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ESA sanctions for being too ill to work up by 25% in one month

The number of employment and support allowance claimants being hit by sanctions has increased by 25% in a single month, DWP figures released today reveal. The vast majority of sanctions are for failure to take part in work-related activities, often because claimants are too ill to do so.

The latest statistics, which run up to the end of December 2014, show that ESA sanctions have increased from 2,626 in November 2014 to 3,274 in December. This is the highest number of sanctions since May 2014.

Just 16% of sanctions were for failure to attend an interview. The other 84% were for failure to participate in work-related activity.

Previously released statistics show that a disproportionate number of ESA claimants who are sanctioned have a mental health condition or learning disability

Very often the failure to participate stems from the fact that the claimant was not able to undertake the activity, for example because their health condition meant they could not travel or they could not cope with attending a group activity at an unfamiliar venue.

The reality is that the work programme has primarily become a means to stop ESA claimants’ benefits rather than a method of helping people move closer to employment. Benefits and Work expects to see the sanctions numbers continue to rise over the coming months and years.

You can download the latest sanctions statistics from this link.

esa sanctions bar chart

Comments  

#18 anon27 2015-06-19 09:58
I am being bullied at jc.im in the wrag group.severe depression anxiety asthma.i am female.the man I am seeing is bullying me in an open plan office.i am in obvious distress.told me to get over my brother commiting suicide.i go agsin on tue 23rd june.he ssid I better turn up.and that a woman had complained about him.but he got her to apologise.i am terrified of this man.dont know what to do.it is making my anxiety ashtma horrendous.im not coping.the msnsger at jobcentre sides with his staff.
#17 Drizzle 2015-06-02 18:11
Quoting Dundeefruitcake:
I just got a phone call from the JCP. I was asked to confirm my name, address and date of birth and told that because I'm in the support group I don't have to attend the appointment. She also asked me if I was claiming anything else and told me they were just checking to see if I am getting everything I'm entitled to. I told her I'd applied for PIP because when I was in the WRAG group I was told to do so. Seems there interviews are nothing to worry about after all. Panic over.


That's great news! Thanks for updating us. :-)
+1 #16 Dundeefruitcake 2015-05-28 11:08
I just got a phone call from the JCP. I was asked to confirm my name, address and date of birth and told that because I'm in the support group I don't have to attend the appointment. She also asked me if I was claiming anything else and told me they were just checking to see if I am getting everything I'm entitled to. I told her I'd applied for PIP because when I was in the WRAG group I was told to do so. Seems there interviews are nothing to worry about after all. Panic over.
+2 #15 Alan22 2015-05-21 15:41
My guess is at some point in the future, sooner rather than later, the WRAG won't exist, and those on it will either move to the Support Group if they can, or have to go on JSA.

I was on the WP for 2 years and resisted efforts to make me do stuff, as I considered the things suggested inappropriate, pointless, or stressful. I had to be very hard nosed - -demanded privacy for appointments held in open plan offices, at which appointments intimate questions were asked and so on. It's waste of money and of everybody's time. Perhaps a few 'advisors' (no qualifications ) get a job, but no one else does.
+1 #14 Dundeefruitcake 2015-05-21 14:12
I've been asked to scan the letter and forward it. Hubby will do so tonight.
#13 Drizzle 2015-05-21 12:15
Quoting Dundeefruitcake:
Thanks Drizzle, I've just sent Benefits and Work an email asking them to look into this for all of us. When I get a reply I'll update you.


Thanks :-)
+1 #12 Dundeefruitcake 2015-05-20 13:43
[



Thanks Drizzle, I've just sent Benefits and Work an email asking them to look into this for all of us. When I get a reply I'll update you. I'll believe what they tell me, not what anyone working for the DWP tells me. They can't be trusted. They've been on the phone to me this morning being obstructive about me rearranging the appointment. Can't go on my own and it's too short notice for my hubby to get time off work to take me. They won't phone him directly to arrange a time that suits him. Because it's my claim they can't discuss it with him. They need my permission. I said 'Well, I'm giving you my permission now'. She needs to consult her line manager and call me back. Ridiculous. How is arranging an appointment with him discussing my claim? They're beyond a joke. This is the UKSSR! If you ask me. :( :( :(
#11 Drizzle 2015-05-20 12:10
Quoting Dundeefruitcake:
My personal adviser at the JCP told me she thought I was in the wrong group and told me to appeal and that if I was successful and moved into the Support Group that would be it and I wouldn't have to see her any more. My husband tried phoning them all day yesterday and eventually got through to another JCP where he was told that it's a computer generated random appointment and that everyone on ESA will have to undergo one 'to check that their records are correct' This is where the Gov will meet their welfare cuts targets, I think. Maybe I'm being cynical but I bet there's a hidden agenda behind these appointments. We're being 'invited to an office interview to discuss your ESA benefit that you are currently receiving. You should note that where there is doubt about whether the conditions for entitlement are met your benefit may be affected. Evidence you are required to bring with you: Current Passport/Driving License/Home Office Document, Utility Bill, Rent Agreement, Bank Statement, Learning Agreement (if currently attending college)' What the hell is that all about? Sinister, If you ask me.


I agree that is sinister. :-?

If I was you I'd email Benefits and Work and ask them to look into this to ascertain if it's now standard procedure and if you can get out of it. We all need to know if it's going to happen to us too.

