Jobseeker updates to Universal Credit

Jobseeker updates to Universal Credit

Thursday, 27 January 2022

On 27 January the Government announced more changes to Universal Credit. This time it affects your job search and how you do this.

If you recently put in a claim, or are just about to, keep reading to find out what will be different…


What's it all about?

If you’re not working when you claim Universal Credit (but you can work) you’ll have time to look for a job of your choice - for example, in a role you’ve done before, or an industry you know.

After that time, you’ll be asked to look at other jobs – even if it’s a job role or sector you haven’t worked in before.

You'll be asked to make "reasonable efforts" to find work. If you don't, it might affect the benefits you get.


You had 3 months to look for a job in your field.

After that, you'd have to look at other jobs.


You have 4 weeks to look for a job in your field.

After that, you'll need to make your job search wider.



  • Need to get going on the job search, but feel like you don't know where to start?
  • Want to talk to someone about what goes in a CV or what to expect from an interview?

As a B3Living customer, you can get free help. We partner with local charity, JobSmart. Click here to find out more about how they could help you

Or click the link below for look at other options...

When you're looking for a job, you'll have a work coach to support you. They might put together some 'Claimant Commitments' with you. These commitments are things you agree to do in return for getting Universal Credit.

Reasonable efforts could mean:

  • Applying for jobs
  • Going to interviews
  • Doing a training course
  • Updating your CV

In the first 4 weeks, you can find a job of your choic

If you don't start looking at other jobs from week 5 onwards, the money you get from Universal Credit / benefits might be cut.

How much and for how long will depend on your situation.


A sanction is when your benefit payment stop, or are lowered. Sanctions usually last for a set period of time. There are different levels based on the reason you get a sanction.

You might get a sanction if you don't do something you've agreed to do. This might include things like...

  • Turning down a job because it's not a job you'd usually do.
  • Not going to an job interview that's been booked for you.

If you claim Universal Credit, but you get sick and can't apply for jobs, you'll have 7 days before you need to see a doctor.

After that, you'll need to see your GP, get a sick note and show it to the DWP (the Jobcentre).

Then this wouldn't apply to you.

But you need to make sure you've told the DWP (Universal Credit) your situation. If you haven't, you might need to go through an assessment.

Always check you're on the right benefits. If you're not sure, Turn2Us have great advice or you can contact us.

Technically, you might need to start making your job search wider before you get your first payment.

It usually takes around 5 weeks to get your first payment.

But, after these changes, you'll have 4 weeks to find a job in your area of expertise.