Universal Credit Sanctions At A Record High

As to be expected the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) has taken full advantage of their new ‘way to work’ campaign and the return to normal service after lockdowns during the pandemic.

It is estimated that nearly 110,000 people claiming Universal Credit were sanctioned in May. This figure has more than doubled in six months . It’s also important to remember that this is despite the cost of living crisis whilst people are struggling more financially than they ever have done in recent times.

Sanction levels were however rising steadily through autumn and winter, but increased dramatically after the DWPs Way to Work was implemented was in February. Compared to 74,746 people that had been sanctioned in January rising to 93,479 March compared to 106,710 in April.

The governments ‘Way To Work’ programme forces every claimant eligible to apply for every job available rather than jobs suited to them because of work experience and qualifications.

Not only is this damaging emotionally and physically to each claimant forced to do this I fear it’s equally as frustrating for employers as well leaving them forced to trawl through job applicants that aren’t suitable for the jobs advertised, after all. Doesn’t every employer want applications from people that not only aren’t qualified for the work advertised? They’ll most likely be very unenthusiastic about applying for said jobs but are forced to do so or else face a DWP sanction.

Not only are the job vacancies are often not local to where they live, the DWP fails to take into account that public transport is expensive and not always available. The cost of travelling to work using their own transport being equally as such.

Basically if a claimant doesn’t follow the DWP’s orders for legitimate reasons and concerns they will undoubtably face being sanctioned.

Whilst implementing this new ‘Way To Work’ programme the government and DWP are totally failing to recognise that the UK is going through a cost of living and energy price crisis.

Claimants are already struggling to feed themselves and their families, which to be honest is near impossible as it is and to be faced with a sanction will undoubtedly leave them destitute without any hope for the future.

Can you imagine not being able to turn a light on in your house ,not able to cook any food, unable to use any electrical equipment that aid your day to day living such as powered wheelchairs, stairlifts, fridges and suchlike?

The DWP by continuing with their cruel sanctioning system and low benefit payments is knowingly forcing people to become destitute, left in the cold and dark, unable to travel anywhere to find work or access help.

It is inevitable that many people will fall under the radar for any assistance that may be available. There will be deaths, possibly many deaths without a care for their welfare from the government and of course the DWP.

It’s also important to remember that many claimants have been refused the cost of living payment due to being sanctioned with guidance to DWP employees telling them to refuse the payment to certain claimants if their benefits were stopped.

According to Dan Bloom from The Mirror, the DWP internal website said that people weren’t eligible if they had a “nil award” due to their earnings, however it made no mention of benefit sanctions, and said if people had a nil award due to rent or debts being deducted, they “might still be eligible”.

To put it clearly the decision is made by the DWP and often, as we have seen throughout the years, their own personal opinion and pressure put on them by their supervisors and managers.

I predict that thousands of people will have undoubtably missed out on the payment, without the strength or the knowledge that’s needed to appeal against DWP decisions such as these.

With Rishi Sunak announcing during his leadership campaign that he will be “much tougher” on the benefits system saying “if there are hours to do and there’s a job going people should have to take the job.” The future for people claiming Universal Credit and disability benefits looks even bleaker than before.

Anyone claiming benefits for whatever reason should not be bashed in such a manner especially during an election campaign.

They deserve kindness and respect after-all they’re fighting a battle that no politician will ever have to fight, without not knowing if they’ll be able to survive the next day never mind the next year.

21 thoughts on “Universal Credit Sanctions At A Record High”

  1. I’m sure I remember reading years ago about claimants being mandated to apply for jobs they’re not suited to, at Jobclubs, and employers recognising the Jobcentre supplied brown envelopes and just binning them unread?!
    The online job boards are no help. I asked to be notified of cleaning vacancies. I’ve been recommended to apply for driving jobs (I can’t drive), head chef jobs (I’m not trained) and kitchen porter jobs (I have a disc problem in my neck and sciatica- I can’t lift)! Happy days