Good luck with it. :-)
+2 #10 Dundeefruitcake 2015-05-20 10:12
Quoting Drizzle:
Quoting Dundeefruitcake:
I swear they're trying to kill us all. Following a successful ESA appeal less than 3 months ago, where I was moved from the WRAG to the Support Group, yesterday I got another dreaded brown envelope - inviting me to an office interview at the local JCP.


Surely being in the support group should mean they leave you alone (at least until your next assessment). Have I got this wrong?

My personal adviser at the JCP told me she thought I was in the wrong group and told me to appeal and that if I was successful and moved into the Support Group that would be it and I wouldn't have to see her any more. My husband tried phoning them all day yesterday and eventually got through to another JCP where he was told that it's a computer generated random appointment and that everyone on ESA will have to undergo one 'to check that their records are correct' This is where the Gov will meet their welfare cuts targets, I think. Maybe I'm being cynical but I bet there's a hidden agenda behind these appointments. We're being 'invited to an office interview to discuss your ESA benefit that you are currently receiving. You should note that where there is doubt about whether the conditions for entitlement are met your benefit may be affected. Evidence you are required to bring with you: Current Passport/Drivin g License/Home Office Document, Utility Bill, Rent Agreement, Bank Statement, Learning Agreement (if currently attending college)' What the hell is that all about? Sinister, If you ask me.
+2 #9 Drizzle 2015-05-19 19:54
Quoting Dundeefruitcake:
I swear they're trying to kill us all. Following a successful ESA appeal less than 3 months ago, where I was moved from the WRAG to the Support Group, yesterday I got another dreaded brown envelope - inviting me to an office interview at the local JCP.


Surely being in the support group should mean they leave you alone (at least until your next assessment). Have I got this wrong?
+1 #8 Dundeefruitcake 2015-05-19 14:13
I swear they're trying to kill us all. Following a successful ESA appeal less than 3 months ago, where I was moved from the WRAG to the Support Group, yesterday I got another dreaded brown envelope - inviting me to an office interview at the local JCP. The DWP and ATOS harassed me with their incompetence for over a year and a half at the same time as my Mum was dying overseas and found me fit for work on the day of her funeral when they couldn't contact me on the phone for obvious reasons. I've had CFS/ME since 1997, I'm not going to suddenly get better - even my advisor at the JCP said that. The DWP drove me to severe anxiety and depression and an overdose of the prescription drugs I'm on to treat it which could have been fatal. Which got me into the Support Group under Regulation 35. Are they trying to get me to do it again? They just don't care.
+1 #7 Dundeefruitcake 2015-05-19 14:11
I swear they're trying to kill us all. Following a successful ESA appeal less than 3 months ago, where I was moved from the WRAG to the Support Group, yesterday I got another dreaded brown envelope - inviting me to an office interview at the local JCP. The DWP and ATOS harassed me with their incompetence for over a year and a half at the same time as my Mum was dying overseas and found me fit for work on the day of her funeral when they couldn't contact me on the phone for obvious reasons. I've had CFS/ME since 1997, I'm not going to suddenly get better - even my advisor at the JCP said that. They DWP drove me to severe anxiety and depression and an overdose of the prescription meds I'm on to treat it which could have been fatal. Are they trying to get me to do it again? They just don't care.
+3 #6 Spenc0007 2015-05-18 04:03
Quoting Bill24chev:
If you have LCW this must mean mean that the Decision Maker as based this decision on the "evidence" at the time of the Decision.

If you then suffer further illness that makes you unable to attend your work programme this is a change of circumstances that should be addresses by further assessment and possible supperession.

If sanctioned a MR plus notification of change of circumstances should be made and if necessary an appeal.

If every sanction given in theses circumstances was MR/appealed it would at least create an awful lot of work and for the DWP and explaning (or being economical with the truth) IDS


I like your way of thinking, IDS needs replacing too just like his sick sidekick was last week .
+3 #5 Bill24chev 2015-05-17 13:15
If you have LCW this must mean mean that the Decision Maker as based this decision on the "evidence" at the time of the Decision.

If you then suffer further illness that makes you unable to attend your work programme this is a change of circumstances that should be addresses by further assessment and possible supperession.

If sanctioned a MR plus notification of change of circumstances should be made and if necessary an appeal.

If every sanction given in theses circumstances was MR/appealed it would at least create an awful lot of work and for the DWP and explaning (or being economical with the truth) IDS
+4 #4 MarkW 2015-05-16 21:06
Quote:
Shocking and this can only get worse now i really dont see any way that we can defend ourselfs from this sort of bullying
That is the idea - you can not defend yourself, and with targets to give sanctions and savings to be had by not paying out, the Tories are getting what they want.
If you die IDS has a good chuckle as it is one more off the unemployed statistics.
We have 5 more years of this S---. I hope we live through it. It will be hard but death lets them off the hook.
As Spenc0007 says don't let them get you down......
Mind I'm down already!
+5 #2 ken 2015-05-14 01:38
They have been fair with me on mental health issues so far on the work program, I hope they continue to do so - it would be so easy for a sanction to relapse me seriusly
+12 #1 angela 2015-05-13 13:53
Shocking and this can only get worse now i really dont see any way that we can defend ourselfs from this sort of bullying

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