Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Sanctioned Jobless with Mental Health Problems not “Vulnerable” says DWP.

with 25 comments


Sanctioned Jobseekers with mental health problems are not classed as ‘vulnerable’ unless they have an accompanying physical health problem, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Reports Welfare Weekly.

Use of the controversial sanctions regime, which sees claimants money cut or stopped for up to three years, has rocketed since stricter rules were introduced by the government.

In 2013-14 record numbers of sanctions were imposed, with nearly one in six jobseekers affected, and many fear those with mental health problems are often the hardest hit.

When a claimant has their Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) reduced or stopped they can apply for a hardship payment – up to 60% of their JSA. This can go some way to cover the cost of food and bills while they have no other means of support. Those classed as ‘vulnerable’ can normally claim this vital support immediately, but others may have to wait at least two weeks.

However, those JSA claimants with even the most serious mental health illnesses are not considered vulnerable by DWP; they have to instead wait and go through what could become a lengthy application process.

DWP guidance on hardship payments states: “Requests for hardship payments may be made by people who say they have a mental condition. A person will only be a member of a vulnerable group if the condition causes limitation in functional capacity because of a physical impairment.”

It continues: “It is extremely rare for a mental condition to produce a physical impairment that limits or restricts functional capacity but it can happen.”

For decision makers in any doubt, the guidance goes on to clarify all mental illnesses “without physical impairment”:

  • Affective disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Affective disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Depression
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Nervous Debility
  • Neurasthenia
  • Neurosis
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Phobias
  • Phobic anxiety
  • Psychoneurosis
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

Welfare Weekly cites statistics showing that 23% of JSA claimants have a mental health condition.

“While those suffering from the most severe mental illnesses are likely to receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), it is estimated that 23% of JSA claimants have a mental health condition.”

This should be put in full context: the same statistical source estimates that 16% of the General Population has a mental health condition (Page 3. Mental Health and Employment.)

It is also important to look at the rise in sanctions.

These are the figures available in January this year: (ITV News)


And this: Claimants with mental health issues are being ‘punished’ for being late and missing appointments while claiming benefits.

There has been no sudden rise in the numbers of people with these difficulties.

We can conclude that people with these problems are particularly hit.

In other words, the effect of sanctions regime is to punish the vulnerable.

The benefit sanctions regime should be scrapped !


Written by Andrew Coates

August 7, 2015 at 4:21 pm

25 Responses

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  1. A person will only be a member of a vulnerable group if the condition causes limitation in functional capacity because of a physical impairment

    Where did they get that one from?this is totally conflicting to jobseekers legislation which sees things differently also Equality act, thats to start.its sanction first then (sweat it and see) ask questions later.they will try and get away with anyting.


    August 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    • Ken

      If a person has a certified history of ‘episodes’, I’ll leave it to others to certify what that means but it should be clear to everyone, this means that DWP says such issues are non-existent. In any ‘issue’ that arises from saying as such/or acting in a manner to make it appear as laid out above DWP will be in trouble due to the persons [normally being on some kind of medication] over ruling a medical practitioner.
      If employed by DWP to make such a decision said practitioner would be open to being sued as well as DWP for their actions. Also I would class it as a criminal action – murder [served as jury foreman] conviction arises from answering the question “Did the person/organization make a decision which could have stopped/cause death(s)?” This can be reduced down to manslaughter but the paper trail I suspect will be enough for the former.
      Truly DWP/Gov are determined to end up in a court of law to answer these types of questions.


      August 7, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      • This is a hate campaign above and beyond anything seen before.A friend emailed yesterday with several members of his family severly disabled relying on public services saying eggs and plumbs were all over the family car as it was a target the police were called in.

        The levels of hate targetted by neighbours at those with disabilities and those out of work is off the scale,the government has set the scene where these peoples lives mean nothing,the damage done by their actions meaningless the contempt for the law also shown the same.


        August 7, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      • Gazza, a message for you on the previuos thread.


        August 8, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      • enigma

        Sorry to hear about the data usage problem- replied in that thread but could you tell the exact version used and if LiveCD/full install & I’ll dig into this so no one else gets caught out – Apologise to you wasting your money in days instead of a month.


        August 9, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      • I have replied in the same thread. no worries Gazza.


        August 9, 2015 at 7:09 pm

  2. It is high time the whole notion of ‘vulnerable’ is wiped from the benefits system. ‘Vulnerable’ is a New Labour construct and harks back to the days when under a Labour administration you were denied any form of hardship payment whatsoever unless you were in a ‘vulnerable’ group. The SSAC (Social Security Advisory Committee) challenged Labour about the sheer brutality of this policy but to no avail; Labour refused to budge. New Labour are pure evil! Utter, utter evil!

    Anyway, the question is: Who is more vulnerable? A ‘vulnerable’ jobseeker receiving a (reduced) income or a non-vulnerable jobseeker expected to survive on £0 income?

    Catch 22

    August 7, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    • We should all be thanking our lucky stars that those pure fucking evil ‘let’s kick the scroungers’ New Labour connards weren’t elected at GE2015. God only knows where we would all be by know – starving to death in the gutter no doubt!

