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Universal Credit Sanctions - How long will a Universal Credit sanction last?

Read our guide to Universal Credit Sanctions

How long will a Universal Credit sanction last?

The length of the sanction depends on what you are expected to do to get your Universal Credit and what you did to get the sanction.

High level sanctions

If you fail to apply for a job or fail to accept a job that is offered to you or if you leave your job without a good reason, you may get a high level sanction. High level sanctions usually last for 91 days. If you have had a high level sanction before in the past year, the sanction might last 182 days or 1,095 days.

Medium level sanctions

If you do not do enough to look for work or are not available for work, you may get a medium level sanction. Medium level sanctions usually last for 28 days. If you have had a medium level sanction in the past year, the sanction might last for 91 days. 

Low level sanctions

Most other failures to do what you are expected to do to get your Universal Credit will mean you get a low level sanction. Examples include:

  • Not attending a work focused interview
  • Not signing on when you are supposed to
  • Not providing evidence that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has asked for
  • Not going on a course that has been recommended as part of your work preparation.

A low level sanction is made up of a fixed period of time (usually 7 days) and the time it takes you to correct the failure.

For example, Mariam was supposed to sign on Monday but she forgot to go. She doesn’t have a good reason. She goes to sign on Friday instead. This is the first time she has been sanctioned. Her sanction period will be 7 days + 4 days = 11 days.

16 and 17 year olds

If you are 16 or 17 years old, a high level sanction will usually last 14 days (or 28 days if you have had a high level sanction in the past year). If you are 16 or 17 years old, a medium level sanction will usually last for 7 days (or 14 days if you have had a medium level sanction in the past year).

The DWP has announced that it plans to change the maximum length of sanctions but this has not been put into practice yet.
 

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