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TOPIC: ESA and Sanctions

ESA and Sanctions 29 Mar 2017 09:49 #318

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You cannot, repeat cannot be sanctioned for refusing to look for work if you are an ESA claimant.

"You can support ESA participants to apply for and take up work, but you may not mandate these participants to apply for jobs, undertake medical treatment, take up work or unpaid work experience"

The above quote is from the DWP's Work Programme Provider Guidance chapter 2, page 2, Claimant Participation Requirements.

You can download a copy here www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/264161/wp-pg-chapter-2.pdf.

I suggest you download a copy and print out the relative section, take this to the provider as proof that you don't have to look for jobs. "I'll get in touch in January but I want to see you at least looking at the jobs" is job searching phrased differently, your 'advisor' probably knows this full well but is banking on the probability that you don't[/quote]

You can be encouraged to look for work, but you cannot be forced to do so.


See also this excellent post from rightsupholder :-


From the information provided sounds like you are being required to take part in a "Work-focused interview" where you can be required to undertake some "work related activity" and agree a recorded "action plan" For the rules and regulations governing "work focused interviews" and "work related activity check out the Decisions Makers Guide Vol9 Chapter53.
at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/252065/dmg-vol9-ch53.pdf

With regard to registering with Universal Jobmatch the legislation precludes any ESA claimant being required to apply for a job, undertake work (as an employee or otherwise) or undergo medical treatment (see paragraph 53037 in the above document)

Registering with Universal Jobmatch, setting up an account and uploading a CV operates under the JSA regime i.e. for JOBSEEKERS on JSA and under the Universal Credit regime (such as it is). ESA claimants are not required to look for work or to apply for any jobs under existing legislation so registering with Universal Jobmatch would be pointless. DWP claim that Universal Jobmatch gives JOBSEEKERS the best and only chance of gaining employment. On this site you will find many will dispute that.

Although this applies to the Universal Credit, contribution based JSA and ESA regimes you will also find some useful and relevant information on the following website:


in particular
Chapter J2 - Work-related groups
Chapter J3 - Work-related requirements
Chapter R4 - JSA claimant responsibilities - work-related requirements (UJ comes under this)
Chapter U4 - ESA claimants responsibilities - work-related requirement groups
Chapter U5 - ESA claimant responsibilities - work-related requirements

On a more general point it is clear from the above information that your adviser is not aware of the legislation/guidance about the "work requirements" that can be imposed on ESA claimants (including registering with UJ) or if aware choosing not to comply with it.

There is nothing to stop the adviser as part of your "work preparation" suggesting that you search UJ for practice (and you seem to be aware of this) and you agreeing to this and having it recorded in your "action plan" but to require you to register and set up an account in UJ would be unlawful and you should not be sanctioned for refusing to do so.

I would suggest you write to your JCP manager ahead of the appointment setting out your concerns and asking for clarification on the particular issue of UJ registration for ESA claimants and why your adviser is trying to impose this.
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