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Amber Rudd announces benefit sanctions changes

  • 10/05/2019
  • Author:bridgetmccall

Maximum sanction of three years is to be cut

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has announced that the maximum benefits sanction that can be given to claimants is to be cut.

A sanction is a cut or temporary stop on some benefits (including Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit) if you fail to meet the conditions for claiming, such failing to go for an interview at jobcentres. At the moment, in some cases, a claimant might be sanctioned for up to three years. Once the new policy comes into force, this will be cut to a maximum of six months.

Concerns

Concerns about the effects and fairness of benefit sanctions have been raised as well as the hardship they can cause people who are already vulnerable.

A report by the Work and Pensions Committee in 2018, following a benefits sanction inquiry, found that certain groups of people, including single parents, care leavers and people with disabilities/health conditions were 'disproportionately vulnerable" to being sanctions and affected by them. It also warned that the withdrawal of parents' benefits harmed their children's welfare.

Turn2us' view

Turn2us has repeatedly told the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that sanctions cause poverty, homelessness, hunger, destitution and debt. We welcome the news that the time limit on benefit sanctions will be cut. However, we urge the DWP to remove all punitive measures.

When will this change take place?

Details of when this change to benefits sanctions will take effect are not yet available.

More information

The rules about sanctions depend on the benefit you are claiming. For more information, see the following Turn2us guides:

Sources:

BBC News article: Benefit penalties cut for claimants who don't follow the rules

Work-and-Pensions-Committee-report:-Benefits-Sanctions-Nineteenth-Report-of-Session-2017-2019-(6-November-2018-PDF-file-size:-876kb)

Department for Work and Pensions press release (9 May 2019): Record employment is not enough – jobseekers need the chance of better work

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