Universal Credit: Disqualification

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department is taking steps to reduce universal credit claimants' anxiety of the threat of sanctions.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Work coach discussions with claimants are designed to provide people with help and support. They will agree claimant commitments which are reasonable and tailored to take account of individual circumstances.

Work coaches must make clear, in a consultative and helpful manner, the potential consequences of failing to comply without good reason with the agreed commitments. They highlight that sanctions are not imposed lightly and only where the claimant has no good reason for failing to meet their commitments. They also explain the importance of letting their work coach know if they have difficulty meeting a commitment, e.g. telling us why they cannot make a work coach appointment. When considering if someone has good reason, the work coach will clarify if other factors should be taken into account, e.g. health condition, complex need or vulnerability.

When considering whether a sanction is appropriate, a Decision Maker will take all the claimant’s individual circumstances, including any health conditions or disabilities and any evidence of good cause, into account before deciding whether a sanction is warranted.

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