Am I expected to look for work?

Many Universal Credit claimants will have to look for work in exchange for receiving an award.

Everyone who claims Universal Credit has to sign a ‘claimant commitment’ based on their personal circumstances. This will outline what you need to do in exchange for getting Universal Credit. 

Someone who is unemployed and has no health issues or caring responsibilities will usually be expected to spend 35 hours a week looking for work. But this can be reduced or removed depending on your circumstances.

Your personal circumstances

Click on the headings below to find out how different circumstances affect a claimant commitment

Note that each member of a couple will need their own claimant commitment – this will depend on their own personal circumstances.

If none of the below apply then you will probably be expected to commit to 35 hours a week searching for a job.


  1. It is very important that you meet the conditions of your Claimant Commitment, otherwise you could receive a sanction (lose a large chunk of your UC). 
  2. If you have any problems that might affect your ability to meet your Claimant Commitment, for example a health condition or reading/writing difficulties or difficult circumstances, be sure to let your work coachknow. It is very important that your Claimant Commitment is realistic and achievable. 
  3. Make sure you keep a record of everything you do as part of your job-searching and work preparation activities.
  4. If you are sanctioned contact us for advice.

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Here are some examples of claimants and the level of work search that is expected of them

Mary will not need to look for work for a period of 6 months following the death of her husband.
Harvinder’s Claimant Commitment says he must spend 25 hours per week looking for work. This is because as his youngest child is aged between 3 - 12, he is allowed to limit his work search to part-time jobs that fit in with school hours.
Josh’s Claimant Commitment says he must spend 35 hours every week looking for work. Emily is not expected to look for work until their son is 3, but she is expected to prepare for work. Her Claimant Commitment says that she must attend interviews with her Work Coach, research the types of jobs she will be most interested in looking for and to write an up-to-date CV.
As her baby is under one year old, Amy has no work-related requirements at the moment.
Jackie’s Work Coach has agreed to reduce the number of hours Jackie is expected to spend on her work-search activities from 35 to 30 per week for the next few weeks.