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Chapter R3: JSA claimant responsibilities - the claimant commitment

Contents
What the claimant commitment is
R3001:Introduction
R3004:Information included in the claimant commitment
R3006:Accepting the claimant commitment
R3008:Date of acceptance of the claimant commitment
R3015:Extending the period of time to accept the claimant commitment
R3020:Exceptions to the requirement to accept the claimant commitment
R3021:Lacking capacity
R3025:Exceptional circumstances
R3030:Reviewing the claimant commitment

Chapter R3: JSA claimant responsibilities - the claimant commitment

What the claimant commitment is

R3001 Introduction

It is a condition of entitlement to JSA that a claimant has accepted a claimant
commitment (1). Unless a claimant commitment
1. has been accepted or
2. can be treated as having been accepted then there can be no entitlement to JSA.

1 JS Act 95, s 2(1)(b)

R3002

A claimant commitment is a record of a claimant's responsibilities in relation to an
award of JSA (1). In order to receive JSA without a reduction the claimant is expected
to carry out what is required of them as recorded on their claimant commitment.

1 JS Act 95, s 6A(1)

R3003

It is the responsibility of the Secretary of State to prepare for a JSA claimant a
claimant commitment. A claimant commitment can be
1. reviewed and
2. updated at such times as the Secretary of State sees fit (1). 1 JS Act 95, s 6A(2)

R3004 Information included in the claimant commitment

A claimant commitment must include (1)
1. a record of the requirements that the claimant must comply with in connection
with an award of JSA, or such of them as the Secretary of State considers it
appropriate to include and
2. any information specified in regulations and
3. any other information that the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

1 JS Act 95, s 6A(4)

R3005

The claimant commitment can be in any form as the Secretary of State sees fit (1).
The claimant commitment will be a written document which can be accepted in
various ways (see R3007).
1 JS Act 95, s 6A(3)

R3006 Accepting the claimant commitment

In order to be entitled to JSA, a claimant can only be said to have accepted a
claimant commitment where it is
1. the most up-to-date version and
2. accepted by the claimant in the manner specified in regulations and further by
the Secretary of State (1).
1 JS Act 95, s 6A(5); JSA Regs 13, reg 7(3)

Example

Jenny is in receipt of JSA. Her claimant commitment recorded that Jenny had to
complete some specific actions with regard to work search. Jenny has now
completed those actions so a new claimant commitment needs to be drawn up
reflecting the new actions which are required of her.

R3007 R3005

The methods by which a claimant commitment can be accepted by a person is set
out in regulations as
1. electronically or
2. by telephone
or
3. in
writing (1).
The Secretary of State then specifies which of these methods are to be used by a
person to accept their claimant commitment.
1 JSA Regs 13, reg 7(3)

R3008 Date of acceptance of the claimant commitment

There will often be a gap of time between the date of
1. claim and
2. acceptance
of the claimant commitment.

R3009

Where there is such a gap then the claimant can be treated as having accepted the
claimant commitment on the first day in respect of which the claim has been made.
However, the claimant commitment has to be accepted within a time specified by
the Secretary of State (1). This may be referred to as a "cooling off" period.

1 JSA Regs 13, reg 7(1)

R3010

The claimant commitment is generated as a result of a conversation with the
claimant. There may be occasions where the claimant refuses to accept their
claimant commitment. The claimant must be offered a cooling off period so that they
can reconsider. The cooling off period should be a maximum of seven calendar
days.

Example 1

Jack made his claim to JSA on 20.5.13. However, he was unable to be seen by the
Jobcentre to discuss and accept his claimant commitment straightaway. An
appointment was made for 28.5.13. When Jack attends the Jobcentre on 28.5.13,
he accepts his claimant commitment and is treated as having accepted it on
20.5.13. This therefore allows Jack to meet that particular condition of entitlement
for JSA from the date of claim.

Example 2

Chris made his claim for JSA on 20.5.13. A claimant commitment is drawn up but
Chris is not entirely happy with the requirements recorded on it. Chris's adviser
allows Chris time to consider the contents of the claimant commitment and the
consequences for Chris of not accepting the claimant commitment. Chris is given up
to seven calendar days to consider this. After four days, Chris decides to accept the
claimant commitment and so it takes effect from 20.5.13.

Example 3

Michelle made her claim for JSA on 20.5.13. A claimant commitment is drawn up
but Michelle is not entirely happy with the requirements recorded on it. Michelle's
adviser allows Michelle time to consider the contents of the claimant commitment
and the consequences for Michelle of not accepting the claimant commitment. She
is given up to seven calendar days to consider this. Seven days pass and Michelle
makes no contact regarding the claimant commitment. The DM decides that in
respect of the claim for JSA made on 20.5.13, Michelle is not entitled. This is
because a claimant commitment has not been accepted.

[R3011-R3014]

R3015 Extending the period of time to accept the claimant commitment

The period of time within which a person is required to accept
1. a claimant commitment or
2. an updated claimant commitment can
be
extended.

