A man whose benefits were stopped illegally by the DWP is to get a refund – three years later
A man whose benefits were stopped illegally by the Department of Work and Pensions has won a refund – three years later.
The case could trigger a flood of similar claims.
Simon Milne received a letter from the DWP in November saying it had not given him a fair chance to respond to allegations about his work-search record.
The letter said: “A check of our records indicates that we may not have given you formal written notification of this decision. A formal letter would also have given you information about the steps you could take to appeal.”
Simon contacted the Salford Unemployed Resource Centre in Eccles after getting the letter.
Now a judge has ruled he should get a refund for the benefits that were sanctioned illegally in 2012.
Kester Dean, a volunteer at SURC, said: “Stopping someone’s benefits can have catastrophic impacts and so this was an extraordinary admission from the DWP. The sanction was clearly illegal as the law requires claimants to be warned of a possible sanction, so they have the chance to present their case.
“Yet Simon apparently hadn’t even been given a written decision, let alone a warning – unbelievable.”
Simon’s Jobseekers Allowance was halted for a month despite him getting a job shortly after.
Simon said: “The Jobcentre makes you feel ground down and low about yourself. You have to apply for jobs you have no skills for. In the end I found the right course and got a job as a handy person and gardener straight away.
“But the sanction delayed this as I had no money to get to interviews or for food, let alone clothes to look smart enough to get a job. It knocks you back so you have to rebuild the confidence to move forward.”