The DWP have had to issue an urgent bulletin to all housing benefit staff to try to prevent them unlawfully stopping housing benefit payments to sick and disabled claimants who have had their employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctioned.
The ‘Urgent Bulletin’ has been issued in response to groups representing claimants pointing out that some jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and ESA claimants are wrongly losing their passported housing benefit when hit with a JSA or ESA sanction.
It appears that some local authority staff cannot tell the difference between a sanction, where a claimant remains entitled to the sanctioned benefit even if they do not receive payments or get reduced payments, and a disallowance, where the claim itself ends.
Reminders have been issued to staff about this issue since 2010, but apparently the message has still not sunk in, leading to desperate hardship and the threat of eviction for affected claimants.
You can download Urgent Bulletin HB U1/2015 from this link.