Jobseekers have been warned they have four weeks to find work before a major change in benefit rules comes into effect.
From today, those who are capable of work will be expected to search more widely for suitable available jobs from the fourth week of their Universal Credit claim, rather than up to three months as was previously the case.
Those who fail to find a job and who “do not engage” with their Jobcentre Plus to find work will risk being sanctioned.
The Department of Work and Pensions has issued the four-week warning saying the changes in the regulations aim to support people into work faster as we recover from the pandemic.
In a statement it said: “This clearer focus will ensure that, if people are not able to find work in their previous occupation or sector, they are expected to look for work in another suitable sector and this will be part of their requirements for receiving their benefit payment.
“For jobseekers who do not engage with their Jobcentre Plus fully to find work, the sanctions regime will operate as usual.
“Targeted predominantly at those in the intensive work search group on Universal Credit, the government’s new Way to Work campaign will support people back into work faster than ever before and filling vacancies more quickly.”
Under previous rules, claimants had three months to find a job in their preferred sector.
The new rules that come into effect today mean that if, after four weeks, claimants who refuse to widen their job search, attend interviews or take up paid work in roles outside of their preferred sector, then they may be referred for a sanction.
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