Over 10,000 Benefit Sanctions Applied to Sick and Disabled People Last Year

DWP figures released last month show that there were 10,130 benefit sanctions applied to claimants of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) last year.

To place this figure in context, that is almost 50 times as many sanctions handed out to sick and disabled people as were applied to the young people’s Work Experience scheme which recently hit the headlines.  In total 8,510 individuals were sanctioned.  The higher figure reflects the fact that some people were sanctioned more than once.

Equally shocking is that around 45% of sanctions were handed out to people with mental health or behavioural conditions.  Around 30% of ESA/WRAG claimants suffer from a mental health condition, meaning they are around 50% more likely to be sanctioned than people with physical health problems or disabilities alone.

Up until June last year sanctions were applied to those in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) who were required to attend a series of Work Focussed Interviews.  If they didn’t turn up a sanction would be applied.  In effect this is a large fine of on average almost £200  just for missing a meeting with the DWP.  This can be doubled if the claimants repeatedly fails to attend.

ESA claimants on the WRAG group are now being referred onto Work Programme, where they can be mandated to carry out almost any Work-related activity the private sector and charity providers can dream up.  The figures for how many of last year’s sanctions were due to failing to attend Work Related Activity on the Work Programme are not yet available.

What is certain is that the number of sanctions is likely to soar as ever stricter conditionality is attached to ESA.  What is also certain is that some of those sanctioned will have been referred to the DWP for Compliance Breaches by charities, such as the members of Disability Works.  This means a claimant has failed to attend or complete mandated activity on the Work Programme.  The charities are contractually obliged to report this to the DWP who will process a sanction.  No amount of spin from these charities that it’s not their fault, or that the DWP make them do it, can alter the facts.  Sick and disabled people are having benefits sanctioned and being plunged into poverty directly because of the money making exploits of charities like MIND, Scope, Mencap, St Mungos and the Salvation Army.

This full details of last years sanctions can be downloaded at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_sanc/esa_sanc_feb12.pdf

Tell the charities what you think!

@scope @mencap_charity @mindcharity  @LCDisability @action4blind @plussaddtolife @unitedresponse @stmungos @salvationarmyuk @broadwaycharity @stgilestrust

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49 responses to “Over 10,000 Benefit Sanctions Applied to Sick and Disabled People Last Year

  1. Table 1 in Annexe A of the ESA statistics document proves that the DWP knows the people they are sanctioning are genuinely disabled. Yet they go ahead and apply sanctions anyway.

  2. I am sorry but if this happens to me I will find a lawyer if I have to search the whole bloody planet because I am not going to allow them to finish me off in this manner.

    Also I think my doc would have something to say about it, why aren’t doctors screaming from the rooftops for their patients?

    Who is going to be responsible for health and safety at work if something happens and god forbid someone dies because of it?

    It is certainly going to speed up the illness and death process.

    I would burn the place down accidentally, they wont do it again!

    • Sanctioning is the last refuge of the desperate. It’s a completely counter productive policy based on fear of scarcity of resources.
      And that’s putting it mildly. I abhor sanctions – especially for the poor, though not solely.
      I face the WP soon. I have had the jc disability adviser ring me up and harass me in respect of another course that i volunteered for (until i discovered it was shit). No understanding, no empathy and no interest – it was her way or the highway.
      She’s not a medical professional! She isn’t a doctor.
      I qutie agree that doctors should be doing more to campaign against this, but many, like mine, just don’t udnerstand the benefit system and don’t want to. Far easier for them to pander to the usual ‘arbeit macht frei’ bollocks that pervades society now. The government are also further seeking to emasculate them from the process of signing people off as well.
      It’s disgusting. I spoke to a doctor during an appointment a couple of years ago who expressed ‘oh they won’t leave you with nothing’. I had to explain to her how wrong she was, but I don’t think she believed me: i think she thought i was just full of hyperbole and excuses. That brick wall is just impenetrable – until perhaps it’s too late. Then what? The dwp won’t listen to an angry doctor.

      • doctors dont understand the dole system?
        Dude, i had no fucking clue at all either and i was in the middle of it, however my saving grace was, i was not allowed to sign any binding documents

        • Hi Axel,

          you said:

          are they not making GPs fight the DWP doctors, that is, if the dwp bod disagrees with the GP, it goes to ‘further discussion\assessment’?

