Under Universal Credit the minimum sanction can now be 13 weeks on a first offence depending how ‘severe’ it is. We know there are sanction targets and staff are forced to meet them or be, in a way, sanctioned themselves. I myself have been a victim of a 13 week benefit sanction for something I never did. I would never wish the same on anyone else. It was the advisers word against mine and all my money was stopped. I did not qualify for hardship payments. I kept asking when the appeal would be sorted, they never answered me. 12 weeks later I won the appeal and then it took two weeks to be paid back payments. Meaning THEY were in the wrong. Of course, most people drop out during the appeals process as you are still expected to sign on, job search and do other various duties, even attending job clubs.
Never mind that you may have no money for food, get evicted, put hardship on yourself, friends and family.
But here’s the thing. I rang up about another possible sanction on my claim a few months later and the lady on the end of the phone agreed with me and overturned my sanction there and then, as it was a week before Christmas. So, if a call centre agent can overturn a sanction, then why the fuck is there a 12 week wait on appeals?
In 2014 it was revealed half a million young people simply dropped out of the system when sanctioned and no one knows where they are, as the Government don’t keep track of them . We know people die, we know people suffer and still millions more people will talk about what colour the dress is.
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