It would be funny but … …

A Selection of Especially Stupid Benefit Sanctions

Cruel, arbitrary and ridiculous reasons why people have their benefits stopped

  •  Your gran dies during the night. The next morning your partner calls the job centre and asks if you can come in the following day instead. The centre agrees, and you sign in the next day. Then you get a letter stating that you failed to sign in and would be sanctioned if you don’t reply within seven days. You reply, explaining the situation. The job centre gives you a six-week sanction for not replying. Source: Mari-claire M at Netmums
  • You get a job interview. It’s at the same time as your job centre appointment, so you reschedule the job centre. You attend your rearranged appointment and then get a letter saying your benefits will be stopped because going to a job interview isn’t a good enough reason to miss an appointment. Source: Daily Mail
  • You’ve signed in on time, been to interviews and applied for work. Your job centre advisor suggests you make a two-line change to your CV, which you do, but fail to give the updated CV to the job centre (you weren’t told you had to). You are sanctioned for four weeks. Source: nciaw36 at MoneySavingExpert
  • You work for 20 years and then miss a job centre appointment because you haven’t had the process clearly explained. You are sanctioned for 3 weeks. Source: Councillor John O’Shea
  • You get a job that starts in two weeks time. You don’t look for work while you are waiting for the job to start. You’re sanctioned. Source: The Guardian
  • You are forced to retire due to a heart condition, and you claim Employment and Support Allowance. During your assessment you have a heart attack. You are sanctioned for not completing your assessment. Source: Debbie Abrahams MP
  •  It’s Christmas Day and you don’t fill in your job search evidence form to show that you’ve looked for all the new jobs that are advertised on Christmas Day. You are sanctioned. Merry Christmas.  Source: Poverty Alliance
  • You are given a training appointment that clashes with your job centre appointment. The job centre is unwilling to rearrange its appointment and tells you to get a letter from the training organisation. The training organisation says it doesn’t provide letters. Source: Russell Brown MP
  • You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the job centre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week. Source: Pontefract and Castleford Express (via Benefit Tales)
  • You miss your job centre appointment due to the funeral of a close family relative. You are sanctioned. Source: Derek Twigg MP
  • You’ve been unemployed for seven months and are forced onto a workfare scheme in a shop miles away, but can’t afford to travel. You offer to work in a nearer branch but are refused and get sanctioned for not attending your placement. Source: Caroline Lucas MP
  • You miss your job centre appointment as it clashes with your work programme interview. You get sanctioned. Source: Citizens Advice Bureau

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Oh my God, these are awful. Why can’t our systems recognize the circumstances of life? Is there an appeals process? Is it impossible to navigate? These people can’t wait 4 or 6 weeks for their benefits, if they could, they would not subject themselves to this process in the first place.


  2. Words fail me


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