Universal Credit and the Claimant Commitment

When you claim universal credit, you will need to sign a claimant commitment it’s important to understand importance of the claimant commitment in relation to Universal Credit, and how it affects recipients.

What is a Claimant Commitment?

In order to receive Universal Credit payments, you will need to accept a legal agreement known as a “claimant commitment.”

This agreement is a written record of your responsibilities regarding job search and income enhancement if you are already employed.

If you reside with a partner, both of you will be required to sign separate claimant commitments.

Your claimant commitment is a legally binding agreement that outlines your responsibilities and requirements for receiving Universal Credit payments.

The commitment is customized to your personal circumstances and takes into account factors such as your health, skills, experience, and current employment status.

Understanding and Complying with Your Claimant Commitment

It’s crucial to fully understand and comply with all obligations outlined in your claimant commitment, as any failure to do so could result in a reduction or suspension of your payments.

This is known as a “sanction” and can have significant financial consequences.


Sanctions can be imposed for a variety of reasons, such as failing to attend a job interview or refusing to take part in training or other activities designed to enhance your employment prospects.


However, if you have a medical prognosis of 12 months or less to live from a medical professional, you will not be required to enter into a claimant commitment, and sanctions will not be applicable to your case.

This exemption recognizes the unique and challenging circumstances that seriously ill individuals face and provides a measure of financial support and security during their final days.

Looking for Work

If you are required to look for work while receiving Universal Credit, the steps you need to take will vary based on your situation.

For example, if you have a health condition or disability, the job search requirements may be modified to accommodate your limitations.

Similarly, if you are a caregiver or have a child under 13, your job search requirements may differ from those of other individuals.

In some cases, the goal may be to find a job, while in others, it may be to obtain better-paying work or to increase your working hours.

If you are currently unable to work but anticipate doing so in the future, you may need to prepare for work, which may involve creating a resume, attending a training course, or engaging in other activities designed to enhance your skills and employability.

Examples of Universal Credit Recipients

  • A single parent working part-time, looking to increase their working hours or find a higher-paying job.
  • An individual with a disability that affects their ability to work, who requires support in finding suitable employment.
  • An unemployed person actively seeking work and participating in job training programs to improve their skills.

By understanding your claimant commitment and the responsibilities that come with it, you can ensure that you are meeting the requirements for receiving Universal Credit and avoiding any potential sanctions.

Content Updated 27/04/2023