          I honestly do not know as I am not a veteran regards the illness benefit but It would not surprise me. I came into the system quite recently having worked all my life apart from one small stint on JSA when I lost my job.

          What I could not understand was how I was being treated and trying to get my head around the forms where questions are asked with the deliberate intent to trip up. I quickly sought welfare advice and found almost everyone was going through the same thing. Me being me had a long conversation with my GP about it because I could not believe I was being treated as if I was some sort of criminal for being ill.

          As I said above you have to have a GP that will help you an be proactive as I believe GP’s are being targeted by the ATOS/DWP by asking questions they do not entirely understand, IE can she move her little finger for more than 3 seconds (roll eyes) but you know what I mean. GP’s only understand you have an illness and you are not capable of work not Lima computer type questions. (I also saw a program where they tested the Lima system against GP’s decision making and the GP’s won hands down based on their own judgements of the illness they were being questioned about which proves GP’s understand perfectly well how ill a person is and whether or not they are capable of work.

          If you find any more information on what you said above post here and next time I visit my GP I will ask her for some clarification on that.

      • Hi wishface,
        you said:

        I face the WP soon. I have had the jc disability adviser ring me up and harass me in respect of another course that i volunteered for (until i discovered it was shit). No understanding, no empathy and no interest – it was her way or the highway.
        She’s not a medical professional! She isn’t a doctor.

        That’s what I mean they are not medically trained but Tar everyone with the same brush and talk to people like shit regardless of the situation or your well-being.

        I am lucky because my doc is okay, she told me as far as she was concerned I am ill with xyz and there is no way I can work, as she says simple but when she receives forms to fill in even she admits to being stumped over some of the questions and does not always understand so god alone knows how we are supposed to.

        In the end someone I know wrote a letter to his GP about how each individual illness effected his day to day life and his GP was pleased so I did the same and my GP said she would scan it into the computer along with my medical notes then anyone requiring to fill in any forms will find it easier to do.

        so you do need a decent GP to help and be proactive on your behalf, they also need an understanding of the various forms as well.

        you said

        While Grayling can play with his property portfolio and make shall we say questionable expenses claims – all of which he will im sure think are perfectly acceptable – the poor have to make do with less and less.

        yes and they live off our backs like the parasites that they are, as I said elsewhere if it was not for us scum they would not be able to live like they do and steal with impunity.

        To be honest I think last years riots are nothing compared with the next round and while there was a time I would state we must try the right road in these sort off situations I honestly do not believe that will ever work now and civil war will be the only way to get these thieving, killing buggers out.

    • People have died already. The DWP have deliberately stopped collecting the statstics and find any reason they can to deny FOI requests on the subject.

  3. Report the facts yes, over-emotive language no; it just alienates support for the cause and makes disabled people look over dependent. Comments like ‘I would burn the place down accidentally’ don’t help either; just have a well argued rational debate. Sensible work placements and voluntary work are helpful, but not randomly putting people into unpaid work that they are unsuited to and uninterested in doing.

    • Hi Erik,

      I reserve my personal right to be angry and have a vent at what they are doing and the way they are treating people. Others have made similar comments when they are angry and I understand them as it does not mean it would happen in the real world.

      I may not agree with your comments but I would not jump all over you for it so I kindly ask you desist doing so at me.

    • No one is going to argue that arson is productive or ethical. BUt people are angry – very angry. That has to be recognised and not ignored by a government that is engaged in a campaign of absolute destruction. Either that or they are so callously stupid that they must be removed from office immediately.
      We’re fed up. We’re frsutrated beyond reason now at being treated like scum, being pilloried and demonised and scapegoated. While Grayling can play with his property portfolio and make shall we say questionable expenses claims – all of which he will im sure think are perfectly acceptable – the poor have to make do with less and less.
      Something needs to change we know it you know it. Sooner or later something is going to give. And yet Cameron, whether here or in Tuscany, and his crew of ideological madmen cannot understand the reason why we had riots last year.

    • I’m sure any such comments are metaphorical and simply reflect the real and justified anger many people feel at having their lives smashed up by this government.

