As many of you already know the DWP never miss an opportunity to sanction claimants, however it was much harder to do so whilst the country was in lockdown because of the pandemic.
The drop in Universal Credit sanctions was as a result of changes to the conditionality rules that were implemented in March 2020 because of the pandemic.
Normal service seems to have resumed sadly with the rate of Universal Credit sanctions rising 15 fold in four months according to Benefits And Work.
This all changed in April 2021 when face to face meetings returned thus causing sanctions levels to rise. This proves that the decision to sanction claimants lies firstly with Job Coaches and often is influenced by their opinion and not fact.
Theres no other reason for this when online claimant were seen to meet the expectations of their claimant commitments, yet now they apparently don’t.
Benefit sanctioning is an extremely cruel way of punishing someone for apparently not reaching the DWPs expectations. Taking away a persons financial means of survival is wrong on all levels, it’s hard enough trying to survive on the meagre amount of monies given in the first place.
I’ve blogged about benefit sanctions for many years now, and I’ve also had articles published in newspapers etc.
My opinion is this, and it will never change.
No one should be punished financially by sanctions. Sanctions do not and never have encouraged people to find work or look for work more diligently.
When a claimant is sanctioned they can only focus on keeping warm, being able to eat and how they’re going to pay their rent.
Being sanctioned and refusing to pay ESA and PIP claimants their rightful payments directly causes mental and physical distress, often leading to long term illness and depression.
Whilst quite rightly we are told to leave an abusive relationship for our own safety a person can’t leave the DWP and everything that comes with it. It’s obscene that people are treated in this manner, being guilty before being found innocent. It’s gaslighting at its worst.
Prior to the pandemic the highest sanctioning levels happened back in July 2019, when 22,566 claimants were hit with a reduction in their benefit.
I have no doubt that this figure will be surpassed if it hasn’t already.
We must continue to hold the government and the DWP responsible for their actions.
Many thanks once again to Benefits And Work for their hard work for researching and gathering the data. They work extremely hard to help others.
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