People who refuse to accept jobs or voluntarily give up work without good reason have previously had benefit stopped for three months.
Ministers said the new rules sent a clear message that people getting benefits had a responsibility to seek work in exchange for receiving Jobseeker's Allowance.
Last year Jobcentre staff sanctioned 495,000 claimants – 72,000 had refused an offer of employment.
Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: "Choosing a life on benefits when you're able to work is not an option.
"These rules send out a clear message to job seekers. We will offer them the support they need to find work, but in return for receiving benefits they have responsibilities too.
"People cannot expect to keep their benefits if they do not hold up their end of the bargain."
There will be three levels of sanctions, ranging from four weeks for a minor offence to three years for serious repeat offenders.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, which represents Jobcentre staff, said: "Instead of punishing people for being out of work, the Government should take responsibility for the pain and suffering it is causing with its failed austerity policies that we marched against at the weekend."