GUEST COLUMN: don’t put your benefits at risk

JobCentre Plus
JobCentre Plus

The scenario: ‘I am claiming Universal Credit but I have problems with my health. I am worried about meeting my ‘claimant commitment’. Is there anything I can do?

Roger said: Signing a claimant commitment when claiming Universal Credit means you are agreeing to take certain actions in return for your benefits.

Roger Naden, Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts.

Roger Naden, Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts.

If you do not undertake these actions your benefits may be sanctioned.

Jobcentre Plus has a legal duty to help people with disabilities and long-term health conditions to overcome any difficulties they may have because of their condition. This is called the duty to make “reasonable adjustments”. It is important to let your work coach know of any problems that you may be having and how they affect your ability to undertake your work related activities so that they can be written in to your claimant commitment.

Reasonable adjustments can be things such as altering the time or frequency of work focused reviews, availability restrictions, help with completing forms or using a computer and changing the type or location of work.

There are other examples of reasonable adjustments which may help you to comply with your claimant commitment if you have a disability or a health condition.

If you need more information on your right to ask for reasonable adjustments or you are having problems meeting your claimant commitment because of a health condition you need to seek advice. You may be able to appeal a decision to sanction you and if Jobcentre Plus fails to make reasonable adjustments it can amount to unlawful discrimination.

Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts can be contacted by phone, tel. 0300 456 8390, Monday to Friday. There are offices at Bridge Street, Belper; Town Hall, Bank Road, Matlock; and Castledine House, Heanor Road, Ilkeston. Outreach sessions are held at Amber Valley CVS in Ripley.