      Lucky Star

      August 8, 2015 at 5:46 am

      • Don’t forget the connasses as well….

        Andrew Coates

        August 8, 2015 at 11:08 am

      • Missed out on Rachel Reeve’s “Jobs Guarantee” for starters 😀


        August 8, 2015 at 11:16 am

  3. Government urged to publish more data to give the public a clearer understanding of how jobseekers are penalised.



    August 8, 2015 at 7:42 am

    • Can’t see them doing this. They will get out of a FOI. It would not be in the public interest to publish {?}


      August 8, 2015 at 7:49 am

  4. It is in every human beings interest to know what is going on, for what is going on is affecting millions/billions of people, some of whom could be related to you, we don’t want that do we.

    Who doesn’t want to be informed about something which could affect their lives in the future in a very bad way.


    August 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm

  5. Mental health charity, Mind, have expressed ‘extreme concern’ following the revelation that sanctioned jobseekers with mental illness are not classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

    DWP guidance on hardship payments for sanctioned Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants says a person will only be a member of a vulnerable group if they have an accompanying physical health problem.

    Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind said: “We are extremely concerned that this guidance does not consider people with mental health problems to be vulnerable compared to those who are living with physical health problems.
    “Making such a distinction could result in further financial difficulties for those affected by mental health problems, in addition to the distress caused by being sanctioned in the first place.”


    Andrew Coates

    August 8, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    • So the DWP have the disabled “phyiscally” marked as vulnerable, is this why the disabled people who are and were on ESA because they are disabled were and still are being targeted by way of an assesment which is “set up to fail” the disabled.


      August 8, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    • A growing incidence of mental health issues among children and young people is a national crisis.

      The number of teenagers reported to be suffering from depression has doubled since the 1980s, and the number of young people admitted to hospital because of self-harm is on the rise.

      This is a shocking erosion of even the most basic safety net for children in serious need. The costs for children are devastating: often they will end up dropping out of school, unable to cope. Some will end up in the criminal justice system: 95% of youth offenders have mental health issues. And the long-term cost of this social failure to the state will also be enormous.



      August 9, 2015 at 1:44 pm

  6. Welfare Weekly editor, Steven Preece, here. Just to let you know that you have Welfare News Service listed under your ‘media’ links. Welfare Weekly is the new home of Welfare News Service, after is was renamed a number of months ago.

    Steven Preece

    August 9, 2015 at 5:23 am

  7. It appears that local authorities/housing associations are being owed an increasing amount of rent appears. The amount owed is predicted to get a lot higher when universal credit takes full effect. But what can local authorities/housing associations really if the vast majority of their tenants are in arrears/don’t pay their rent. They can isolate an individual household here and there for eviction as a ‘deterrent and pour encourager les autres but can they really evict whole housing schemes leaving them empty while they receive no rental income whatsoever?

    It is possible to reach a state where, as happened in the 1970s, whole housing schemes were effectively ‘rent-free’. The bailiffs feared to tread in these areas and neither would the police enter these ‘un-policeable’ areas.

    For all intents and purposes, effectively, the tenants then once again ‘owned’ the properties that had been stolen from them originally as they were taken back into public ownership.

    Housing Officer

    August 9, 2015 at 8:20 am

    • Housing Officer,

      Could for the ConCons of course but not for anybody else [they are the home of the buy to let mob of course], the underlying point of the welfare changes also be to get rid of such associations – how soon before it is mooted that they would be much better off in the hands of said buy to let?


      August 9, 2015 at 3:39 pm

  8. Two Tory MPs question scale of planned tax credit cuts – Backbenchers Guto Bebb and Andrew Percy say more protection needed for people working hard in low-paid jobs.

    “Not everyone has either the skill base, or necessarily lives in the right area, to be able to just go and get a better-paid job. The changes to the minimum wage and personal tax allowances will help many, but not all, of those on low wages affected by tax credit changes. Change is needed, but in the process we mustn’t end up harming those who are trying their best and working hard.”



    August 10, 2015 at 2:54 pm

  9. Undervalued and demoralised.

    The chief inspector of adult social care has issued a damning judgment on standards in England, warning that a broken system is turning good people into bad carers.

    Huge cuts in funding in recent years, and a lack of political leadership in dealing with the realities of an ageing population, have left the social care sector under “stress and strain”, with demoralised carers working long hours in difficult conditions for poor pay, Andrea Sutcliffe told the Observer. Her warning comes as figures reveal that regulators are receiving more than 150 allegations of abuse of the frail and elderly every day.



    August 10, 2015 at 3:06 pm

  10. OpenNIC Project

    Anyone on here ever thought of using a private DNS server to connect to the Internet?

    Have a look at some servers at OpenNIC Project on the following link:


    If “gaia” is still around, I’m sure we’ll all here more about this! Apparently, you can choose what server you use irrespective of who your ISP is.

    The servers at OpenNIC Project don’t keep logs, and two of their servers are based in the Isle of Man and Dublin. You can find out what servers are closest to you when you visit OpenNIC Project.

    Can the British authorities snoop on a server which does not log your browsing habits, and is based either in Dublin or in the Isle of Man?

    Interesting question.


    August 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm

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