Universal Credit interview, work coach and activities

Your work coach

After you’ve applied for Universal Credit you are likely to be assigned a work coach by your Job Centre. This person helps you to find work (or more hours) and may give you tasks to do.

Your work coach may need to call and talk to you if:

  • They need more information to process your Universal Credit application
  • You’re a job seeker
  • You have a health issue or carer responsibilities preventing you from working.

You’ll also be assigned a case manager who deals with your payments from Universal Credit, and they may need to contact you too.

Most of the time though, your work coach and case manager are likely to keep in touch with you online, via the account you used to apply for Universal Credit. This account is called your journal.

  • Check your journal regularly for messages or tasks
  • Tasks are usually work-related activities that your work coach expects you to do
  • You may also get messages or queries about your Universal Credit payments from your case manager
  • You should get a text message or an email if you’ve been sent a message or given a task to do
  • It is important that you respond to every task or message your work coach or case manager sets. If you don’t, it may delay or stop your Universal Credit payment being made.

If you have any question or concerns, you can call the free, Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

Alternatively, please call us on 0300 5000 926 and ask to speak to someone in the Income team about UC.

Things you could be asked about

If you couldn’t verify your identity online when you applied for Universal Credit, you will probably get a call from your work coach – or someone else from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

If that’s the case for you, it may be helpful to have the following types of information ready:

  • Identity (driving licence or passport is ideal)
  • Address (official bank letter or utility bill) 
  • Bank details (statement)
  • National Insurance number (payslip or letter from HMRC) 

For a complete checklist of all the information you could be asked for, please go to the Citizen’s Advice Interview Checklist 

If you have any question or concerns call the free, Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

Alternatively, please call us on 0300 5000 926 and ask to speak to someone in the Income team about UC.

Preparing for your claimant commitment interview

You may be asked to do a telephone interview to find out which work–related activity group you should be in. 

This is called the claimant commitment interview because, after working our which activity group you should be in, you will be asked to sign a commitment agreeing to do tasks.

To help make sure you are put in the right work-related activity group, you may be asked some questions about your personal situation.

It can be difficult to talk about private things but it’s best to be honest about your situation. 

The types of things you could be asked about include whether you:

-    Have children

-    Have a partner

-    Will struggle to pay for childcare

-    Have a disability or a health condition

-    Look after someone with a disability

-    Have a partner, child or young person who’s died in the last 6 months

-    Are being treated for a drug or alcohol problem

-    Have difficulties reading or writing

-    Are homeless

-    Have to do jury service

-    Will struggle to pay for travel (your work coach might be able to arrange extra money to help)

-    Have experienced domestic abuse

You’ll also need to be ready to talk about your work history, covering things like:

  • Your qualifications, skills, experience and work history. It’s a good idea to take your CV (if you have one)
  • How much you’ve earned in previous jobs
  • How many hours you think you can work. If you can’t work full-time be sure to explain why – eg if you have a disability or are caring for children/family

If you have any question or concerns call the free, Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

Alternatively, please call us on 0300 5000 926 and ask to speak to someone in the Income team about UC. 

The claimant commitment interview (and work-related activity groups)

After you’ve talked about your life, your work coach will decide which work-related activity group is right for you.

There are four groups and you will be put in one. The four groups are:

-    Non work-related requirements group – you don’t need to do anything extra 

-    Work-focused interview group – you must have regular meetings with your work coach

-    Work preparation group – you’ll need to prepare for work and have regular meetings with your work coach. You may have to do training or gain work experience

-    All work-related activity group – you’ll be expected to look for work or earn more. You’ll have regular meetings with your work coach 

If you think your work coach has put you in the wrong group, then it’s important to tell them.

Once you’ve agreed which activity group is right for you, your work coach will ask you to agree to do tasks. This will become your claimant commitment.

Only agree to your claimant commitment if you can do all the tasks. If you miss any of them out your Universal Credit payment could be stopped.

If you’d like help finding a job or a course that’s right for you, please get in touch with our Employment and Training team. We’ve helped 100s of customers into work, to find better work or get into training.