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Benefits sanctions lead to suicide, crime and being “bullied off the books”

A report published this week by Salford City Council has found that DWP sanctions, far from encouraging claimants into work, lead to lead to suicide, crime and being “bullied off the books”.

The report, ‘DWP Benefit Conditionality and Sanctions in Salford – one year on’ builds on a previous report by the same authors.

They challenge the DWP’s claim that the number of benefits sanctions is falling. Instead, they point out, the number of claimants is falling but the proportion who are sanctioned has remained the same. The authors suggest that one of the reasons for the falling claimant count may be the growing number of “disappeared” claimants who move off benefits but not into work.

It found that the impact on families who have their benefits sanctioned can be “devastating”.

Even what the DWP regard as lower level, four week sanction can cause:

“both immediate and longer term impact as most people do not have the means to save, so have no safety net. This presents an emergency need for money to buy food, pay for heating and essential

travel costs.”

The report also found that sanctions cause:

  • build-up of unnecessary debt as claimants cannot pay bills or then borrow at high cost in order to meet their essential needs;
  • exacerbation of existing debt issues where people already have problem debt;
  • rent arrears where Housing Benefit is affected placing accommodation at risk;
  • additional barriers to employment as a result of the distress and financial hardship caused by a sudden loss of income;
  • stress affecting mental and physical wellbeing;
  • damage to mental health which could lead to self-harm or suicide;
  • tension within family relationships;
  • a likelihood that claimants may commit crime, including shoplifting;
  • people “bullied off the books” – the “disappeared” who stop claiming social security benefits.

You can download the full report from this link.

Comments  

#4 soontjen 2016-06-17 00:07
the last six months of my life have been hell
the stress is unbelievable can't sleep with worry , ive become depressed very low , the bill's are building up , tension and distress unboreable ,reposition letter, my physical / mental health have been affected . I feel bullied and intimidated even guilty . ive cried more in the last six month's tan I ever have
for being i'll ?
its absolutely disgusting

i was refused dla to pip dec 2015 the tribunal awarded me pip back in may 2016 six month's later still no money
then may 2016 two day's after the pip tribunal the esa medical said I was fit for work ? so esa stopped ?
I cant sign on because I'm not fit for work ? the dwp said I can the job centre said I need to be fit ? its now june 2016 and still no esa or jsa money or pip money .
I have zero income at this moment
I had to pay full rent from jan 2016 my daughter lived with us she paid most of it .
how do they expect people to cope ? I have now got a letter for posetion of my house, bill's won't wait . I now have to sell personal items to pay my bill's .
treated like this for being i'll why ?
+1 #3 julia 2016-06-09 07:47
I was one of those statistics after being placed in the work group 3 years ago for esa...after continued hounding to attend meetings at the job centre and my husbands reminders to them that I was appealing the decision and I was "vulnerable" at the time so all contact was to be made by them..they continued to harass me even threatening to look back through my claim over the years and inferred I may be infact claiming fraudulently..I told the person on the phone in a flood of tears I couldn't take anymore keep your money...she said thank you...put down the phone and two days later sent me a letter to confirm my benefits had been stopped....2 weeks later I was hospitalised..t his government should be held accountable for what they're doing
+4 #2 lesley 2016-05-26 15:12
Me too! It gave me a little ray of hope when I read the news. Bless you Ken Loach for highlighting this scandal. I did see a couple of small teaser trailers. Here is one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLEPQ9FYU0U
I have been through similar to this woman in the film, in the past so it resonated deeply for me.
I was arrested at a benefit office with my kids for doing exactly what this woman is dong, standing up for my rights. All in the past now, a long time ago.
This bureaucratic nonsense should have improved but it seems to have got worse. Same *****rds different clothes.
+4 #1 Porthole Pete 2016-05-26 10:59
Here's hoping the new Ken Loach film (I, Daniel Blake) about welfare struggle which has won an award will highlight these issues. Only just heard about it and don't know much other than its about a 59 year old carpenter who falls ill and has to put a claim in for ESA. Don't know if it's a cinema release or it will be on tv. I am definitely looking out for it though, that's for sure.

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