Benefit sanctions have NOT been suspended – as Universal Credit claimant found out the hard way

Remember when we were all told benefit sanctions would be suspended for three months during the coronavirus lockdown?

That seems to have been a lie, as 23-year-old ‘Ben’ discovered after waiting a month for a payment:

Ben, 23, had been sanctioned earlier in the year for being unable to find work, however, like payment holidays for homeowners and furlough for the employed, he believed the freeze would be lifted to support struggling households during the pandemic.

Last Thursday, [his] family who had waited an entire week to do their food shop, were sent a statement for £0 via the online portal.

It left them devastated – and worried about how they would survive the current crisis.

He has been directed to take out a hardship loan instead, it seems. This means he will be forced to pay back any money he takes out, over a very long period of time – probably forcing him into further debt and hardship.

It seems that this is the Tories’ plan.

The Daily Mirror says the DWP has now “clarified” the terms and conditions of the freeze on sanctions:

The department said sanctions that were already in place prior to the coronavirus outbreak will continue to apply.

Under the terms of the freeze, benefit and universal credit claimants will not face new sanctions for three months, the DWP said.

So claimants under sanction will have to fend for themselves with no money – after being led to believe that they would be helped.

This is particularly worrying for people with disabilities who, historically, find it particularly hard to cope with sanctions even in normal times.

But the situation has worked out okay for Ben and his family – after learning that a newspaper had taken an interest in his case, the DWP reinstated his payments and gave him £1,600.

This Site’s advice remains the same: if you need help, get in touch with a national newspaper.

Source: Universal credit claimant sanctioned for not being able to find a job during lockdown – Mirror Online

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  1. trev April 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    I had wondered about that as I hadn’t heard anything about a Sanctions amnesty. It seems that even a pandemic is not enough to suspend the Class War. Tories reverting to type, the Nasty Party is alive and well.

  2. Simon Cohen April 23, 2020 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    The Tory Party manifesto talked about ‘treating benefit claimants with respect’. Clearly part of the 88% mis- and disinformation with with they plied the public during the election.

  3. Jeffrey Davies April 23, 2020 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Shitte on a stick these devils ain’t satisfied with a virus going round they turn the screws more on those who can’t fight back karma will one day catch up to those only following orders

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