Tag: universal credit sanctions

WCA To Be Abolished But It’s Not Good News. Universal Credit Sanctions Set To become Harsher.

It was announced in yesterdays budget that the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) is likely to be abolished however details of conditionality agreements, sanctions and other conditionality details have nit been revealed yet.

Theres also been rumours of the introduction of automated sanctions possibly implemented by bots for UC (Universal Credit) claimants

With the abolition of the WCA the small protection from conditionality that exists for those who are placed in the support group has been removed but the question is how soon they can enact this and is it a done deal?

From my knowledge this can’t happen without it first being in the white paper which it already is but this then has to go through parliament as a bill and then become an act so none of this is a done deal and it’s uncertain that they’ll have time to do this before a future general election.



If all of the above is successful and the WCA is abolished there are no details as to how the DWP will make decisions upon who will qualify for extra payments because they’re unable to return to work because of illness and disability.



Theres also the question of will the LCWRA (Universal Credit Work Related Activity) continue to stay or will they remove this as well in the future?

Theres also no details given as to who or what will decide if you should be subject to sanctions if you can’t look for work because your condition prevents you from looking for work and attend meetings.



As well as abolishing the WCA, the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) is allegedly already planning to ‘strengthen’ UC sanctions, with rumours of using possible Bots and specially trained staff to do so. These measures could automate the issuing of sanctions notices.

If these rumours are correct, this could mean that sanctions which are already at a record level high could well increase even more when DWP bots possibly send out sanction notices. Sanction notices are notorious for arriving late leaving the claimant with no idea why they haven’t received their payments.

Not to forget that bots aren’t programmed to ask for and look for reasons as to why a claimant has allegedly missed an appointment and they certainly don’t take into account a persons ability to attend meetings.


Whilst any changes to the WCA are very likely to take years to introduce and there is time to challenge these decisions, changes to sanctions could well be introduced rapidly and without warning.

Another question that needs answering is will these changes apply to existing claims? If so this will most likely take a long time to transition. So don’t panic nothing is going to suddenly change if you are currently in support group / LCWRA.



So when will these changes happen?

They will be rolled out geographically for new claims first from 2026/27 to 2029. Only then would existing claimants begin to be affected. There will be some transitional protection for claimants who have LCWRA but do not get any element of PIP.

The degree of change in our proposals will require primary legislation, which we would aim to take forward in a new Parliament when parliamentary time allows. These reforms would then be rolled out, to new claims only, on a staged, geographical basis from no earlier than 2026/27

Below is a government link to their proposals in their white paper.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transforming-support-the-health-and-disability-white-paper

I’ve tried to be concise and to word things simply, I don’t want anyone to panic and think that these changes are going to happen soon because they aren’t and theres time to oppose these proposals and protest against them.

Regarding Universal Credit claimants they’re most likely to bear the brunt of this much sooner and we still need to continue to support them and campaign against the extremely harsh treatment being thrown at them.

It’s no surprise that the government has yet again chosen to target the most vulnerable and I can see no end to their cruelty. We need to support each other in these cruelest of times.

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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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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.

Whilst The Queen Celebrates Jubilee Record level Of Universal Credit Sanctions Published

A record level number of Universal Credit (UC) sanctions has recently been published by the Department of Work and Pensions on the 22nd May 2022.

It is reported by the DWP that the amount of UC sanctions had reached a record high in January 2022 this is according to statistics released by the DWP in May.

This follows the restrictions during the the pandemic when the DWP had been pressurised to remove work search and availability requirements for UC claimants also suspending face-to-face interviews due to the health risks involved. Work search and availability requirements were reintroduced gradually and are now fully implemented.

According to the latest figures released by the DWP UC sanctions prior to the pandemic consisted of 2.51% of UC claimants being sanctioned. In February 2022 sanction levels had risen dramatically to 3.90%.

According to the report in January 2022 there were reported 38,200 adverse sanction decisions showing the highest number of adverse sanction decisions on UC full service ever recorded, leaving many claimants dragging claimants further into poverty.

According to the DWP statistics released in February 2022 36.3% of UC claimants were in the conditionality groups that could be subject to sanctions, this includes claimants in the “searching for work”, “planning for work”, “preparing for work” or “unknown” conditionality groups.

It appears that the DWP have wasted no time in hitting claimants with sanctions and this is what they do best. Instead of helping claimants they find it more beneficial to unfairly sanction some of the most vulnerable people.

The conditionality requirements are confusing especially after the pandemic with many claimants not realising that their requirements had returned to normal. It’ll also be interesting to find out how many of them were affected by long Covid or indeed Covid itself and of course they wouldn’t have been able to reach out for sympathy from the DWP.

Not only will these sanctions have a terrible affect upon a persons health and well-being they will also put even more pressure upon already over subscribed food banks that were already struggling before the pandemic.

Whilst the nation is supposed to be celebrating the queens jubilee, a woman with an immense amount of privilege and wealth, thousands will be left suffering in extreme poverty unable to afford even the most basic things. It’s time that we should highlight their plights instead of celebrating the jubilee.

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You can find the full report here at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-sanctions-statistics-to-january-2022-experimental/benefit-sanctions-statistics-to-january-2022-experimental

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