The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have published new, updated figures yesterday, which show that over 70,000 Employment Support Allowance claimants have been sanctioned since the system was introduced in December 2012, showing a huge rise from previous figures.
This is an appalling number, especially in light of the fact that this group is comprised of people who qualify for the benefit because they have been deemed unfit for work by both qualified doctors and by the state Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
The statistical release also shows that over a third of sanction decisions (over 23,000) were successfully challenged.
The sanction decisions are from December 2012 to June 2015, with the total at 70,452 for the following reasons –
- 11,238 applied for failure to attend a mandatory interview; and
- 59,219 applied for failure to participate in work related activity.
- 49,269 decisions were reviewed with 21,831 decisions withdrawn;
- 2,109 decisions were reconsidered with 1,288 decisions overturned; and
- 568 decisions were appealed with 185 appeals being successful.
This indicates quite clearly that sanctions are being applied unfairly and unreasonably, by the DWP’s own standards, with almost half being withdrawn when reviewed – that’s 21,831 wrongful sanctions, and more than half of the adverse decisions progressing to mandatory review were overturned.
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