Tag: channel4

Over Half Million Universal Credit Claimants Sanctioned In Year For Not Attending Mandatory Interviews

Earlier this month (May) the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) released their latest Universal Credit sanction statistics. The statistics reveal that 541,000 UC claimants were sanctioned in the year to January 2023.

The greatest majority of those (530,000) were shown to have been sanctioned for failing to attend or failing to participate in a mandatory interview.

However these figures represent a very small fall from the previous peak sanction rate and the number of claimants sanctioned is shown to be still more than double the figures pre-pandemic.

In January 2020 18,462 claimants were sanctioned.

In January 2023, the figure was 44,888.

However the non attendance of mandatory interviews are mostly for genuine issues such as not recieving a letter or notification of having to attend an interview, I’ve blogged about this many times.

Other reasons for non attendance can be Not being able to get to their nearest Jobcentre for their interview because of cost, illness and appointments clashing with childcare obligations.

It is then that the claimant is left to the discretion of their work coach as to if they’re sanctioned or not.

This is incredibly worrying especially because the DWP is now planning to give work coaches the power to decide who is capable of work. Please see my previous blogs for details about this.

Please note that as already blogged it is planned that medically unqualified work coaches could be given the responsibility of making life changing decisions on behalf of UC claimants.

Decisions such as if a disabled or ill claimant is in their opinion able to take part in work-related activities.

Based upon their decision they could be given the power to recommend sanctions and suchlike.

As a result of not being medically qualified such decisions will be based purely on opinion and not fact.

Upon being sanctioned a claimant can try to show their work coach good causes for not attending a planned meeting. They can also do this if their work coach decides that even though they’ve attended a meeting but have failed on their eyes to participate as well as expected.

This can be for many reasons such as their disability preventing them for doing so or illness.

However the work coaches decision is purely based upon their decision or mood so it’s clear that unfair sanction decisions can be sent to the decision maker leaving the claimants payments being sanctioned.

Sanction decision can be appealed and their is an appeal process. Whilst the majority of appeals are successful the whole process is very long and extremely stressful, leaving the claimant in great distress and under enormous financial pressure.

The whole benefit sanction process is heavily biased against claimants, the balance of power unfairly being in the hands of work coaches and decision makers.

Once a sanction has reached the end of the appeal process and a decision made in the claimant’s favour the damage has already been done and many claimants never fully recover both mentally and physically from this.

Sadly this won’t be changing for the better any time soon and it would be nieve to expect this.

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Studies Show Childhood Hunger Seriously Effects Children’s Mental And Physical Development

An ever increasing number of children are now living in poverty as a result of the cost of living crisis, increasing energy costs, result of parents losing their jobs and DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) issues such as benefit sanctions.

As we are seeing this huge increase of people living in poverty little has been said about the effects of hunger upon children and their learning abilities.

It sounds like commonsense that childhood learning and hunger are both interconnected issues that are faced by many children in the UK. If you’re hungry it’s very hard to concentrate on anything else.

Recent studies have shown that hunger and malnourishment can have a severe impact on a child’s mental and physical development, which can ultimately affect their academic performance and life opportunities.


According to the End Child Poverty coalition, 4.2 million children in the UK are living in poverty, 2.4 million of whom are living in severe poverty. Poverty is a significant driver of hunger and food insecurity, with many families struggling to afford and find healthy and nutritious food.


Research by the Trussell Trust food bank network found that over 1.2 million emergency food supplies were given to children in the UK in 2020. This highlights the extent of hunger faced by children in the country and the need for action from the government.



The effects of hunger and malnutrition on a child’s learning can be very profound. Children who experience hunger often find it difficult to concentrate and focus, affecting their memory and cognitive abilities.

This can also lead to behavioral issues, affecting their interactions with others and their overall development.

Moreover, poor nutrition can significantly affect a child’s physical development, leading to a lack of energy, poor growth, and an increased likelihood of illness.

One recent study found that children who experienced hunger were more likely to have lower academic performance and to struggle with basic literacy and numeracy. Children who eat more healthily and more varied diets also have better cognitive abilities, and in many cases have better academic outcomes.


There is evidence, however, that basic interventions can help address these issues. Breakfast clubs at schools have been shown to improve pupils’ behaviour and academic performance. This is particularly noticeable with children that come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Whilst charities and organizations are also working to provide food parcels and other forms of support to families and children who are struggling with hunger, the food offered to them are usually of low nutritional standards but they do quench their hunger.

Childhood hunger and malnutrition in the UK continues to have a huge impact on a child’s learning and development.

