factchecking myths and misconceptions about universal credit

“I will be sanctioned unless I say I will travel for 90 minutes to get work”

The short answer:

Not always ... but you must give reasons why you can’t travel that long

If you are expected to look for work in your claimant commitment, you are normally expected to look for, and be immediately available for, work located within 90 minutes of your home, by your normal method of transport. If you fail to do this, it could lead to a sanction being applied, but your reasons for the failure must be taken into account.

Work coaches can reduce the travel time to take account of circumstances that make it difficult for you to travel to or undertake work in a particular location because of a health condition or caring responsibilities.

Tip: If your travel time would exceed what the DWP expects of you either for the outward or return journey, perhaps because public transport runs infrequently at certain times of the day, you should not be expected to take the work.

If your reasons for not taking or being available for a job is due to the travel time and you are sanctioned, seek advice and appeal the decision.


Law and case law:

Regulation 97 of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 sets out the travel rules.


Official guidance:

Chapter J3 of Advice for Decision Makers looks at work-related requirements, and paragraphs J3161 to J3162 give guidance on assessing expected travel times.

Need more help?

If you need help in finding out more about your rights and the options available to you, do consider contacting a local independent advice organisation. 

Enter a postcode on our advicelocal site to find details of advice organisations in your area. They will usually be able to offer free advice and support, and help to answer any questions you have.

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