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Changing your claimant commitment

This advice applies to Wales

If you’re struggling to stick to the work-related activities in your claimant commitment, you might be able to get it changed.

Contact the Universal Credit helpline as soon as you can and explain why you need your claimant commitment changed - let them know of any changes in your circumstances. Ask for an appointment with your work coach to talk about it.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to this number can cost up to 9p a minute from a landline, or between 3p and 55p a minute from a mobile (your phone supplier can tell you how much you’ll pay) - you can call and ask them to call you back.

When you meet with your work coach, they should listen to you and consider your request, but they don’t have to agree to it.

Prepare for the conversation with your work coach

Before you speak to your work coach, think about what’s not working for you, why it’s not working and what you want to change.

Ask yourself these questions. It may help to write your answers down so you don’t forget anything when you speak to your work coach:

1. Have your personal circumstances changed? If so, how will this change your ability to carry out the work-related activities in your claimant commitment?

Some changes in circumstances mean that you’ll automatically get less or no work-related activities to do. For example, if you’ve had a child you don’t have to carry out any work-related activities for the first year of the child’s life. If you’ve become ill, had a bereavement, or taken up caring responsibilities, this may also have an impact on what you’re able to do.

Your change in circumstances might mean you get changed into a different work-related activity group. You should make sure you get put into the right group. This is important, because if you get put into the wrong group and struggle with the activities, you could end up getting sanctioned (ie have your Universal Credit temporarily reduced or stopped).

2. Which of your work-related activities are you struggling to do at the moment? What’s making it difficult for you to do these things? For example, it might be problems with your physical or mental health. Or, you might be struggling because what you signed up to in the first place wasn’t realistic or achievable.

Example

You’ve broken your leg. You need to rest at home for 8 weeks, and will have limited mobility for a few months. This means you won’t be able to attend your Jobcentre appointments or be available to take up a job.

Example

Your parent has become very ill and they’ve moved in with you so that you can support them. This means a significant amount of your time is now taken up caring for them. So you’re struggling to find time to carry out your work-related activities.

Example

You’re working a few hours a week but you’ve developed depression, stress and anxiety. Your doctor has suggested some time off work. You therefore may not be able to meet some of your work-related activities, eg if you have to look for a job with more hours.

3. What do you want to change? What can you manage to do? For example, you might want:

  • to work fewer hours without the pressure of having to look for a different job with more hours. However, you can only reduce your hours work if you are a carer of a disabled person, or you have a physical or mental impairment or in emergencies, eg domestic emergency, funeral etc
  • a temporary suspension of your work-related activities until your health recovers
  • to only look for jobs for a certain number of hours so that you can get home in time to pick children up from school

Try to speak honestly with your work coach about what work-related activities are realistic and achievable for you. Don’t be afraid to say if you think something they’ve suggested won’t work for you. You’ll get money taken away from you if you don’t stick to the agreement so take time to make sure it works for you.

Giving evidence

You may have to show the Jobcentre evidence to show your change in circumstances or why it’s difficult for you to carry out your work-related activities. For example:

  • a letter from a doctor
  • documents that show you’ve moved house
  • a child’s birth certificate

You’ll have to give them evidence within 14 days of signing the new claimant commitment. If you don’t know what evidence to provide, phone the Universal Credit helpline and ask them what will count as evidence.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to this number can cost up to 9p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile (your phone supplier can tell you how much you’ll pay) - you can call and ask them to call you back.

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