Citizens Advice – Universal Credits Advice

Lesley Rose, Advice Services Manager for Citizens Advice Winchester District, shares her advice on Universal Credit.

Q.  I’ve recently signed up to Universal Credit after I was made redundant. I’m looking for a new job but is there more I need to do to ensure I keep getting Universal Credit?

When you apply for Universal Credit you’ll agree to a Claimant Commitment with your work coach. A Claimant Commitment is a record of the responsibilities that you have accepted in order to receive Universal Credit payments. Your claimant commitment will be updated each time you see your work coach.

When you agree to your Claimant Commitment 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 Universal Credit account online and checking your Claimant Commitment. If you’re not online, you will have been provided with a paper copy of your Claimant Commitment.

This will tell you which group you’re in and what tasks you’ll have to do regularly to get Universal Credit. 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 Universal Credit online journal, or in a diary if you’re not online.

Some claimants, mainly those who have applied for Universal Credit 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) has said it will be calling all claimants to help them to prepare for work, so people should expect to be contacted to set up the Claimant Commitment. They do not need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions in the meantime.

The DWP has said that they will take a common-sense approach to work-related requirements and that those who are shielding, have childcare responsibilities because of COVID restrictions, etc. will have their Claimant Commitment tailored to reflect their circumstances.

If you have a query about claiming Universal Credit you can contact Citizens Advice Winchester District on 0300 330 2183 or email them at advice@cawinchesterdistrict.org.uk

Encl: Photo of Lesley Rose, Advice Services Manager  

Notes to editors

  • Citizens Advice Winchester District is an independent registered charity and a member of the national Citizens Advice network of England and Wales.
  • –        Citizens Advice Winchester District is a highly regarded advice agency providing free, independent, confidential, and high quality advice to local people on their rights and responsibilities.
  • We do not receive any central government funding or financial support from the national Citizens Advice network. We are totally reliant on local funding and fundraising.
  • In 2018/19 Citizens Advice Winchester District helped 5,436 people with 12,706 advice issues and generated £909,874 for income gain for these clients.

For media enquiries only, please contact Liv Thomlinson, Communications and Development Officer – comms@cawinchesterdistrict.org.uk or 01962 848008.

Lesley Rose, Advice Services Manager for Citizens Advice Winchester District