  4. They may be pretending that they don’t understand the riots of last year, but they are certainly planning for more. I think they are hoping for more, in order to crack down even more on civil, human rights, introduce even more monitoring and surveillance. all under the guise of preventing disorder or “terrorism”.

    Take a look at this : new riot barriers and even trying to develop nerve gas for crowd control:

    http://digitaljournal.com/article/319267

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2068180/Public-sector-strikes-Incredible-police-barrier-used-anti-cuts-demonstrators.html

  5. Some of the ‘high quality’ Work Programme provision that awaits (this is just a small selection). I’ve seen first hand too how they deal with people who need help, they just ignore them. A man with severe learning difficulties left to sat for an hour staring at the same piece of paper. Another man who didn’t know how to use a computer asking for help and receiving none whilst the staff just chatted among themselves (I helped in the end).

    http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/761/interviewtechniques1.jpg

    http://img851.imageshack.us/img851/8231/interviewtechniques2.jpg > yes this was on a seperate page, this ‘information’ was also repeated on different pages for no apparent reason

    http://img804.imageshack.us/img804/7750/interviewtechniques3.jpg

    http://img703.imageshack.us/img703/2583/interviewtechniques4.png > “Can you work flexible hours if and when called for” “Yes with a little prior notice work place”

    Disgusting

  6. I agree with the comments here that doctors should be taking a stance. We have the BMA (British Medical Association) and the Association of GP’s. Surely they should be voicing their concerns.

    As Ian Dunacan Smith made clear in his interview on Sunday, even he doesn’t realize that some people will be suffering very severe financial hardship as a result of Government policies. Like some doctors they find it unbelievable and incomprehensible that people are going to be very severely affected financially and left destitute.

    There must be some legal loophole that some smart, shrewd Lawyer could use to challenge the Government over forcing a person who is too sick to work, to work. And of course there is European Court of Human Rights.

    I suspect someone will start the ball rolling soon and challenge the Government with legal support. As Jesus Himself said, ” Be an innocent as doves but as shrewd as serpents”.

    One of two cases that touch the heart of the nation could start to turn back the tide, and make people stop and think.

    We must all be prudent, careful and shrewd in how we respond to the pressures of the job centre. Life is a game and we must all learn the rules.

    In Jewish Law the saving of life and the preservation of life is paramount which gives us permission to do all that it takes to protect our own health and the lives of others. By ‘playing the game’ by your own rules and not theirs, you can safeguard your own health and longevity of your life and the lives of others.

    If we can learn to be shrewd and canny it will help us. Is it wrong to lie, to be economical with the truth, to exaggerate, to tell ‘little porkies’? If the intention is so save, protect and preserve life I think not.

    Whatever it necessary I will do to protect my own health which is my life.
    And I believe God would say Amen to that!

    • ‘forcing a person who is too sick to work, to work’,

      this is the sneaky bit, making your GP argue with the DWP doctor about you being ‘unfit for all work’

    • Hi BLUEBELL SPRING ,

      you said

      Whatever it necessary I will do to protect my own health which is my life.

      of course anyone would, and if the government are going to treat us like scum and criminals we are going to fight back anyway we can as well, that’s just human nature.

  7. are they not making GPs fight the DWP doctors, that is, if the dwp bod disagrees with the GP, it goes to ‘further discussion\assessment’?

  8. Meanwhile over at A4E central command!!!… :)

  9. The vulnerable people of the U.K. need to know that everyone who is not “healthy, fit, ‘hardworking’, ‘successful’, ‘intelligent’, learned, loyal to the CROWN or any GAY or Gypsy” is being demonised and maybe, oneday will be mandated to the shower blocks……..

  10. I am so glad, we are going independent soon

  11. independence
    Alex Salmond wants Independence
    Yet wants to have the queen as head of state
    To be part of eu which we pay billions into and get a fraction back
    In total since 1979, Britain has paid in about €260 billion (£228 billion). It has received back in benefits just €163 billion (£143 billion). The difference of €97 billion (£85 billion at today’s exchange rate) has been Britain’s subsidy to the European project
    Wants our currency to be the euro look what happened to ireland and greece
    A will vote no in any vote

    I will be going for a meeting tommorrow at ingeus thats me going on the work programme i am on jobseeker allowance . how sick people would cope with it a dont know and its wrong on many levels

    • lots of places have the queen as head of state, whats the big deal, with that, the monarchy is just an ornament, that brings the tourists in

      and think how much your contribution will drop, once we have left the uk and have to shovel our own shite ;)

    • I sent this email to MIND, I helped for free in your Swindon Resource Centre, I helped because I wanted to! I received my reward in my soul, but that wasn’t enough for you, you got greedy and over the 20yrs since, your sin has become ever more noticeable, so that today you struggle to hide your true nature, the nature of the beast, so run along now, to No.10 Downing Street to collect your 30 pieces of silver…you have earned it!

