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New DR UK updated benefit sanctions factsheet free to download

21 July 2020

On 30 June, Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey announced conditionality and benefit sanctions, suspended from March, had been reintroduced as jobcentres in England start to reopen after lockdown, saying it was “essential” claimant rules are reinstated.

Given this, we have reviewed and updated our free to download benefits sanctions factsheet.

Our revised factsheet describes the sanctions that apply to universal credit, 'new style' employment and support allowance (ESA) and 'new style' jobseeker's allowance (JSA).

Issues covered in our new factsheet include:

  • what a benefit sanction is
  • the different levels of sanctions
  • how long sanctions may last
  • avoiding or reducing the risk of a sanction
  • how to challenge a sanction decision
  • how to claim a hardship payment
  • where to get more help or information

DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said:

“The decision to reintroduce conditionality and sanctions is appalling and one that DR UK strongly condemns. Quite simply, it should be reversed.

There has been no research that finds that the conditionality and sanctions regime helps disabled people. Instead there is evidence that the DWP’s sanctions system has discriminated against disabled people for a decade.

The Work and Pensions Committee of MPs concluded two years ago that not only is there no evidence that the DWP’s benefit conditionality sanctions system works but that “worse, it is harmful and counterproductive".

DR UK wants a system that genuinely supports the many disabled people who want to work to keep their job when they become disabled - and, for those out of work, to get into work, or set up their own business, with the tailored and flexible support they need to do so.

Instead people are now again subject to a regime that seems to be finding coercive ways to get people off benefits when their health or other critical factors clearly make this inappropriate.

DR UK will continue to argue for replacing benefits sanctions with effective support for both disabled people and employers, to make a reality of the Government’s pledge to reduce the disability employment gap.

Until then, it’s vital that disabled claimants know how the sanctions system works, how to avoid them and how to challenge them if imposed.

Our updated factsheet gives useful information on all of these.”

Our updated benefits sanctions factsheet and our many other factsheets covering areas including appeals, benefits, education, equality, hate crime reporting, independent living and personal budgets are all available from disabilityrightsuk.org.