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  2. Charlotte this is beyond belief! I’m seeing for myself now what UC Is
    For the 2nd time in less than 4years I was illegally evicted from the HMO I was living in as it was all I could afford on my tiny wage without UC. The agent running the house was in dispute with the owner. The agent left us with a leak cascading through the property and through the electrics for a week. In the end I called the fire brigade.
    The owner then bullies us tenants and tells me I’m a squatter and he’ll change locks and Chuck all my stuff me and my cat outside. At this point I call my adult daughter, ask her to get my cat, and I’d go live on the street. I wasn’t in a good place mentally. She asked me to move to Wales and stay with her. I did. At 58 dependent on my child’s charity.
    I signed on for UC, and to be fair so far they didn’t hassle me, but already I have 10 hours cleaning work a week, 20 hours next week. My final wage from the school was £597. My 1 st UC award is £7.68 for the entire month. Doesn’t even cover the cost of my bus fares to the Jobcentre each week. I’m now closing my claim in disgust until I find rented accommodation. And I’m so grateful I’m with family and I have the work I have. How others survive I have no clue

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      1. It wasn’t nice Charlotte, and so pointless! The agent is now liable for the thousands in damages from the leak, and general disrepair of the building, he never did maintenance, and the other tenants trashed it. Is cash cow tenants were just collateral damage! In one sense there’s no winners, but I’m enjoying Wales and being with my daughter and trying to make a new better life for myself while being so grateful I have her, and a place to stay. But really everyone deserves a nice home and enough money to live on!!

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      2. Some landlords are disgraceful and they don’t give a shite about their tenants but they only care about the rent. It’s all bloody wrong xx.
        So glad your happy now and in a better place x

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  3. Sunak’s got a cheek saying he’s going to be hard on the unemployed seeing as he hasn’t done an honest days work in his life – lazy blighter!!!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Charlotte! I wish everybody here better times too!
      Update; when o saw my princely award of £7.68, I noted in my UC journal, that while I fully got my coach and the Jobcentre staff weren’t responsible for the award, I asked how £7.68 made work pay or how it lifted me out of poverty?! I said also I have worked and lived in poverty for years now and I know work never pays the ppl killing themselves doing it and I was seriously considering closing my claim. And that the£7.68 didn’t even cover the bus fares each week to the Jobcentre!
      Just got a notification, due to the level of my earnings im no longer required to attend regular meetings in the Jobcentre and they have cancelled the one I had scheduled next Thursday morning (I couldn’t have gone anyway, I have extra work hours) . I may be called back in future if my circumstances change (and I decide to keep claim open lol, my brackets and comments)
      So for now I shall keep the claim open, you never know they might give more cost of living payments! I missed the ones now because I wasn’t claiming in time. And I appreciate you on JSA and ESA don’t qualify, and those sanctioned
      They also booked me in for today to see a mentor. The mentor emailed me to cancel and asked for my availability next week. She asked if I had considered a career change, would I like to be a teaching assistant?(no) ! A cleaner?(I am a cleaner) or wait for it… a lifeguard??? (Im 58 with sciatica and dodgy discs FFS)! U can’t make this shi@ up!!
      Just got a notification, due to

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      1. Yep Charlotte they said that!! They have no clue about anything do they? I also had another email from the Jobcentre pointing me in the direction of foodbanks, and places like CAB and stepchange and places who might be able to give me a grant or help. I’m guessing since they read my comments about working and living in poverty for years. Which were absolutely true
        While I guess they didn’t have to and were maybe trying to help, it proves beyond doubt the system and Uc Isn’t fit for purpose, because if it was, nobody at all would NEED this would they??

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    2. Hey Cloverleaf, hope you’re OK, I didn’t know he (Sunak) had said that. Why are they all competing to punish the poor? On the Opposition side it’s Rachel Reeves who hates anyone getting State Benefits. You can’t win.

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  4. I’m still on old ‘legacy’ JSA and my JCP Work Coach has been fairly reasonable regarding traveling distance to jobs (given that I have no transport other than buses) and amount of hours, and general suitability for a man in his 60s but the Health & Work Programme adviser at Reed has me down as able to apply for pretty much anything no matter how many hours, what sort of shifts, and up to 20 miles away! Well OK, I’ll certainly apply for whatever jobs come my way but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to get those jobs or that I will necessarily accept any of them if offered. I’m not working 12 hour shifts or nights at my age, and if it says “fast paced” forget it! But I’m sure the employers will want younger workers anyway. For me now it’s just another case of playing the game yet again, and passing time.

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  5. Luckily, I’m not on UC, but if I was and had to jump through this hoop, I would.
    I would be applying for every job I could. If everyone else on UC did the same, the prospective employers would eventually get sick of having to trawl through the mountain of unsuitable applicants, that they would eventually all put pressure on the DWP to cease with this stupid idea that the DWP has to make UC claimants apply for every single job out there, when it’s clear that they are completley unsuitable for the job they’re applying for.

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