  12. ‘Equally shocking is that around 45% of sanctions were handed out to people with mental health or behavioural conditions’

    Maybe this is an english system thing but whenever i have dole bullshit to shovel, I always have an ‘accompaning grown up with me’ usually my cpn and if not them, their nominated second.

    should we all, not have someone professional on our side at these type of meetings?

    • AXEL

      They think people with mental health or behavioural problems are easy pickings however I disagree because something is going to snap when appropriate behaviour levels have been reached and the stress level reaches boiling point.

      I would never go to any meetings of any sort without an appropriate adult -)

      • Some of us are stuffed in that regard, though; I don’t know anyone in a 50-mile radius, and can’t cope with social contact at all – but because I’ve had to learn how to get by without social contact, I don’t qualify for any help. Not that I’d know what help to ask for if I did, or be able to cope with anyone offering it… Obviously, by the government’s own criteria I should just be stuck in the support group and left the hell alone, but – yeah, that’s really going to happen. *snort* And even if it does this time – next time, once they’ve narrowed the criteria again?

        • gwenhwyfaer,

          Every illness will be given a process by the government/NHS which the claimant will be expected to follow. Once you have been through this miracle curing system a person will probably be cut adrift to manage everything on their own the best way that they can with their GP.

          Once this occurs a person will be left to fend for themselves as far as ATOS/DWP are concerned and will be easy pickings for benefit denial as they will no longer be considered as going through a medical process that can be verified.

          • why can you only ‘reply’ to certain posts?

            • AXEL

              what do you mean by why can you only ‘reply’ to certain posts?

              this is why they are trying to make GPs fight the DWP doctors, to get the GPs to withdraw from the system

              I agree however I have a very good GP so my advice to anyone thinking they are going to be dropped from the system any time soon is to at least make sure they have a great GP who works for them.

              • bbest
                all posts have the name and the date of the post but only some have the ‘reply’ button

                your post from | March 21, 2012 at 8:57 am | is a post that has no reply option :(

                • AXEL Clueso lol

                  I have no idea, I did have a problem with the E-mail address I was using which has taken me several days to try and sort out so it may be that? Otherwise honestly no idea.

  13. bbest “hey will no longer be considered as going through a medical process that can be verified”

    yeah, i think this is why they are trying to make GPs fight the DWP doctors, to get the GPs to withdraw from the system

  14. bbest,

    its not you, it seems to be a random selection of posts from a random selection of peeps

    • Oh okay that makes me feel better she says pretending to understand lol

      As I thought it was something I was doing wrong Duh!

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  18. GPs have made a stand – an overwhelming vote in favour of scrapping the WCA. But they are only GPs. What does the government care about them, or teachers, nurses, public workers, the police, the disabled, the elderly,
    anyone in fact, unless they happen to be a merchant banker

    • agreed JAKI it appears obvious that those who are sick and disabled are being victimised above even able bodied which is a disgrace.

  19. MILLIONS OF UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN FEAR OF BEING MADE DESTITUTE, BY A GOVERNMENT OF MODERN CIVILIZED COUNTRY, THEY ARE SUBJECT TO HARSH SANCTIONS BY PRIVATE COMPANYS SUCH AS A4E WHO HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF MISTREATING THESE VUNRABLE PEOPLE, FRAUD AND PAYING THEMSELVES FANTASTIC WAGES. THE ABUSE OF THE UNEMPLOYED IS GOING TO FAR WORSE WHEN UNIVERSAL CREDIT COMES INTO EFFECT AND SOCIETY WILL HAVE TO SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES…ALWAYS REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE WORKING TODAY COULD BE UNENPLOYED TOMORROW

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