R3016

The extended period of time applies where the claimant has requested that the
Secretary of State review
1. any action proposed as
1.1
a work search requirement or
1.2
a work availability requirement or
2. whether any limitation should apply to
2.1
a work search requirement or
2.2
a work availability requirement
so long as the Secretary of State considers the request as reasonable (1).
1 JSA Regs 13, reg 7(2)

[R3017-R3019]

R3020 Exceptions to the requirement to accept the claimant commitment

A claimant is not required to meet the basic condition of entitlement of having to
accept a claimant commitment if (1)
1. they lack capacity to do so or
2. exceptional conditions apply and it would be unreasonable to expect the
claimant to accept one.
1 JSA Regs 13, reg 8

R3021 Lacking capacity

A claimant does not have to meet the basic condition of accepting a claimant
commitment where they lack the capacity to do so (1).

1 JSA Regs 13, reg 8(a)

R3022

In this context, "lack the capacity" primarily relates to those claimants with an
appointee acting on their behalf. However, a decision should be made based on the
available evidence as to whether or not a claimant lacks the capacity to accept a
claimant commitment.

Example 1

Paula has severe learning disabilities. She has made a claim to JSA with an
appointee completing the claim on Paula's behalf. After a discussion with the
appointee, Paula's adviser at the Jobcentre decides that Paula is not required to
accept a claimant commitment because her learning disabilities mean that Paula
cannot understand the expectations or requirements in connection with a claim to
JSA.

Example 2

Dai makes a claim for JSA with the help of his neighbour. The neighbour isn't Dai's
appointee but is helping him with the claiming process. During the new claim
interview with his adviser, it becomes apparent that Dai does not understand what is
required of him with regards to entitlement to JSA. The adviser decides that Dai
should be referred for appointee action. An appointee is later authorised to act on
Dai's behalf. Dai is not required to accept a claimant commitment.

R3023

Where it is accepted that a claimant lacks capacity then the requirement to accept a
claimant commitment is lifted. An appointee is not required to accept a claimant
commitment on the claimant's behalf and should not be asked to do so.

R3024

R3025 Exceptional circumstances

The claimant is not required to accept a claimant commitment where (1)
1. exceptional circumstances apply and
2. it would be unreasonable to expect the claimant to accept a claimant
commitment.

1 JSA Regs 13, reg 8(b)

R3026

Examples of when exceptional circumstances apply may include where
1. the claimant is incapacitated in hospital and is likely to be there for weeks
2. the Jobcentre is closed due to an emergency, for example, a fire or a flood
3. there is a domestic emergency preventing the claimant from accepting the
claimant commitment.
This list is not exhaustive. When determining whether or not exceptional
circumstances apply, the DM should remember that the normal everyday meaning
of "exceptional" is "unusual; not typical".
Note:
Once the exceptional circumstances have passed then the claimant is
required to accept a claimant commitment.

R3027

The DM has to take into account the circumstances of each individual case in
deciding whether it is also unreasonable to expect the claimant to accept the
claimant commitment.

Example 1

Norma made a claim to JSA but due to a fire at the Jobcentre was unable to attend
the meeting with her adviser to accept her claimant commitment. The DM treated
Norma as having accepted her claimant commitment and so Norma became entitled
to JSA. Now that the Jobcentre is re-opened, Norma is required to accept a claimant
commitment drawn up by her adviser.

Example 2

Roxy has made a claim to JSA. On the day that she is due to meet her adviser to
accept her claimant commitment she is, at short notice, given an appointment at her
hospital to have a long awaited operation. Roxy is expected to be in hospital for
some time but is unsure for exactly how long at this stage. It would be unreasonable
to expect Roxy to cancel her operation in order to accept her claimant commitment.
Once she has been discharged from hospital, another appointment can be booked
with her adviser to accept her claimant commitment.

Example 3

Ken has made a claim to JSA. On the day that he is due to accept his claimant
commitment, he phones the Jobcentre to say that he cannot attend because his
washing machine has broken and an engineer is due to fix it that day. However, Ken
lives with his unemployed mother and she can be at home for the engineer. The DM
does not treat Ken as having accepted his claimant commitment because it is not
unreasonable to expect Ken to arrange with his mother to deal with the engineer.

[R3028-R3029]

R3030 Reviewing the claimant commitment

A claimant commitment can be reviewed and updated at such time as the Secretary
of State sees fit (1). Where the claimant's work-related requirements change then the
claimant commitment should record this.
1 JS Act 95, s 6A(2)

Example

Roger has been in receipt of JSA for three months. He has no work and has failed
to find any since losing his job in retail prior to his claim for JSA. Roger has worked
in retail for all of his working life. Roger's claimant commitment includes his work
search requirements which are mainly centred on looking for work in his former
occupation. Roger's adviser at the Jobcentre decides that Roger's work search
should be broadened to also include work other than just retail work. Roger's
claimant commitment is updated to reflect this wider work search requirement and
Roger has to accept the updated claimant commitment in order to retain entitlement
to JSA.

R3031

Where a claimant commitment has been reviewed and updated then the claimant
must accept it in order to maintain entitlement to JSA (1).
1 JS Act 95, s 6A(5)

[R3032-R3999]