Benefit sanctions shoot up 50% in six months

The number of benefit sanctions imposed on job seekers has shot up by 50% in the space of six months, Politics.co.uk can reveal.

The number of sanctions imposed on people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit rose from 18,994 last July to 33,860 in December, before falling back to the 30,000 mark by March this year.

In the six months to March, the most recent month for which data is available, the number of sanctions had risen by 50%.

“It is a matter of real concern that the number of people on Universal Credit being sanctioned is increasing,” shadow employment minister Margaret Greenwood said.

“This data shows further evidence of the Tory government letting vulnerable groups down, fuelling poverty and even destitution in the UK.

“A recent Public Accounts Committee report suggested that sanctions are being ‘applied inconsistently’ and used as a ‘blunt instrument’.”

Politics.co.uk has combined both published and unpublished data from the Department for Work and Pensions. While figures for the old Jobseeker’s Allowance benefit are routinely published, recent data for the newer Universal Credit system is much harder to come by.

The true sanctions figures are actually likely to be higher, as the Universal Credit data excludes claimants in numerous parts of the country. (also, these figures don’t include sanctions on people with disability  benefits)

read more here: http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2017/09/04/benefit-sanctions-shoot-up-50-in-six-months

 

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More than 5,000 sick and disabled benefit claimants have been sanctioned for 6 MONTHS

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed the extent of punishments used against people on Employment and Support Allowance

More than 5,000 sick and disabled people have had their benefits sanctioned for at least 6 months, new figures show.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed the extent of punishments used against people on disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance.

ESA is slowly replacing the ageing Incapacity Benefit and is now paid to 2.4million people.

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/more-5000-sick-disabled-benefit-10998571

Between December 2012 and December 2016, 71,543 ESA claimants have been sanctioned – which normally involves stopping their benefits.

The displaced tenants paying the true cost of an inhumane housing policy

Councils must commit to a more humane, thoughtful and cost-effective social housing policy than moving people away from jobs and homes

Moving halfway across the country when you are already vulnerable causes huge emotional and health problems.

read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2016/dec/02/human-cost-benefits-cap-tenants-shunted-england-councils

 

Gran suffered heart attack at job centre meeting – but was too scared to leave as she feared losing benefits

The incident echoes the hit Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake, where the lead actor suffers a heart attack on the way to a job centre meeting and dies

A gran suffered a heart attack during a job centre employment meeting but said she was too scared to get up and leave – for fear of ­losing her benefits .

The incident echoes the hit Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake, where the lead actor suffers a heart attack on the way to a job centre meeting and dies.

Grandmother Salena Hannah, 50, claims she had the seizure during a Jobseeker’s Allowance appointment, but was ignored by the “callous” interviewer. Salena said she dreaded falling victim to the Tory sanction scheme, introduced in 2012, which can involve a reduction in benefit – often to zero – and range from one week to three years.

Sanctions are enforced if the Department for Work and Pensions decides a person has not met the requirements for receiving JSA. Salena said the incident happened earlier this month.

She explained: “I had been suffering with chest pains for about two weeks and took a couple of sprays of GTN spray, to help with my angina, before I walked in to meet my interviewer. My job is under 16 hours, so I am forced to attend regular meetings, or my benefits might be stopped.”

“I was feeling some really bad pains in my chest and I told her at least two or three times that I was in agony, but she was just so callous, she just kept ignoring me. I said I needed to go to the NHS walk-in centre immediately, but it fell on deaf ears. I was living in fear of being sanctioned and just felt trapped. I didn’t think I could leave or I would be sanctioned.”

Salena claims she was forced to endure a 40-minute JSA interview, while sweating profusely and suffering cheat pains. As soon as she left the interview, she went to a nearby NHS walk-in centre, where medics immediately called an ambulance and took her to hospital. Blood tests revealed she had suffered a heart attack and surgeons inserted two stents into her arteries.

She was allowed home after three days, only to suffer serious chest pains an hour later and return to hospital, where three more stents were inserted. She is now recovering at home but is struggling to breath and is constantly weak.

She said: “I was just dreading getting sanctioned. I just would not be able to afford to live if that happened, so pain or no pain, I had to endure that meeting. It is unbelievable how cruel the sanction scheme can be to people like me. It is almost like they are trained to be unfeeling. Is that what Britain is coming to these days under a Tory Government?”

Mum-of-four Salena, from Salisbury, Wilts, is bringing up her two grandsons aged 14 and 10 on her own.

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gran-suffered-heart-attack-job-10458734

Unconnected and out of work: the vicious circle of having no internet

Jobseekers must spend up to 35 hours a week on online applications, or risk losing benefits. When you can’t afford a computer, this is no mean feat

….In Wigan, Lisa Wright, 47, a former factory worker who has been unemployed for three years after the food processing plant she worked for closed, is doing a mandatory six-month community work programme. Alongside 30 hours of community service each week, she has to put in 10 hours on Universal Jobmatch.

“I can only get to a computer in Wigan library on Thursday evenings, Fridays and Saturday mornings,” she said. “There’s sometimes a queue so you can hang around for up to an hour. That’s the only time I can check my emails, which means if I get sent a reply to a job application on Monday I don’t see it for days. It feels like you’re constantly doing things wrong and struggling just to keep up. I met a kid last week doing 200 hours’ community service for robbing a shop. I’m doing 780 hours’ community service and my only crime is being unemployed.”….

read more here: https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/09/unconnected-and-out-of-work-the-vicious-circle-of-having-no-internet

 

Benefit sanctions hit one in seven single parents, research shows

‘Single parents increasingly feel punished for being unable to juggle seeking work and looking after their children’, charity says.

One in seven single parents in receipt of benefits have been hit by the Government’s “inflexible” sanctions regime, while even more are at risk of having their benefit payments slashed in the future, according to shocking new research from the Gingerbread charity.

read more here: http://www.welfareweekly.com/benefit-sanctions-hit-one-in-seven-single-parents-research-shows/