A damming report issued yesterday by Greater Manchester Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s provides disturbing evidence of the impact of sanctions on benefit claimants. The study of 376 claimants undertaken between July and September this year suggests that the Department of Work and Pensions are failing to Communicate with claimants to make them fully aware of what conditions are involved in the claim for benefit and the penalties for non compliance.
40% of those who took part said they were not informed by letter that they had been sanctioned. 25% were not aware they had been sanctioned until they discovered their benefit had not been paid as normal.50% claimed that they were not informed of the right to appeal.
The findings will make disturbing reading for The Social Security Advisory Committee and for Matthew Oakley who is currently tasked with carrying out an Independent review of the impact of sanctions on benefit claimants.His remit specifically asks him to look at the provision of information to claimants. The CAB report suggests that the Department of Work and pensions are failling in this task.
A Department of Work and Pensions spokesperson said;
“It is only right that people claiming benefits should do everything they can to find work if they are able.The rules regarding someones entitlement to Jobseekers Allowance and what could happen to their Benefits if they don’t stick to those rules that are made very clear at the start of their claim.”
“We will provide Jobseekers with the help and support they need to find a job, but it is only fair that in return they live up can appeal”to their part of the contract.Sanctions are only used as a last resort and anyone who disagree’s can appeal”
The number of claimants being sanctioned has risen from 139,000 in 2009 to 508,000 in 2011.