Official: There is NO time limit for disabled people on Universal Credit to find a job

It seems strange to write a myth-busting article in favour of the Department for Work and Pensions, but it seems whoever told our fellow blog Skwawkbox that there was a two-year time limit for Universal Credit claimants with disabilities to find a job was misinformed.

This should come as a huge relief to many people who raised concerns after the article was published last month.

But it raises serious questions as to the information being circulated around the DWP.

This Writer, acting on concerns that the article was “fake news”, submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DWP on July 19. I received a reply today. It states:

“There is no Work-Related Activity Group in Universal Credit (UC). UC claimants are allocated to one of four legally defined conditionality groups, set out in sections 19-22 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. The requirements that may apply to claimants in each of these groups are set out in sections 15-18 of the Act. A link to the Act is provided here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/5/contents/enacted.

“Claimants who are expected to look for and be available for work must do all they reasonably can to find and take up a job. The Universal Credit Regulations 2013 regulations 93 – 99 set out the parameters for setting work-related requirements and regulations 101- 105 set out the different types of sanctions. A link to the Regulations is provided here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2013/9780111531938/contents.

“Sanctions are only used in a minority of cases when people fail to attend work-search reviews; fail to meet the work-related requirements they have agreed in their Claimant Commitment; fail to apply for work or take up an offer of work; or leave a job, without good reason. The DWP does not have any statutory powers to sanction or reduce benefit payments solely on the basis that a claimant has been trying but has been unable to find work within 2 years.

“There are no time limits for how long a UC claimant is given to find a job.”

So that’s that. 

The parts of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 are worth reading in their own right – especially paragraph 99 of the Regulations.

As regards the claims that the original article was “fake news”, I contacted Steve Walker, who runs Skwawkbox, on July 22, and he told me:

“Can’t say for sure where the activist who first contacted me got the idea. She begged me to put something out asap to highlight it – I checked it with three separate longstanding DWP contacts whose responses ranged from “yep” to “100 per cent correct”, so I ran the story.”

My experience of Mr Walker gives me every reason to believe that these are the facts of the matter. Apologies are due to anybody who was unduly distressed by the inaccurate information in the article published on This Site on July 17. Considering Mr Walker’s comments, and the fact that the DWP is currently trying to hide facts about ‘outcome reports’ on its fitness-for-work tests after lying by saying it did not hold the relevant information, I can assure all readers that it was published in good faith.

We are left to wonder about the quality of information being given to DWP employees, that made it possible for them to confirm the original allegations as accurate.


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6 thoughts on “Official: There is NO time limit for disabled people on Universal Credit to find a job

  1. Sue

    Sometimes staff may be advised of “direction of travel”? Or enthusiastic managers may see a way to meet their benefit reduction targets and how would a sick or disabled person contest this if done? Many may fall by the wayside while others who manage to complain are given an apology. The fact is that UC sucks the sick and disabled into the same regime, in the eyes of staff, as all other claimants. Also has Vox Political any info re the necessity of having a smart phone if claiming? Also re the intrusive nature of DWP staff phoning and wanting to know exactly where a person is and what they are doing?

    1. hugosmum70

      i sincerely hope they do not insist on people having smartphones. not everyone can use the darned things. apparently you cannot have the ionternet blocked on those as you can older models of mobile phones,. it doesnt apply to me i know (at least not unless they start wanting 75yr olds to look for work and work for their pensions.) but there must be a good number of people who dislike asmart phones, find them difficult to use,and ,if its true you cant block the net, cause financial hardship through inadvertently getting on the net because you have no idea what you are doing and have problems learning how to use them or your not quick enough or cant see the screens in certain lights etc, while i can use a computer with little difficulty and can do my own basic maintainance . can use a normal mobile phone to text, add reminders, and call someone but cannot cope with the net on them, (mine is blocked from it anyway) cannot see even my screen in sun or bright daylight. and how to use a tivo box for my tv is completely beyond my ken. can just about turn the tv on and find itv.thats it. must be loads of others with mental blocks on some of these gadgets.

  2. Dez

    Great news for a lot of folk. However being of a cynical nature I would just caveat a watch this space as this might be a cunning Con plan that is in the pipeline for future inclusion in the small official print. Ho hum

  3. wildthing666

    The job centre have asked for my phone details twice and both times they got the same reply “It’s for friends and family only and JCPor DWP are on neither list!” I think they just put that I refused to give them a phone number, or contact details.
    I am not in the city I was first asked but the second city place I am still there and they asked ONCE and got the “It’s for friends and family only and JCPor DWP are on neither list!” Reply, and they will get it every time they ask.

    They’ve tried everything they could think of but their best con they tried to pull was ” I would be sanctioned if I didn’t give them a phone number.” So I gave them the village pub number. When they said that I wasn’t contactable on that number I gave them the LGI switchboard after that they never asked again because they knew I would never give them a geniuine number I could be contacted on.

    1. Sue

      I had a DWP interview recently. No waiting room so I had to listen to all the conversations going on around me. One was a phonecall. The DWP worker insisted on knowing exactly where the person was and what they were doing. I’m guessing they had phoned the claimant on their mobile. It sent a shiver up my spine.

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