Failure to comply with requirements in relation to undertaking work-related activity or work preparation can lead to sanctions. Claimants may be able to show 'good cause' or 'good reason' for deemed failures to avoid loss of entitlement.
Requirements for undertaking work-related activity / work preparation are set out in regulations and primary legislation.
For income-related and contributory ESA in a universal credit live service area, regulation 3(1) and (4) of the Employment and Support Allowance (Work-Related Activity) Regulations 2011 provide -
(1) The Secretary of State may require a person… to undertake work-related activity as a condition of continuing to be entitled to the full amount of employment and support allowance payable to that person…
(4) A requirement imposed under paragraph (1) must be reasonable in the view of the Secretary of State, having regard to the person's circumstances.
And regulation 8 provides -
(1) A person who is required to undertake work-related activity but fails to do so must show good cause for the failure within 5 working days of the date on which the Secretary of State gives notice of the failure.
(2) The Secretary of State must determine whether a person who is required to undertake work-related activity has failed to do so and, if so, whether the person has shown good cause for the failure.
(3) In deciding whether a person has shown good cause for the failure, the Secretary of State must take account of all the circumstances of the case including in particular the person’s physical or mental health or condition.
For universal credit, section 21(2) of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, and for contributory ESA in a full service universal credit area, section 11F(2) of the Welfare Reform Act 2007, provide –
The Secretary of State may, subject to this Part, impose a work preparation requirement… on a person [who has limited capability for work / entitled to employment and support allowance]...
For universal credit, section 27 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, and for contributory ESA in a full service universal credit area, section 11J of the Welfare Reform Act 2007, provide -
(1) The amount of an award of [universal credit / an employment and support allowance] is to be reduced in accordance with this section in the event of a failure by a person which is sanctionable under this section.
(2) It is a failure sanctionable under this section if a person - (a) fails for no good reason to comply with a work-related requirement...
- Regulation 3 and regulation 8 of the Employment and Support Allowance (Work-Related Activity) Regulations 2011 (SI.No.1349/2011) (applies to income-related and contributory ESA in a universal credit live service area).
- Section 11F and section 11J of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (inserted by Section 57 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012) (applies to contributory ESA in a universal credit full service area).
- Section 21 and section 27 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (applies to universal credit).
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- Claimant cannot be sanctioned for failing to undertake unreasonable work-related activity
-  UKUT 360 (AAC)