Tens of thousands of disabled people hit by cruel benefit sanctions, DWP figures show : Welfare Weekly.

More than 71,000 sanctions were applied against disabled ESA claimants between 3 December 2012 and 30 December 2016.

While the mainstream media is focusing on the latest employment data, figures published today by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveal that tens of thousands of people with disabilities have been subjected to cruel benefit sanctions since December 2012.

According to the data, 71,366 sanctions were applied against disabled Employment and Support Allowance claimants between 3 December 2012 and 30 December 2016.

The shocking figures also suggest that some disabled people were sanctioned more than once, with the data showing 41,510 disabled individuals received an adverse sanction decision over this period.

In total, more than 85,000 ESA claimants were affected by benefit sanctions between 3 December 2012 and 30 December 2016, with the highest number of these living in London and the Home Counties (22,589).

However, the data also shows that 95,571 sanction referrals did not result in an adverse decision and 130,000 referrals were cancelled before a final decision was made.

The most common reason for sanction referrals seems to be ‘failure to participate in work related activity’, which may include attending work-focused interviews and other work-related activities the DWP believe will improve a disabled person’s future job prospects.

Disabled Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants are also being hit hard by sanctions, with over 260,000 receiving an adverse sanction decision between 22 October 2012 and 30 September 2016.

Opponents of the benefit sanctions regime say people with disabilities face far more barriers to employment compared to non-disabled people. They also compare the sanctions regime to a ‘postcode lottery’, with the likelihood of a person being sanctioned largely dependent on where they live.

Campaigners storm parliament in protest against government disability policies.

A National Audit Office report in November 2016 concluded that the government had failed to provide any discernable evidence that benefit sanctions actually work.

The spending watchdog said the DWP is failing to monitor those who have had their benefits stopped or reduced, whilst warning many are being pushed outside of the benefits system entirely,.. and questioned whether the sanctions regime offered value for money to taxpayers.

NAO estimates found the DWP had withheld £132m from claimants through the use of sanctions in 2015, and paid them £35m in hardship payments.

The costs of administering sanctions increased to £50m in 2015, but the wider impact on public spending through additional support or savings had not been calculated by the DWP, auditors said.

Commenting on the report, Labour MP Meg Hillier said: “Benefit sanctions punish some of the poorest people in the country. But despite the anxiety and misery they cause, it seems to be pot luck who gets sanctioned.

“While studies suggest sanctions do encourage some people back into work, other people stop claiming but do not start working and the Department for Work and Pensions has no record of them.

“If vulnerable people fall through the safety net, what happens to them?”

The SNP has warned Government proposals to close job centres could further increase the risk of sanctions and “cause real difficulty and hardship for thousands of people“.

Fears have also been raised by the Public and Commercial Services union, after the DWP admitted the closures could cost hundreds of jobs.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Jobcentres provide a lifeline for unemployed people, and forcing them to travel further is not only unfair it undermines support to get them back to work.

“We are opposed to these closures and will vigorously fight any attempt to force DWP workers out of their jobs.”

Link : Welfare Weekly.


6 thoughts on “Tens of thousands of disabled people hit by cruel benefit sanctions, DWP figures show : Welfare Weekly.

  1. jeffrey davies

    the stormtrooper sais PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Jobcentres provide a lifeline for unemployed people, and forcing them to travel further is not only unfair it undermines support to get them back to work. hmmm if he had opposed this gov from the start now his people who are only following orders just like those70 yrs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The folks at the DWP should really see that things are twisting on them.
    DWP Jobs will be taken up by private companies like ATOS and CAPITA and this will include administration jobs not just medicals
    Watch as the Gov PRIVATISE the Job Centre Plus in the same way as they tried with HMRC WTC system (which Capita managed to royally screw up before getting the boot in the form of a Golden Handshake)
    Whilst NOT ALL DWP JCP employees are complete Bastards, there are some who seem to take a perverse pleasure in applying sanctions (and in some cases I believe even going to the point of PRE-Planning an individuals sanction. JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN.
    I do believe if you are fit for work then you should look for it BUT the DWP have made so many previously sick people “FIT” under very questionable circumstances.
    I also believe that the UK should FIRST offer UK Jobs to UK Citizens and not just UK Residents
    and any person who is genuinely FIT for work and then turns down a Job that pays Min wage or better. Should then face sanctions. The Australian system is really what we should adopt

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I, Daniel Blake is a realistic depiction of life on benefits. Isn’t it?
    Accusations that the film is inaccurate are part of the ongoing attempt to dismiss what is being done to vulnerable people in Britain’s toxic social security system.
    Compare and contrast two versions of austerity Britain. On Sunday, as I, Daniel Blake director Ken Loach collected a Bafta, he thanked the Academy for “endorsing the truth that this film says, which is that hundreds of thousands of people – the vulnerable and the poorest people – are treated by this government with a callousness and brutality that is disgraceful”. A few days earlier, Steve McCall, a manager of the Jobcentre Plus in Newcastle that is depicted in the film, spoke out to dispute its accuracy. “I hope people don’t think the film is a documentary,” he said. “Because it’s a story that doesn’t represent the reality we work in.”
    Read More…


  4. Pingback: Tens of thousands of disabled people hit by cruel benefit sanctions, DWP figures show : Welfare Weekly. | Benefit tales

  5. Loccie

    Removing the weak link in the chain of misery, the humans at the JCP. Judging by the amount of sick leave in the DWP it must be hard for even the most seasoned hand to take a daily dose of utter misery served up to them from the mouths of the chattel. I don’t mean abuse, although they must get their fair share, abuse they can deal with because then they can believe we are scum. I mean real heart breaking stories that must make even their souls ache.

    They will have an automated sanction system, log onto their job site for x hours a day/week or be automatically sanctioned, ‘the computer say NO!’ No computer? no problem we will provide a terminal in a booth in town. Staff? they just ain’t performing their task well enough, threaten them with job loses may be that will erase their empathy.

    Liked by 1 person

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