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Single parents: Claimant Commitment under Universal Credit

Everyone who claims Universal Credit has to agree to a claimant commitment. As part of this, you might be expected to look for work, attend meetings at the Jobcentre or do activities to improve your chances of getting a job.

There are different work-related activity groups. Which group you will be in depends on your circumstances.

These groups are called the:

  • ‘no work-related requirements’ group,
  • ‘work focused interviews group’
  • ‘work preparation group’,
  • ‘all work related requirements group’. 

Child under 1

If your child is under 1, you will be in the ‘no work-related requirements’ group. You won’t have a work coach and you won’t be expected to take part in any activity at the Jobcentre. However, you will still need to go for an initial interview when you first make your claim.

Child over 1 but under 2

If your child is over 1 but under 2 and you aren’t working, you might be expected to take part in work focused interviews.

If you are working, then you will be treated as ‘earning enough’ and so not obliged to do any activities at the Jobcentre if you are earning more than the equivalent of 16 hours earnings at minimum wage.

Child over 2 but under 3

If your child is over 2 but under 3 and you aren’t working, you might be expected to take part in work-focused interviews and work preparation.

If you are working then you will be treated as ‘earning enough’ and so not obliged to do any activities at the Jobcentre if you are earning more than the equivalent of 16 hours earnings at minimum wage.

Child over 3

Once your child is over 3, you will be in the ‘all work-related requirements’ group, so you might be expected to look for work and to be available for work. How much work you will be expected to look for is governed by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) guidance. However, this can sometimes be changed by negotiating with your work coach.

Child over 3 but under school age

If you aren't working, the DWP’s guidance recommends that if your child is aged over 3 and under school age, you will be expected to spend 16 hours per week looking for work and you will need to be available for work of 16 hours per week.

If you are working and are already earning more than the equivalent of earnings for 16 hours work per week at minimum wage, you will be treated as ‘earning enough’ and you won’t be expected to do any activities at the Jobcentre or to look for more work. 

Child over school age but under 13

If you aren't working, the DWP’s guidance recommends that if your child is aged over school age and under 13, you will be expected to spend 25 hours per week looking for work and you will need to be available for work of 25 hours per week.

If you are already working and are earning more than the equivalent of 25 hours work per week at minimum wage you will be treated as ‘earning enough' and you won’t be expected to do any activities at the Jobcentre.

If you are working and are earning less than the equivalent of 25 hours at minimum wage, but more than £338 per month you won’t be expected to look for work or take work. However, you might be expected to take part in work focused interviews and work preparation. You also might be selected for an in-work conditionality programme, which would mean you would need to look for more work.

Child over 13

If you aren't working the DWP’s guidance recommends that if your child is aged over 13 you will be expected to spend 35 hours per week looking for work and will be expected to be available for work of up to 48 hours per week.

If you are already working and are earning more than the equivalent of 35 hours per week at minimum wage you will be treated as ‘earning enough’ and you won’t be expected to take part in activities at the Jobcentre.

If you are working and are earning less than the equivalent of 35 hours at minimum wage, but more than £338 per month you won’t be expected to look for work or take work. However, you might be expected to take part in-work focused interviews and work preparation. You also might be selected for an in-work conditionality programme, which would mean you would need to look for more work.

Expected work-related activity groups

Youngest child's age Work related activities group 'Earning enough' threshold check https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates Hours to spend per week seeking work
0 - 1 No work related requirements N/A N/A
1 - 2 Work focused interviews 16 x National Minimum Wage N/A
2 - 3 Work focused interviews and work preparation 16 x National Minimum Wage N/A
3 - school age All work related requirements 16 x National Minimum Wage 16 (unless earning more than £338/month)
School age  - 13 All work related requirements 25 x National Minimum Wage 25 (unless earning more than £338/month)
13+ All work related requirements 35 x National Minimum Wage 35 (unless earning more than £338/month)

Date of publication: 10 June 2019