Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Sanctions’ Category

Cut in Universal Credit Dominates Benefits News.

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Our contributors raise issues about benefits sanctions, work ‘coaches’, the Work and Health Programme and Training Services, which got money from the European Social Fund, Restart, the risks of opening Job Centres, Internet Access, and the State Pension and Pension Credit (well worth applying for if you have little money and, obviously, no private pension).

When this Blog was first set up we exchanged a lot of experience on back-to-work ‘schemes’, including placements in variety of companies and public services. Many had serious difficulties with them, probably most with the ‘courses’ given by enterprises like SEETEC. They now seem to be have got set up again.

But the news on Benefits remains overshadowed by the coming cut in Universal Credit.

‘We keep on struggling’: Families on Universal Credit prepare for life without the £20 uplift

Some people, on Legacy Benefits, never got that “uplift”.

Sky.

It’s just under a month to go until the £20 Universal Credit uplift, put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, comes to an end.

It’s being called the biggest overnight social security cut since World War Two.

This autumn, as the government seeks to claw back some of the unprecedented emergency spending undertaken since COVID-19 hit the UK, familiar security blankets like the £20 uplift to Universal Credit are set to be removed.

It won’t be without its consequences.

Doctors, charities and even some Conservative MPs are calling on the government to rethink its decision to end the uplift.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) says that most parts of England, Scotland and Wales will see more than one in three families and their children affected as a result of the £1,040-a-year .

The Trussell Trust estimates that nearly a quarter of a million parents on Universal Credit fear not being able to sufficiently put dinner on the table for their children when the £20 cut comes into force from October.

Benefits Boss Coffey has been on a jolly in Japan.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 5, 2021 at 5:41 pm

Benefit Sanction Changes.

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Benefit sanctions are largely ineffective and can push people into poverty  and crime finds study - About Manchester

It is hard to tell what this means, and given the far-right paper that publishes it many will be sceptical.

DWP halts benefit sanction plans due to Covid – Universal Credit claimants to be affected

UNIVERSAL credit and other benefit claimants are required to follow certain rules when getting their support and if these rules aren’t followed, sanctions can be issued. These sanctions could reduce or even hold benefit payment amounts and today, the DWP addressed how the sanction system may change going forward.

This could also impact other state benefits and recently, the Government was pushed on potential changes to the sanction system.

Chris Stephens, the Scottish National Party MP for Glasgow South West, recently asked the following question in Parliament: “To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on plans to roll out yellow card warnings in place of immediate benefit sanctions.”

Today, this question was answered by Mims Davies, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the DWP.

She said: “The Department committed to look at processes to give claimants a written warning, instead of a sanction, for a first sanctionable failure to attend a Work-Search Review.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 12, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Benefits Sanctions Return.

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A survival guide to benefit sanctions | Advicenow

This story appeared recently.

the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), who count a number of Jobcentre workers among their members, fears that this could also lead to a rise in the number of benefit claimants who are subjected to sanctions.

Requirements placed on benefit claimaints prior to the pandemic meant that vulnerable people could see their benefit payments for failing to adhere to strict and often unreasonable criteria.

This includes people who saw their benefits stopped or reduced for being a few minutes late for an appointment, due to travel issues, or missing a meeting due to being in hospital.

These sometimes draconian rules were temporary suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic, but are now being slowly reintroduced as the country gradually recovers from the pandemic.

Today we learn:

Thousands of people’s benefits cut by DWP sanctions in Birmingham and Black Country

Birmingham Live.

The financial penalties are imposed on those claiming Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance and Income Support.

Thousands of people across the West Midlands have seen their benefits cut by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Sanctions have been imposed on claimants in the Black Country boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Sandwell, and Walsall as well as in neighbouring Birmingham and Solihull.

These are penalties when the DWP says someone has failed to stick to the rules of a benefit claim such as by missing a work coach appointment, training course or job interview. Others are for reasons such as being late to sign on for Jobseeker’s Allowance.


