The authorities are failing to keep tabs on why claimants have disappeared from the roll meaning it has no idea how many people are being left penniless, a former Labour minister has claimed
As many as 1.5 million benefits claimants could face destitution after disappearing from the welfare system, a report by a respected former Labour minister has warned.
The authorities are failing to keep tabs on why claimants have disappeared from the roll meaning it has no idea how many people are being left penniless, according to Frank Field.
The Work and Pensions Committee chairman said benefit sanctions are being applied on a “scale unknown since the Second World War” and the fate of at a least one third of those who have been penalised is “anybody’s guess.”
Around 1.5 million claimants fall off the welfare roll a year but their whereabouts is a “mystery” and it is unclear how many are left without work or benefit payments, according to Mr Field.
Some may be in jail or have moved abroad while others are people on benefits who have been hit by sanctions and dropped out of the system, according to the research.
The number of sanctions imposed in the 2014/15 financial year was around half a million, the study by Mr Field and Andrew Forsey, head of the MP’s parliamentary office, found.
Claimants are hit by sanctions when they fail to comply with welfare conditions imposed by the Government.
The report, which will be published on Monday by think tank Civitas, calls for the Government to carry out an urgent survey to find out what happens to claimants expelled from the welfare rolls who appear not to find work.
It backs plans to trial a yellow card early warning system for claimants facing sanction because they are deemed not to have done enough to find work, and calls for Jobcentre Plus staff to be given powers to issue non-financial sanctions.
The Department for Work and Pensions should test out giving vulnerable claimants a grace period that eases the rules at times when they are facing transition or acute difficulty, the report adds.