Jobcentre Plus sign

Plans for tough new Universal Credit sanctions

The Universal Credit sanctions plan means our payments and free prescriptions could stop if we’re not engaging with our work coach

If we’re on Universal Credit, we could face stricter rules if we don’t turn up for meetings or take work that’s offered to us.

The sanctions could include things like having our benefits stopped altogether. We could also lose free prescriptions and support with energy bills.

If we’ve been told we should be looking for work but aren’t engaging with the Jobcentre these new rules could kick in after six months of sanctions.

This would apply if we get the UC standard allowance only. If we get any extra child, housing or disability benefits we won’t be affected by this new rule.

Work coaches will be able to track our attendance at job interviews or events that have been organised by the DWP.

They’ll then challenge us if we haven’t attended something that we were supposed to. If we don’t have a good reason, we’ll probably be sanctioned.

Support to find work and avoid Universal Credit sanctions

It’s part of wider government proposals to get more of us working. Since the Covid pandemic, fewer people across the country are in work.

The ‘back to work plan’ will offer support to help people stay healthy and move away from benefits. It will also support them to find work (or better work).

The government says there will be more money to help people with mental health problems, physical conditions and heart disease.

For mental health, there will be nearly 400,000 more NHS talking therapy places over the next five years. 

Individual Placement and Support helps people with severe mental health problems to find a job that suits them while continuing to support them. This will be given funds to help an extra 100,000 people in the same timeframe.

And Universal Support matches disabled and vulnerable people in England and Wales with jobs. The jobs include training and support and there will be 187,500 more places over five years.

If we think any of these schemes could be useful, we should contact Jobcentre Plus. Or we can speak to our work coach if we have one.

Image: Richard McKeever / Flickr

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