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1 Universal Credit work- related requirements Jon Shaw June 2013

2 Universal Credit (UC) Key changes: Replaces six different benefits with one payment Claims normally online Real-time earnings information from HMRC Single monthly household payment (may be exceptions) Rent paid direct to claimant Overpayments recoverable Basic conditions aged 18 or over (some exceptions) under pension credit age resident in Great Britain not full-time student (some exceptions) accepted a claimant commitment Financial conditions income low enough capital under £16,000

3 The UC claimant commitment Key features: Sets out the work-related requirements for a particular claimant Sets out amount and duration of benefit sanctions if requirements not met Sets out duty to notify changes of circumstances, consequences of failure to do so, etc. Acceptance of the commitment (online or face to face) is a condition of entitlement, unless: Claimant lacks capacity (normally if has an appointee) Exceptional circumstances prevent acceptance Both partners in a couple need to accept, or no UC paid (a cooling off period may be allowed) Can be updated by DWP as required

4 UC work-related requirements Each claimant is placed in one of these groups: No work-related requirements Work-focused interviews only Work preparation All work requirements (default group) Current systemUniversal credit system Conditionality largely applies to claimant only Conditionality applies to both members of a couple Little in-work conditionalityIn-work conditionality Actively seeking work defined by actions, not hours spent Work search means spending a set number of hours looking for work Detailed rules on exceptionsExceptions largely discretionary

5 No work-related requirements – who Carers (discretionary if dont get carer element) ESA support group Heavily pregnant or recently given birth Lone parent or main carer of a baby under 1 Over pension credit age Adopted within the past year Student with grant/loan income Young FE student without parental support Victim of domestic violence For 13 weeks, only once a year, must have moved out Earning above the earnings threshold: Different level for single/couples; and depending on other circumstances (complicated for self-employed people)

6 Work-focused interviews – who/what Main carer of a child under 5 Become a main kinship carer in the past year Main foster carer of a child under 16 (and for 8 weeks after placement ends) If accepted as reasonable: Foster carer of a child over 16 with additional needs Both foster carers of a child with additional needs Must participate in work-focused interviews when asked. Purpose includes: Discussing skills, experience, barriers to work Discussing support to move towards work

7 Work preparation – who/what People with limited capability for work (but not in the support group) Work preparation can include a set amount of time: doing training participating in the Work Programme doing work experience or work placements developing a business plan a work-focused health-related assessment having a skills assessment improving personal presentation Claimant can also be required to take part in work- focused interviews.

8 All requirements – who/what Anyone not in one of the other three groups has all of the work-related requirements Includes those in part-time work This is the default group – everyone is in it until it is determined that they shouldnt be Must meet a work search and a work availability requirement, and can be asked to prepare for work or take part in a WFI as well. Requirements can be waived in some circumstances

9 Work search and work availability Work availability: Standard definition of ready and willing to take up all paid work immediately Work search: Taking all reasonable action to obtain work, and can include specific actions Normally need to search for all full-time work paying minimum wage within 90 minutes of home Some flexibilities in regulations if already working, caring responsibilities or health problems

10 Work Search requirement waived Attending a court/tribunal or in prison Outside GB for medical treatment Partner, child or disabled person cared for has died within the last 6 months In drug/alcohol recovery (up to 6 months) In witness protection (up to 3 months) If unfit for work (up to 14 days, twice a year) Discretionary if: longer periods of sickness, temporary childcare problems, public duty, work preparation, temp. change of circs.

11 Sanctions A sanction can be applied if the claimant fails to meet work-related requirements, in most cases without good reason The length of a sanction depends on the failure, and which work-related requirements the claimant has The amount of a sanction is normally the adult personal allowance, or half the couple rate if one person is sanctioned Calculated at a daily rate – eg, £10.20 per day for a single claimant over 25 Sanctions run one after another and continue if UC ends and is later reclaimed

12 Hardship payments Payable only if a claimant over 18 has been sanctioned Must comply with work-related requirements now Must claim hardship payments Must be unable to meet basic and essential needs for accommodation, heating, food or hygiene Paid at 60% of sanctioned amount Must re-apply every month Hardship payments are recoverable from UC once sanction ends – must accept this to get one Recovery suspended if working over earnings threshold (ends after 26 weeks)

13 CPAG publications New edition of Universal Credit: What you need to know expected next month Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook redesigned to include information about the universal credit system New basic publications about other welfare reforms later in 2013…

14 Advice line for advisers: Monday - Friday 10.00 - 12.00 0141 552 0552 Email enquiries CPAG in Scotland Advice line

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