Guide

Sanctions

Outline

JSA claimants can be sanctioned – have their benefits stopped – for up to three years in some cases, for so-called “misconduct”, such as, not taking part in work programme activity or not participating in agreed jobsearch activity. This is increasingly affection people with disabilities and illnesses who are found “fit to work”.

Problems

Under an increasingly punitive regime, this is seen as another very controversial part of the government's attacks on JSA claimants. 

In reality, people are sanctioned for a wide range of ridiculous reasons. This has fuelled speculation that jobcentres are working to sanctions targets and that they strike people from benefits for spurious reasons to meet those targets.

Links

Citizens Advice sees 60 per cent increase in problems with JSA sanctions
CAB notes increased hardship as minimum sanctions periods are increased.

Four people talk about sanctions and the pointlessness of jobcentres
Kate Belgrave interviews people about JSA and being sanctioned, at Kilburn jobcentre.

Leaked jobcentre newsletter urges staff to improve on sanctions targets
Guardian piece on fresh written proof that jobcentres are working to targets.

Outside the jobcentre: talking with jobseekers about sanctions and insecure work
Interviews with unemployed and underemployed people reveal the exacting impact of dealing with jobcentres and workfare programmes.

Punishing Poverty?
Important and much-circulated report which reviews benefits sanctions and their impact on clients and claimants from the findings of a survey conducted between July and September 2013. 

The realities of a daily trip to the jobcentre in a wheelchair…
Angela Smith: having to meet jobsearch requirements, sign on and attend the work programme while negotiating public transport in a wheelchair (video).