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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The 11 most senseless benefit sanction decisions - Week of action 4-12 October

The 11 most senseless benefit sanction decisions - How can we fightback ? Week of action 4-12 October

Benefit sanctions, is a governmental policy where a job centre can suspend or dock a claimant’s welfare payments.

The impact of the sanctions vary: in the most extreme cases a person can lose their benefits for three years. Reasons for withdrawing benefits can range to being late for a meeting, failing to turn up on time, or leaving several jobs voluntarily.

In the wake of a diabetic ex-soldier dying after his benefits were sanctioned and three disgruntled ex-DWP civil servants going rogue to help welfare claimants who believe their payments have been wrongly docked, we look at the most ridiculous reasons for sanctioning benefits yet.

1) A man with heart problems who was on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) had a heart attack during a work capability assessment. He was then sanctioned for failing to complete the assessment. Source reference

2) A man who had gotten a job that was scheduled to begin in two weeks’ time was sanctioned for not looking for work as he waited for the role to start. Source reference

3) Army veteran Stephen Taylor, 60, whose Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was stopped after he sold poppies in memory of fallen soldiers. Source reference

4) A man had to miss his regular appointment at the job centre to attend his father’s funeral. He was sanctioned even though he told DWP staff in advance. Source reference

5) Ceri Padley, 26, had her benefits sanctioned after she missed an appointment at the jobcentre - because she was at a job interview. Source reference

6) A man got sanctioned for missing his slot to sign on - as he was attending a work programme interview. He was then sanctioned as he could not afford to travel for his job search. Source reference

7) Sean Halkyward, 24, said his benefits were sanctioned because he looked for too many jobs in one week. Source reference

8) Mother-of-three Angie Godwin, 27, said her benefits were sanctioned after she applied for a role job centre staff said was beyond her. Source reference

9) Sofya Harrison was sanctioned for attending a job interview and moving her signing-on to another day. Source reference

10) Michael, 54, had his benefits sanctioned for four months for failing to undertake a week’s work experience at a charity shop. The charity shop had told him they didn’t want him there. Source reference

11) Terry Eaton, 58, was sanctioned because he didn’t have the bus fare he needed to attend an appointment with the job centre. Source reference

More examples - checkout DWP Unspun

Meanwhile claimants are being beaten up for claiming benefits - Poll reveals widespread victimisation of people claiming benefits

Claiming benefits has become so stigmatised that hundreds of thousands of claimants have been physically and verbally abused, research reveals.

Many also reported difficulty in renting a home, opening a bank account and even getting paid employment because of attitudes towards people on benefits.

In a poll carried out by YouGov for the Who benefits? campaign, 15% said they had experienced verbal abuse for claiming benefits, while 4% said they'd been physically abused.


One in six said a landlord or letting agent had refused to let them rent a property, and nearly a fifth said they'd been treated less favourably by a potential employer or had difficulty accessing a bank account or financial services because they were claiming benefits.

Most people on benefits are in work, and when asked about the change that would most improve their situation, the most popular answer was higher pay.


Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants
are calling for an end to shaming benefits claimants and instead focussing on the reasons that they need help, whether that's low wages, unemployment or the housing shortage.

Our benefits system should help people when they fall on difficult times and support them to live with dignity,  the reality is, many find themselves isolated and excluded from society.


How can we fightback ?

Take part in the Boycott Workfare week of action! 4-12 October 2014 - help spread the word!

Forcing people to work for free through the threat of removing people’s benefits (#sanctions) is unfair, unjust and wrong. In the week of action, tell the companies and charities who are profiting from this exploitative regime what you think of their involvement! Email, Tweet, use Facebook, phone them, protest, organise a flashmob: for a week of piling the pressure on workfare exploiters.

Workfare undermines real paid jobs and wages; results in sanctions for thousands; does nothing to improve the chances of finding a job; and exploits those forced to take up these placements. Our actions can stop companies, charities and councils from exploiting this forced unpaid work. Wherever you are, however you can contribute, take action on 4-12 October.


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