Whilst there are interventions such as breakfast clubs and food banks that can help alleviate these problems, and it is vitally important for policymakers, schools, and charities to work together to ensure that all children have access to the resources they need to thrive.

Sadly at the time of writing the government is very reluctant to help at all. Instead the cost of living crisis and rising energy costs are continuing to increase plunging more children and their families further into poverty.

Is the government doing this purposely? It certainly makes me suspect this. The health and wellbeing of working class children appears to be unimportant to them and the less they learn the better for them.

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No Legal Safeguards For Proposed WCA Abolition

As I’ve previously mentioned under the proposed DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) will be abolished by 2026.

To replace this it is to be replaced by one assessment which will be the PIP (Personal Independence Payment) assessment. This will decide if a claimant will be eligible for PIP and if they are also eligible for the new UC (Universal Credit) health element.

Rather unsurprisingly the DWP plans to employ unqualified UC work coaches to make these decisions rather than qualified health professionals.

It will be those unqualified UC work coaches that will decide whether a claimant must undertake work-related activities

I strongly suspect, as we have seen in the past that disabled claimants will be judged upon the mood and attitude of their work coach. If their work coach is ok and in a good mood they might be judged fairly. If not then they could be treated harshly.

Basically their quality of life will therefore be dependent upon an unqualified DWP work coach.

At a recent debate at parliament Labour MP Karen Buck asked Tom Pursglove (who is the present DWP minister for disabled people) several questions about how the proposed abolition of the WCA will work in practice.

Buck asked Pursglove if there would be a substantial risk test which would be similar to the one already used in WCA assessments.

At the time of writing the WCA rules say that Claimants do not have to undertake work-related activities if there is a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if you did so.

Needless to say thousands of appeals against WCA decisions have been successful on the basis that there would be a substantial risk to either the claimant or those around them.

Of course the DWP aren’t going to let this continue. How dare disabled people win their appeals and receive the payments that they’re entitled to.

Under the new proposed system the legal safeguards will no longer exist and all decisions will be made by unqualified work coaches, most of which might not have any or very little knowledge of  physical or mental health issues. These issues if ignored will put claimants at risk.

Basically unqualified DWP work coaches  will have sole power to make these life changing decisions.

God help us.

Buck  asked Pursglove if  there are  any plans to introduce a mandatory reconsideration and appeal route against these decisions made by work coaches.

Pursglove’s answer was to totally ignored the question No surprise there.

He went on to make outlandish claims that work coaches would adopt a tailored approach that will allow work coaches to build a relationship with Claimants which will determine if any work related activities that Claimants can or can’t do.

I struggle to believe that this will actually happen given the fast staff turnover due to the stressful conditions that they work under. Not to forget work coaches having to take sick leave or indeed leave their jobs altogether.

So basically, cutting away the word salad from Pursglove as I’ve said above,  decisions will be based upon attitudes and beliefs of any  work coach, without any legal safeguards to prevent dangerous or clearly prejudiced decisions.

But Pursglove didn’t finish there. He went on to say that Claimants might be asked to volunteer in the first place building it up to mandatory placements with requirements added at a pace to suit individual claimants.

So voluntary work is now supposed to cure a claimant of all disabilities and illnesses? It’s not the first time that they’ve claimed this.

So going off Purseglove’s statements  work coaches will decide the pace at which a claimant must increase their level of activity. As said above this will happen without any protection in place for claimants who are struggling to keep up therefore putting them at risk of being sanctioned.


When questioned about an appeal process, Pursglove would not answer, saying only that the DWP “will take time to carefully consider how best to implement these changes” and “ensure it provides the taxpayer with value for money and is accessible and effective in delivering for our service users.”

So if there won’t be any  legal tests to decide who is or isn’t capable of work based upon the opinions of a work coach how can any decisions be challenged via a social security appeal tribunal?

Buck also asked “whether a benefit sanction that reduced a Claimants UC standard allowance to zero would remove a claimants entitlement to their entitlement to the Health Element of UC”

Pursglove’s initial response seemed positive stating ‘Entitlement to the new UC health element will only end when the functional impact of a person’s health condition improves and they are no longer eligible for PIP or as claimants earn more money resulting in their UC claim tapered away making them financially better off in work’

However this changed when he went on to say that ‘ As we develop our reform proposals we will consider how some interactions with the UC system will be reflected in the reformed system’ 

In my opinion this suggests that the DWP have not yet worked out many things about the new system, as is often the case.

