What do you think about benefits sanctions? — Scope | Disability forum
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What do you think about benefits sanctions?

At Scope, we want to tell Government how the system could be improved to better support disabled people who aren’t working. We wanted to started this thread for disabled people to share their views on sanctions.  

What do you think should be done differently with benefit sanctions?

If the Government stopped applying benefits sanctions, how would you feel about applying for benefits?

Feedback and ideas shared on this thread will be used anonymously to shape Scope’s contribution to the work and pensions committee inquiry in to sanctions.

Mel in Scope's Policy and Campaigns Team 

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Comments

  • itsmefee
    itsmefee Member Posts: 27 Connected
    I just feel that benefit sanctions are poorly understood by most of the people who they affect. I will be blunt and say that many people who find they have been sanctioned probably would not understand why even if it was laid out to them as simple as ABC, that is the issue with doing anything like this. 

    All they know is that the money they receive has been cut and these are the people who society should be supporting and caring for, not inflicting more struggle onto. 

    It is just so hard to comprehend that a government in 2018 would consider doing such a thing to the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society. 

    Benefit sanctions don't stop people applying for Benefits.  People apply for them because there is no other means of supporting themselves. it is not a lifestyle choice it is a necessity. 

    Personally I am not able to see how the Government are going to be able to keep this momentum up, especially with the roll out of Universal Credit as well. Keeping tabs on people takes staff and time which is something they don't have. It is going to cost them more in administration and implementation of sanctions and Universal Credit than they will save. Sometimes it is better to cut your losses and just accept that some people will cheat the system. But for those who don't that are still being sanctioned it really isn't great. 


  • debbiedo49
    debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,904 Disability Gamechanger
    Sanctions are wrong. For every benefit we have to apply for we have to prove we are entitled to it. It’s not an easy process. Instead of removing all funds by sanction the DWP should have to prove any claims are wrong. There needs to be more qualified advisors at jobcentre plus and on helplines as people are not being given correct advice or the time they require to pursue any issues they have. 
    There must be more leniency. If people have genuine reasons for issues they have with meeting their jcp conditions then they should be treated fairly not sanctioned. 
    At the very least when you remove someone’s income DWP should supply vouchers for food and energy and telephone 
  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
    Sanctions have the opposite effect that they're intended to; there's tons of good research out there that shows it.

    Personally, I'm terrified of becoming subject to sanctions (UC rolls out here in Oct., and I've had to fight for months to be put into the ESA support group a couple of times). I know that I'll end up sanctioned multiple times. My back spasms leave me unable to move, a fair amount  of the time, and my mental health problems often leave me unable to eat, wash, or dress. If I'm constantly missing medical appointments, what are the chances that I'll be able to get to the Job Centre on a regular basis? 


  • whistles
    whistles Member Posts: 1,583 Disability Gamechanger
    UC will take a while to migrate people. The problem comes when they decide you are no longer eligible for what you were on and forcing people to claim it, or you have a change in circumstances. For here simply moving house in the same LA would do this.

    Can someone answer what the system pre ESA was. Were there medicals? Didn't you just send in sick notes and that was it. I can only recall the odd medical but my memory is rubbish. 

    Who assesses the medical for ESA? We hear lots about the bad pip system and assessors but we barely hear about the ESA not understanding your condition. So are these people trained doctors-pre esa they were I believe.

    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • MelWilkes
    MelWilkes Member Posts: 18 Connected
    Thanks everyone who has taken the time to share their views so far. It's really helpful to understand what people feel isn't working about the current system. 

    Building on that, would anyone like to share their ideas on how the system could be improved? 

    For example, what types of support should be available to disabled people on low incomes? 

    Finally, if anyone reading this has experienced a benefit sanction and would be open to sharing their experiences with me to help shape Scope's recommendations to the Government, please do get in touch. Outside of this thread, I can be reached on [email protected]

    Thanks again, 

    Mel 
  • littleruthie123
    littleruthie123 Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Leaving people too starve too death and worse. Leaving people with children with no electric nappies etc.how on earth can they get away with it .its disquesting  and inhumane and vile!
  • littleruthie123
    littleruthie123 Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Also creates homelessness !viscous circle
  • whistles
    whistles Member Posts: 1,583 Disability Gamechanger
    I would actually drop the disabled term. It's been discussed that you can't be registered as such. So less able would be better maybe.
    I don't see myself as disabled, I  would be offended if others did.

    Sanctions effect all, not just less able. There are longterm ill people out there who get sanctioned. 

