Benefits Sanctions

Benefits Sanctions

In the last 10 years, over a million disabled people have had their benefits stopped with sanctions.

If this is you, and you had good reason to miss an appointment, appeal right away. You must ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration, and explain why you missed the appointment and why you should not be sanctioned.

If you miss an appointment, ring them as soon as possible to let them know why. Delay will mean it is much harder to get your sanction overturned.

While you are waiting for them to consider your mandatory reconsideration, you can apply for a hardship payment. This is a loan to help you pay basic expenses, like rent, food, heating.You have to show that you have tried to get money from other sources, and you have stopped spending money on all but the most essential things, in order to succeed. You will have to pay the Hardship Payment after the sanction period.

You should also make sure you let creditors know of your situation immediately – that means housing benefit, mortgauge lender, council tax, power companies, and any company you usually pay money to. If you dont do this, your debt will mount.

You can get some model letters to help you with all this here>

If you still need a bit of help with this, contact our advocacy service, by telephone, email or contact form, here>

Remember, DON’T DELAY with any of these things, or you will pile up the problems.

Universal Credit – Reasonable Adjustments

Universal Credit – Reasonable Adjustments

As a disabled person, the Equality Act allows you certain reasonable adjustments to a service to overcome disabling barriers. The Equality Act does not trump other laws such as Benefits legislation, but you can ask for reasonable adjustments to be written into your JSA or Universal Credit Claimant Agreement. The Forest of Dean CAB provide a useful list of the kind of reasonable adjustments you may be able to get depending on how your impairment affects you:

Altering the time of your signing on appointment or more flexible signing on times
Reducing the frequency of signing on
Help with completing forms
Help using a computer
Reducing the number of job applications you have to make
Change the type or location of work
Help with referral to a disability employment adviser
Not being referred to workfare (work for benefits)
programme making individuals undertake work in
Referring you to Access to Work Programme
Increasing sick time before sanctions are imposed
Varying or limiting the type of work in relation to your impairment
Varying or limiting the types of work according to the
Not sanctioning you for breaches that arise solely out of your impairment

Also, if you missed an appointment or commitment as a direct result of your impairment (eg a seizure, or a sickle cell crisis) you can appeal the sanction under s13 of the jobseekers allowance regulations, which states:

a client may ‘…restrict his availability in any way providing the restrictions are reasonable
in the light of his physical or mental condition.’

You need to give a decision maker medical evidence of the health condition and how it prevented you from meeting the commitment to appeal successfully.