Sadly this is par for the course for the government and the DWP. They’re always in a big rush to implement more draconian ideas upon the most vulnerable that they forget to actually make important decisions within their plans.

Whether this is done purposely or not is up to debate but I suspect they do.

I’ll keep my eye on this so expect more blogs upon this important subject.

Huge thanks to Benefits and Work for their hard work and original source of information about this subject..

Massive thanks to everyone that likes, shares and tweets my blog posts. This makes a massive difference in raising awareness of subjects such as this.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and I really am struggling to keep going.

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DWP Deliberately Disconnects Calls To PIP And DLA Helplines


DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) minister Tom Pursglove admitted that claimants are waiting over half an hour on average for PIP and DLA helpline calls to be answered.

He also claimed that he is going to recruit extra staff to cope with the volume of calls on the helplines but gave absolutely no indication of how many are being employed and for how long they’ll be employed.

Nor has he confirmed if the extra staff he plans to employ are qualified to do so.



At the time of writing the average wait for a PIP enquiry to be answered is 37 minutes and for DLA enquiries it is 33.5 minutes.



However it is imperative that Tom Pursglove reveals the amount of callers that don’t get an answer at all because their calls are disconnected.



Earlier this year the DWP revealed that in March almost 90% of half a million callers to the Future Pensions Centre were faced with being call-blocked because they couldn’t cope with the rising call demand.

Implementing Call-blocking results in calls not being allowed to go on the call waiting queue because the queue is too long and they get cut off.

This is also happening to callers contacting the PIP helpline as reported to Benefits And Work by claimants trying to contact the said helpline.

We cannot ignore the fact that the claimants trying to contact these helplines are all vulnerable and are in great need of getting their enquiries answered.

The question also needs to be answered as to how many of these vulnerable people have given up trying to contact the departments. This could in some circumstances result in their payments being stopped leaving them more vulnerable than they already were. .

There’s no excuse for the DWP’s lax attitude towards the whole situation.

It’s clear that they don’t care about how this can impact upon the claimants lives and it is totally unacceptable.

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Thanks to Benefits And Work for disclosing this information.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog posts.

Every share makes a huge difference in raising awareness which is vitality important. Thanks to everyone that has done and does this.

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Thank you!

DWP plans reveal That PIP Claimants Could Lose Support Group Status In 2026


According to new DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) plans existing PIP (Personal Independence Payments) claimants may lose their right to be in the support group.

Under these new plans they could also lose their LCWRA ( Limited capability for work and work related activity) status and be transferred to the universal credit health element.

Once there they may be required to carry out work-related activities, as early as 2026.



The government also announced plans in March to axe the work capability assessment (WCA).



Under the new proposed plans, claimants who get any element of PIP and who claim UC will automatically be eligible for an additional health element.

Sounds good doesn’t it…..

Shockingly at the time of writing the new system won’t automatically recognize any claimant as being unable to carry out any work-related activities.


Claimants might find themselves forced to undergo voluntary and mandatory work-related requirements by an appointed work coach.

Once there they could be subject to benefit sanctions if they don’t meet the mandatory requirements as set by their work coach.



At the time of the new plans announcement the government made a statement that current claimants would not begin being transferred to the new system until 2029 at the earliest.



Apparently only new claimants were said to be affected initially, with the system being rolled out by geographical area between 2026 and 2029.


Despite this announcement evidence given to the commons work and pensions committee by the DWP contradicted the above claim.


Conservative MP Nigel Mills asked: “What happens if I get a called for a new PIP assessment every couple of years and I get one of those in 2027? Does that drop me into the new rules or do I stay under the old ones?”

A senior DWP official responded:

“With the way we will roll this out, we start from 2026 with new claims only, but we will do it in a geographical, staged way. It would depend which area you were in in 2027. Yes, some people might come in under the new rules, and that means they would automatically get your UC health payment and would automatically get the support.”



As an ever increasing proportion of England and Wales will be moved to the UC health element beginning in 2026.

This suggests that thousands of existing PIP claimants when subjected to a review of their award will find themselves being forced onto the UC health element earlier than 2029.

So once again the DWP are lying.


However this does give us time to start campaigning against the new proposals but this needs to start now.

We need to prevent the DWPs plans to subject existing claimants to the attention of work coaches with targets to meet even though they deny this.

The government and their hench people will never stop persecuting disabled and poor people for their very existence.

Many have the view that they deserve to be persecuted like this. They’ll never change their opinions but we can fight them all the way.

