Avoiding sanctions

How to keep your full benefit and avoid sanctions

When you claim UC, you agree to a commitment with your Work Coach at the Jobcentre. This is a list of things you should do in return for your payments.

This includes attending appointments at the Jobcentre when asked.

If you don’t stick to this, DWP can stop or reduce your benefit. This is known as a sanction. The amount you lose and the number of days will depend on the reason for your sanction.

Important advice

  • Make sure your commitment is realistic and discuss this with your Work Coach
  • Understand your commitment and stick to it
  • Check your UC journal and any "to do" tasks and complete them immediately
  • Get support from local services if you cannot carry out tasks or do not understand them
  • Give good reason why you did not do what was asked- do this as soon as possible
  • If sanctioned, get assistance with mandatory reconsideration or appeal- do not assume there is no point appealing, decisions can be changed if good cause
  • The housing element of UC is not affected by sanctions and must still be paid
  • If sanctioned you can apply for a Hardship payment or Scottish Welfare Fund
  • If you are sanctioned you can ask DWP for a Hardship Payment. This may be granted if you cannot pay for rent, heating or hygiene needs for you or your family. You must be over 18 and each case is assessed individually. You will have to show that you tried to find money from somewhere else and only spend money on essentials.

For more information contact:

DWP Universal Credit Freephone Helpline: 0800 328 5644

Do not be tempted to approach money lenders as this could lead to more problems.