.

In order to show how you have completed the ‘to-do’ list set out in your claimant commitment you should keep a record of the tasks you’ve completed, and how long they took, in your UC online journal, or in a diary if you’re not online.

Some claimants, mainly those who have applied for UC for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19, may not have a claimant commitment yet. Those who claimed before the outbreak will have had their claimant commitment suspended during the outbreak and had no work-related requirements imposed.

From 1 July the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be calling all claimants to help them to prepare for work, so you should expect to be contacted to set up the claimant commitment. You don’t need to contact them in the meantime.

The DWP will take a common-sense approach to work-related requirements and so if you are shielding or have childcare responsibilities because of COVID restrictions, etc. your claimant commitment will tailored to reflect your personal circumstances.

Get help applying for Universal Credit

Our Help to Claim service can support you in the early stages of your Universal Credit claim, from the application, through to your first payment.

Help to Claim is a dedicated service from Citizens Advice. It’s free, independent and confidential. Our trained advisers can help with things like how to gather evidence for your application or how to prepare for your work coach appointment.

Call our Help To Claim service free: 0800 144 8 444 (Advisers are available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)

Or call our Advice Line 0300 330 1164 (10am-4pm Mon-Fri or leave a message).

For online advice on Universal Credit visit: citizensadvice.org.uk/helptoclaim    

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