Renfrewshire Council

Your Universal Credit commitments and your work coach

Your claimant commitment and your work coach, your Universal Credit journal, If your circumstances change, sanctions.

Your claimant commitment

When you apply for Universal Credit, you will be automatically assigned with a Work Coach who will work with you throughout your claim.  How often you have to meet with your Work Coach will depend on your individual circumstances, and what you have agreed to within your Claimant Commitment.

The Claimant Commitment is an agreement of your responsibilities that you make with your Work Coach as part of accepting your UC claim. The Claimant Commitment is based on personal circumstances and it should be reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. 

If you are claiming with your partner, you will each have a Claimant Commitment and a set of responsibilities.

It is essential that you let your Work Coach know about any disabilities, caring responsibilities or childcare issues so that your Claimant Commitment is tailored to you and is fair and achievable.

You can find out more about your claimant commitment on the GOV.UK website.

Your Universal Credit Journal

Once you have you registered for an account and made your UC claim, you will gain access to an online Journal that you will be required to access and update regularly.

This Journal is how you manage your UC claim.  You may be given 'To Dos' by your Work Coach and you have to sign into your UC Journal to complete them. 

The UC Journal also lets you see details of your awards and payments, review your Claimant Commitment, detail what work you have done in line with your Claimant Commitment, e.g. what job searches you have done, and you can keep in contact with your Work Coach via the Journal.

If your circumstances change

Any changes of circumstances must be reported to the DWP immediately through your Journal within your online account, or by speaking to your Work Coach.  Failure to report changes in circumstances immediately could lead to overpayments or you missing out on the correct level of UC entitlement.

This includes;

  • Change in income
  • Change in household e.g someone leaves or joins the household
  • Starting or finishing a job
  • Change of address
  • Change in bank details
  • Increase or reduction in rent (landlords can no longer do this on your behalf as is the case within Housing Benefit)
  • Changes in health or being too ill to work or attend meetings with your Work Coach

Universal Credit sanctions

If you don't meet any of your responsibilities that you agreed in your Claimant Commitment without demonstrating good reason, your payments may be cut or stopped for a period of time. This is known as a sanction. 

It's important that you know what your responsibilities are and that you are able to keep to your claimant commitment. If there are requirements you do not feel are achievable, or if circumstances change, you should try and discuss this with your work coach as soon as possible.

If you think that your Universal Credit has been sanctioned unfairly, you can contact our Advice Works team for advice. They may also be able to support you to dispute the sanction decision.

You can ask for a hardship payment if you cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs, as a result of a sanction. Hardship payments are then recovered from your Universal Credit payments.