    If the law says I need xx to live because, it MUST be unlawful to take that away.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • littleruthie123
    littleruthie123 Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Sanctions don't happen in the support group so I wouldent worry .I no job seekers get sancations and I'm guessing  universal credits?
  • whistles
    whistles Member Posts: 1,583 Disability Gamechanger
    Sanctions don't happen in the support group so I wouldent worry .I no job seekers get sancations and I'm guessing  universal credits?
    And if you fail the review and get moved to wrag and miss appointments they do stop the ESA. 
    There have been people on here that's happened to. 
    There are people on here going through the review.
    The system is a mess.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • littleruthie123
    littleruthie123 Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Wow Dident think of that my God gets worse .perhaps an m.p could join this group and look through everyone's comments ,if only 
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 43 Listener
    Leave the disabled their carers alone and target the work shy.
  • aaronw3440
    aaronw3440 Member Posts: 54 Connected
    Sanctions are wrong. For every benefit we have to apply for we have to prove we are entitled to it. It’s not an easy process. Instead of removing all funds by sanction the DWP should have to prove any claims are wrong. There needs to be more qualified advisors at jobcentre plus and on helplines as people are not being given correct advice or the time they require to pursue any issues they have. 
    There must be more leniency. If people have genuine reasons for issues they have with meeting their jcp conditions then they should be treated fairly not sanctioned. 
    At the very least when you remove someone’s income DWP should supply vouchers for food and energy and telephone 
    Most sanctions are needed especially for likes of job seekers allowance as the claimant for job seekes or now universal credit is you must spend 35 hours a week job searching and attending appointments and interviews set up by your work coach and log down everything youre doing for looking for work even if it means volunteering in a charity shop which counts for part of the 35 hours a week and quite a lot of people don't bother doing that because they can't be bothered or they dont bother attending interviews or appointments with their work coach  and it needs to be a very valid reason  for the claimant not doing so for example doctors or hospital appointments you need proof of why you didn't attend what's required and if you got no proof or anything then they put the sanction on for not doing what is required of you  which can be anywhere as little as 2 weeks up to 3 years with no money
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,388 Disability Gamechanger
    andyjd said:
    Leave the disabled their carers alone and target the work shy.
    Hi @andyjd that is fine but it depends on your interpretation of work shy. For the tories this includes many of the disabled.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
    @aaronw3440 Prove it. People are sanctioned for ridiculous things - being 5 minutes late because their bus broke down, missing an appointment because they were in hospital, or at a funeral which they'd told the JC about in advance, not doing a job search on Xmas Day, etc.

    In addition, sanctions DON'T work. Putting someone in enormous financial stress moves them further from working, because they're focussing on how to put food on the table, not whether they're ready for a job interview!
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 43 Listener
    Geoark said:
    andyjd said:
    Leave the disabled their carers alone and target the work shy.
    Hi @andyjd that is fine but it depends on your interpretation of work shy. For the tories this includes many of the disabled.
    My definition of work shy is those jobseekers who have no desire to get a job and refuse to job interviews. 
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 43 Listener
    Waylay said:
    @aaronw3440 Prove it. People are sanctioned for ridiculous things - being 5 minutes late because their bus broke down, missing an appointment because they were in hospital, or at a funeral which they'd told the JC about in advance, not doing a job search on Xmas Day, etc.

    In addition, sanctions DON'T work. Putting someone in enormous financial stress moves them further from working, because they're focussing on how to put food on the table, not whether they're ready for a job interview!
    Don't go to Margate jobcentre, then they sanction you for not putting names of the local papers on your job log.  

    A few years ago they sanctioned 3000 claimants to reach the government target. Even though most of them stuck to their agreement.
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,388 Disability Gamechanger
    andyjd said:
    Geoark said:
    andyjd said:
    Leave the disabled their carers alone and target the work shy.
    Hi @andyjd that is fine but it depends on your interpretation of work shy. For the tories this includes many of the disabled.
    My definition of work shy is those jobseekers who have no desire to get a job and refuse to job interviews. 
    Same as the government then. After all it was one of the justifications in reducing the benefits for those in the wrag group who were taking a lot longer to transition into work compared to JSA.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • feir
    feir Member Posts: 395 Pioneering
    Sanctions send out the message that you don't deserve enough money to live off. They should scrap them. 100% get rid. No person needs the threat of their basic income being removed at any time.

    My oldest son kept getting sanctioned, often because he had done things the job centre asked him to do but they hadn't got it on file that he'd done them, occasionally for things that he had or hadn't done. Eventually he got diagnosed with a mental illness and even he said things like constantly having no money contributed to that. They stopped sanctioning him around this point as he got support from someone for his mental illness and they contacted the job centre and told them what was going on with him and recommended they stop sanctioning him.
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
    Firstly sanctions are necessary but they should only be applied for good reasons. Unfortunately our systems don't work very well and are sometimes applied because the people doing it haven't been trained properly. I have known many people on benefits over the last decade and only one was sanctioned. Despite her moans and groans they were for good reasons, she just didn't think they should apply to her. Mind you, none of even her close friends really believed she deserved the benefits she received nor was she really disabled.

    I have seen a few people complaining on TV and found those cases exactly the same. For example, one lady was complaining for her mother because her mum had been sanctioned for not finding work. Despite living in this country for 5 years the woman refused to learn or speak nothing but her native Romanian and this meant she could not find a job. Not surprising really but, simply because the case was on TV, the sanctions were removed shortly before the program aired. Such cases need to be sanctioned, it is not the purpose of this country to support such people.

    I did say though that there should be good and fair reasons. I think it is disgusting that people can be sanctioned based on a single anonymous telephone call. This happened to my daughter when she had 2 young children and her husband had been forced to move out because of aggravated assault on her. Her neighbours didn't like her and did like him so anonymously complained causing my daughter much distress until the investigation proved the call completely unfounded.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
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