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Secret Sanction Report Proves Sanctions Don’t Work


After many months of waiting and pressure from organisations and campaigners the DWP finally relented and published the secret sanction report that I’ve reported on previously.

This report concerned itself into the effectiveness of DWP (Department of Work and Pension) sanctions, afterall it’s a cruel tool used by them for a long time.

However in true DWP style they released it hours before the UK was closed to business for the Easter bank holiday.


The report shows that sanctioned claimants do take longer to move into paid employment and when they do so they’re most likely going to accept lower paid jobs than claimants that haven’t been sanctioned.

It also reveals that there’s no evidence that sanctions are effective in any way at all.


According to the report claimants that have been sanctioned also have 8% shorter UC claims than claimants who were not sanctioned.


The report proves that the majority of claimants with shortened claims disappear, they do not move into paid employment which is very worrying.



Claimants who are sanctioned and who eventually move into PAYE work then take longer to do so than those were not sanctioned and earn an average of £34 a month less than those not sanctioned.

The DWP rather unexpectedly argue in a ‘context note’ within the report that the research cannot be relied upon because it did not take into account the value of the ‘deterrent effect’ of the sanctions regime.



The DWPs ongoing theory is that claimants are more likely to meet their obligations because they fear being sanctioned thus sanctions are an effective tool.


In the three years since the draft report was created the DWP have chosen not to commission any independent research to test the truth of their deterrent effect theory.

Instead they intend to introduce a much harsher sanctions regime, when the only hard evidence they have about sanctions proves that they don’t work.

DWP Sanctions can and should be appealed however this takes a great deal of strength and determination of which not many have due to being completely worn down by the system.

So there we have it, the DWP once again ignoring important information that have a direct negative effect upon sanctioned claimants and their well-being.

The amount of people that decide to take themselves off the system when sanctioned is very concerning.

Don’t expect the DWP to care though, this is exactly what they want to happen and a claimants well-being isn’t even thought about let alone be a concern.

How many more deaths will there be as a result of being sanctioned before the cruel sanctioning system is forced to stop.

I predict thousands because not one political party is willing to campaign against this and apart from a few good MPs such as Debbie Abrahams they’re silent

Sanctions do kill and this report needs to be acted upon ASAP. One death is a death too many.

No one should be forced to suffer in this manner it’s inhumane and cruel.

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Photo by Robert Bogdan on Pexels.com

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I really couldn’t do this without you though. To say I’m struggling at the moment is an understatement.

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I’ve got my internet bill to be paid as well as my top up for my mobile phone that I rely upon to help people.

This week I’ve heard some truly awful stories of people suffering and I’ve done everything I can to help those that need it.

Thank you.

Braverman Claims £25K For Energy Bills For House She Doesn’t Use

Whilst most of us are struggling to keep warm this winter because of the ever increasing energy costs Braverman has claimed £25K for energy bills for a house that she doesn’t use.

Scandalous isn’t it, completely brazen such is their attitude towards the cost of living and energy cost scandals.

Meanwhile, the energy bills support scheme which saw households getting around £66 taken off their bills each month has come to an end in March 2023.

This will undoubtedly result in vulnerable people unable to turn their heating on which is still very important because it’s still cold.

As stated in the above photo people have died or become ill from hypothermia and hypothermia related illnesses and will continue to do so.

Not everyone can travel to organised warm places, they’re not a solution because their homes will still be cold upon returning.

Thousands are dependent upon food banks to be able to eat a meal, many are unable to cook meals because of high energy costs.

Mortality rates are almost definitely going to increase and the government yet again want to force disabled people into work.

God help us, there’s no levels the government won’t go to to punish the working class for simply existing.

They’re monsters of the worst kind with not an ounce of dignity, compassion and honesty between them all.

Like all monsters they’ll continue to do so until they’re defeated and we must do this.

Everyone needs to remember their cruelty at the upcoming local elections. Not voting will enable them to continue as they are doing now.

It’s been predicted that the Tories could lose up to 1,000 seats. Let’s hope this happens..

Check on your friends and neighbours to see if they’re ok because at the moment we have only each other to rely on.

Take care.

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Jobcentre Plus Arrangements For Easter


Jobcentre Plus opening times are different over Easter.



Friday 7 April: offices and phonelines are closed


Monday 10 April: offices and phonelines are closed

From 11 April offices and phonelines are open as usual.


To make sure people get their payments on a day when Jobcentre Plus offices are open, some payments will be paid early:



If the expected payment date is Friday 7 April, benefits will be paid on Thursday 6 April


If the expected payment date is Monday 10 April, benefits will be paid on Thursday 6 April


If the expected payment date is not shown, customers will get their money on their usual payment date.