But there have been cases where claimants said it was not their fault. A former Birmingham bus driver was sanctioned after he missed the DWP’s online notifications of appointments because he could no longer afford his home internet service when he lost his job.

Between April 2019 and October 2020, statistics show that 4,899 UC recipients were sanctioned in Sandwell, 4,172 in Wolverhampton, 4,039 in Dudley and 3,796 in Walsall.

By far the most Universal Credit sanctions were in Birmingham where 22,632 claimants had money docked as a punishment.


A further 2,241 UC recipients were penalised in Solihull borough.

See: A survival guide to benefit sanctions

This guide will help you to plan ahead to avoid a benefit sanction where possible, and if not, will help you to work out what to do about it. This guide is for you if you want to avoid getting sanctioned, work out what to do about a benefits sanction, or understand more about how the benefit sanctions system works.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 4, 2021 at 3:18 pm

Monitoring of Claimants “suspected of Fraud” Extended to Social Media.

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Social Media Surveillance #infographic - Visualistan

This story has appeared. Some suggest it is scare tactics, even scare-mongering, but it is still threatening. What has social media got to do with making a benefit claim?

20 million benefits or Universal Credit claimants hit by warning over their social media accounts Birmingham Live.

Welfare claims including Universal Credit are managed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

The DWP can look at your bank account and social media if it suspects benefit fraud, claimants have been warned.

Welfare claims including Universal Credit are managed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

And it has emerged the body has the power to investigate potential crimes in several different ways.

More than 20million people are using welfare support in Britain – a figure that is expected to rise.

In case you had not got the messages Cambridgeshire Live headlines.

Universal Credit: Social media stalking and covert surveillance used to investigate suspect benefit claims

Manchester Evening News

Anyone who is on benefits or Universal Credit can have their social media and bank accounts monitored at any time, it has been reported.

And so it goes:

Meanwhile by coincidence….

DWP confirms when Universal Credit and PIP claimants will see face-to-face assessments restart

North Wales Live:

Face-to-face assessments of certain benefits are set to resume next month, it’s been revealed.

It comes after they were suspended last year by officials at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 7, 2021 at 3:23 pm

The Full Return of Job Centres and Benefit Sanctions.

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Benefit Sanctions were reintroduced in July,

The return of benefit sanctions is a risky, painful and dangerous bet by the government

New Statesman.

Against a potential backdrop of mass layoffs, the cruelty of the old system is going to feel a lot sharper.

Benefit sanctions will return to the United Kingdom from 1 July, the government has confirmed. The requirement that people claiming Universal Credit demonstrate they are actively seeking work was suspended during the lockdown, but will resume on Wednesday, when Job Centres reopen and in-person meetings there return.

DWP docked 35,000 people’s benefits at height of coronavirus despite ending sanctions

The Mirror reported on the 20th of August.

More than 35,000 people were losing money to benefit sanctions at the height of coronavirus – despite them being halted.

Thousands were still having their payments docked long after new sanctions were suspended for three months due to the pandemic.

Now the DWP has plans to fully-open Jobs Centres the process looks set to begin against in earnest.

05 Sep 2020

PCS has reiterated that the safety of members is our priority as we oppose government plans to get 80% of civil servants in England to attend their usual workplace each week by the end of September.

We have been informed that permanent secretaries have been told to greatly increase the number of staff in workplaces. The government claims sending tens of thousands of civil servants back to their buildings by the end of the month would be “hugely beneficial”.

As we understand it, departments which have not staffed offices up to the so-called Covid safe limits must now seek to do so. This must be done in a supposedly Covid-secure way, taking advantage of the return to schools this month and increased public transport availability.

Moreover departments are being strongly encouraged to use staff rota systems to get more staff into the workplace over the week, for example 20% for five days, 30% for three days and 30% for two days.

Departments have been set a target of 80% of staff in England to attend their usual workplace each week by the end of September. Staff elsewhere in the UK are expected to follow local guidance and continue working from home.

We understand the prime minister has asked to see departmental return to the workplace figures on a weekly basis.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 7, 2020 at 10:25 am