Deaf Benefit Claimant Wrongly Sanctioned After Arriving 10 Minutes Late For Training

A deaf benefit claimant was wrongly sanctioned after turning up to a training course just ten minutes late, the Upper Tribunal has ruled.

Despite the sanction being imposed in November 2013, he had to wait until 14 August 2015 to have his appeal heard by the Upper Tribunal.

The unnamed 53 year-old benefit claimant has hearing difficulties and wears a hearing aid in his right ear. He was told to attend a CV writing course and given a “Jobseeker’s Direction” letter to confirm the time and date of the course, reports Disability Rights UK.

After arriving just ten minutes late for the appointment, a decision was taken to cut his benefits for four weeks for failing to adhere to the “jobseeker’s Direction”.

The claimant argued at the Tribunal that he had incorrectly heard the date of the appointment, because his hearing aid was faulty, and didn’t check the time of the appointment on the letter he was given.

He visited a Jobcentre Plus office straight away to arrange another appointment and completed the CV writing course on the following day.

Upper Tribunal Judge Knowles said there was no evidence that he had deliberately refused to attend the appointment, or carry out the jobseeker’s direction.

Judge Knowles said: “Having regard to all the circumstances, did the Appellant’s late arrival at his CV writing course amount to a failure or a refusal to carry out his Jobseeker’s Direction?

“First, the Appellant did not refuse to carry out his Jobseeker’s Direction: he was merely 10 minutes late in attending the course. As the Respondent submits, it was inherently improbable that this Appellant would have deliberately attended late given his past record of compliance.

“Second, the Appellant’s late arrival was accepted by both the Respondent and the tribunal to have been a genuine error.

“Third, the Appellant reported his late arrival to the Job Centre that same day and rebooked the CV writing course which he subsequently completed.

“Set against these matters is the Appellant’s late arrival contrary to the terms of his Jobseeker’s Direction.

“However I find that it would be disproportionate to conclude that this factor in isolation was sufficient to amount to a failure by the Appellant to carry out his Jobseeker’s Direction.”

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