Help with UC

Hi I would need some help understanding UC. Due to personal circumstances I’m having to claim UC for a few months. Hopefully by January I will be able to come off it. 
I have 3 kids the youngest has just turned 3 this week but won’t be entitled to free funded childcare until January. My husband works full time and is gone pretty much all day as he has long commutes. I live in a rural area with very little public transport and I don’t have a drivers license. 
After my first appointment with my work coach she was pushing me to take jobs during the night as a carer. After checking some of these jobs most of them would involve me walking long distances during unsociable hours or my husband having to take the kids out of bed (too little to be left alone) to give me a ride to the job. Taking these jobs would also mean going more than 24h hours without any sleep as I will still have to full time care for my toddler. Is this something I will have to take if I don’t want to be sanctioned or will the take my circumstances into consideration. 
I should add I’m just brand new to UC (haven’t received any payments yet) and the local nursery doesn’t have more spaces free any time soon (we booked ours moths ago)

They are also pushing me to go to a job fair which once again it will involve a long journey and taking my very spirited toddler with me. Will they sanction me if I reject going to it?

Sorry if I’m too whiny but I’m brand new to this and my work coach was not very helpful at all. Hopefully  in a few months I will be off this  🤞🏻 
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Comments

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,849
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    It's not reasonable to expect you to take work that will result in you not getting some sleep in 24 hours. I think it is less debatable about walking alone at unsocial hours. The streets should be safe enough in a rural area, but you would be well advised to take precautions if you did take on this work. Such a job might be made to work if you could work on Friday and Saturday nights, as your husband could look after the children in the early part of Saturday and Sunday. How many hours is the work coach requesting you to find work for? They should be taking your child-care responsibilities into account. If they do sanction you, you can ask for an Mandatory Reconsideration.

    Taking a toddler to a jobs fair is basically a waste of time, as is will suggest to the employers there that you cannot arrange childcare for work. You should try to find some childcare to allow you to attend the job fair.

    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,267
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    edited 8 October 2023 at 2:40PM
    tacpot12 said:
    It's not reasonable to expect you to take work that will result in you not getting some sleep in 24 hours. I think it is less debatable about walking alone at unsocial hours. The streets should be safe enough in a rural area, but you would be well advised to take precautions if you did take on this work. Such a job might be made to work if you could work on Friday and Saturday nights, as your husband could look after the children in the early part of Saturday and Sunday. How many hours is the work coach requesting you to find work for? They should be taking your child-care responsibilities into account. If they do sanction you, you can ask for an Mandatory Reconsideration.

    Taking a toddler to a jobs fair is basically a waste of time, as is will suggest to the employers there that you cannot arrange childcare for work. You should try to find some childcare to allow you to attend the job fair.

    That’ll be because she can’t. So an entirely reasonable message to be giving to employers as things stand.
    A lot of people apply for jobs that they can’t do to avoid sanctions. So putting on your application form the hours that you can do will cause most employers to rule you out anyway if you do need to tick some boxes.

    How  many hours a week are they telling you that you need to work? Would weekend work be a possibility around your husbands job - not great for family life, but it is only for a few months. 
    And what have you agreed on your work commitments around antisocial hours I’ll certainly be strongly arguing that it’s not reasonable for you to look after children during the day and then work all night. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Kkss
    Kkss Posts: 4
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    Thanks for your answers. 
    Right now I am just committed to look for a work 16h a week and go for a meeting with the work coach on a weekly basis. But I am scared this will change soon. 
    My husband works most Saturdays and the day he gets off during the week varies each week depending when they need him. Because of this the amount of jobs I can actually do is very limited. To be honest I haven’t found any yet I can actually do even if I’m willing to go without sleep. Transport is the main inconvenience . I have applied for a few jobs already, some for which I am very clearly not the best candidate and others which are just very few hours a week (cleaner on a Sunday for example). I’m trying to be proactive but I’m still quite scared about getting sanctioned as our mortgage has gone up and I need every penny. 
    I also think it is ridiculous to take my kid to the jobs fair. It is hard for me to get childcare as we are not from this area and don’t have any family around. 
  • Have you claimed correctly? As a couple, with 3 kids, assuming your husband earns enough, then you shouldn’t have to work? At worst you should be in the light touch/preparing to work stage. Does your husband earn above the couples CET. (Think it’s CET or AET sure someone will correct me).

  • I’m very surprised you have to look for 16 hours a week when your youngest is 3.
  • Kkss
    Kkss Posts: 4
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    I am In the light touch at the moment but I’m scared they will change this before January. I was very surprised they have asked me to go in on a weekly basis, is this the norm? 
    I didn’t know about the CET, I’m going to look into it right now. Thanks for alerting me 
  • Kkss said:
    I am In the light touch at the moment but I’m scared they will change this before January. I was very surprised they have asked me to go in on a weekly basis, is this the norm? 
    I didn’t know about the CET, I’m going to look into it right now. Thanks for alerting me 
    Have you had your first full assessment period for UC?  If not then the system might not 'know' you should be in light touch needing fewer appointments until your husband's wages are reported for the first time, triggering your claim being deemed as 'working enough' with no need for such frequent appointments.
  • mrsg1990
    mrsg1990 Posts: 81
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    As far as I know, in march 2023, Jeremy Hunt announced that from Oct 2023, claimants of UC where the youngest child is 3 have to work or search for work upto 30 hours per week.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2023/mar/22/jeremy-hunt-universal-credit-benefits-mothers-30-hour-weeks

  • mrsg1990
    mrsg1990 Posts: 81
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    That's for both claimants if it's a couple as part of the claim 
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