Earlier today the SKWAWKBOX published an article about the application of the Universal Credit (UC) ‘claimant commitment’ to disabled people. That article was based on information from a recent DWP employee and the details were confirmed before publication by a current DWP employee of 15 years experience. It indicated that disabled people not placed in the ‘Support Group’ by the DWP’s contracted medical assessors would have two years to find work and would then face sanction.
However, others have challenged whether the claimant commitment would be applied in this way, so the SKWAWKBOX has checked with other DWP veterans.
And has received mixed answers.
Some have stated that sanctions could be applied as claimants are removed from the ‘WRAG’ (work-related activity) group – but have pointed out that such sanctions would only affect the ‘standard’ element of UC and that child, housing and other elements would still be paid.
Others have said people face being kicked off ESA (employment support allowance) or the sickness element of UC after a period of two years because they failed their WCA (work capability assessment) – a deliberate decision to bully them back to work. People so targeted can appeal, but if unsuccessful then they are subject to job-seeker commitments – and sanctions.
In short, the only thing that appears universal about universal credit is the confusion among DWP employees about how it works.
So the real situation may not be as bad as sources originally indicated – but it’s so unclear that the only thing everyone agreed on is that the rules are opaque and confusing.
So don’t panic yet. We’ll bring you a definitive answer as soon as one can be obtained.
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