factchecking myths and misconceptions about universal credit

“The DWP can sanction me if I don’t do something on my claimant commitment”

The short answer:

This is true ... but only if you didn't have a good reason for failing to do it

If you don't do something that you have agreed to on your claimant commitment then you can be sanctioned for failing to meet your work-related requirements. However this should only happen if you did not have a good reason for failing to carry out the activity. If you fail to do something, the DWP should give you reasonable time - usually five days - to explain what the problem was. A sanction should only be imposed if the decision maker decides that you did not have a good reason.

You should be notified of any decision to sanction you and you can challenge it by mandatory reconsideration and then appeal.

Tip: If something goes wrong and you miss doing something you have agreed to, put a message in your online journal as soon as you can explaining the circumstances. If you can't go online try and ring your work coach or make an appointment to see them. Explain any difficulties you had, eg childcare, family illness, or transport issues. 

Official guidance:

Chapter K2 of Advice for Decision Makers gives examples of what can be considered good reason for failing to meet one of your claimant commitments.

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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