1 In 7 Universal Credit Claimants Sanctioned

According to statistics released by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) the rate of universal credit recipients hit an all-time high of 6.86% in October 2022.

This total decreased slightly to 6.51% in November 2022.

The statistics released by the DWP show that sanctions have risen by 4.16 percentage points in the last 12 months.



Sanctions given to universal credit recipients can be and are not excluding other reasons for failure to attend or participate in a mandatory interview, failure or inability to complete their online journal or being seen as not to be looking for work enough in their time allotted to do so.

Over the last year over half a million claimants were sanctioned which includes a total of 98.4% of all sanctions given for not attending an in-face or telephone interview.

Needless to say most universal credit recipients do not purposely miss important interviews and there is usually a good reason for doing so which are often not taken into consideration by the DWP.

At a time when most people are struggling because of the current cost of living and energy cost crisis the DWP continues to financially punish the most vulnerable.

It’s abhorrent that the DWP continues to do this, they extend a person’s punishment to such an extent that they can’t see a way out.

It needs to stop before even more people die as a result of the DWPs actions and decision making.

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Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. Every share makes a massive difference in raising awareness!

A huge thanks to everyone that does this!

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, subscribes to and supports my blog and the work that I do.

I really couldn’t do this without you and I can’t thank you enough.

If you like my work and would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Thank you so much!

New Cruel Universal Credit Sanction Traps Exposed

I’d like to say I was surprised upon hearing about a new sanction trap for Universal Credit (UC)) claimants but I’m not, afterall it’s not exactly the first time they’ve done this to unsuspecting claimants.

This time it’s been disguised as supposed help to move claimants into work.


The new scheme which has surprisingly been condemned by members of the DWP staff union PCS despite jobcentre workers are being offered a £250 ‘incentive’ to implement it.



The newly named Additional Jobcentre Support scheme requires UC claimants being forced by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) to attend their allocated Jobcentre 10 times over a two week period.


Claimants that are unable to attend or failing to participate in one session will highly likely to lead to a sanction.



Undeterred however by the cruelty of this new scheme the DWP are being ‘trialed’ at 60 jobcentres across England and Scotland.

As already proven by myself and many other like-minded campaigners these so called trials are usually the start of a national roll out regardless if they’re successful or not.



To add incentive to roll out this terrible scheme the DWP are offering a £250 bonus in the form of a voucher “to recognise and reward jobcentre teams who furthest exceed their aspirational targets.”

These vouchers will be given to each member of staff in the best performing jobcentres.


No explanation has so far been given as to what the alleged “aspirational targets” consist of and if this involves taking people off benefitif claimants have failed to comply for whatever reason. Nor has the DWP commented if it involves sanctioning claimants or forcing claimants into unsuitable and insecure work.


The PCS union, which represents DWP staff commented saying that they have no doubt that the main purpose of the scheme is to make life harder for claimants, saying:

“Our members will see through this pilot for what it is – a government hellbent on making it more difficult for people to claim benefits and which will increase the risk of poverty for those customers who fall foul of this pilot. Asking more customers to travel more often into jobcentres does nothing to help our staff or their workloads and does nothing to help the customers find the work that they need.”

However as I have already stated this isn’t the first time that the DWP have issued financial targets to incentivise cruelty.

Previous examples of this are ‘Sandras Stars’ which consisted of a Jobcentre manager giving DWP employees a star on a leaderboard for every employee that ‘offloaded’ sanctioned a claimant.

https://wp.me/p1Awq-2cd Sandra’s Stars

And who could also forget this example back in 2015. Of course they denied that this happened but the truth was all too obvious.

If there’s one thing that the government likes doing the most is implementing cruelty to the poorest and most vulnerable the very people.

The government and their henchpeople the DWP target social security claimants the most because they’re less likely to fightback and demand they’re treated fairly.

Most are worn down with the constant compliance requests that they’re hounded with.

They know that people claiming any form of social security are already paying the highest price for the cost of living and energy bills prices.

Many are primarily focused upon trying to get by from day to day and are less likely to know their legal rights and how to appeal DWP decisions.

Let’s hope that the PCS DWP staff members rebel against the mandate given to them from the government and their managers. If they do they deserve our support.

Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. It’s vital that we raise awareness on this subject and many of the others that I have published previously.

Also a huge thanks for the support that you my subscribers and readers have shown me in the last week. I really can’t thank you enough, I couldn’t do this without you and I appreciate it.