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Over 80,000 claimants and professionals subscribe to the UK's leading source of benefits news.


We’d be very interested to hear from members who have been threatened with, or suffered, sanctions whilst claiming JSA or ESA.  

We’ve already had some submissions via our Facebook page, including one from someone caring for their son who has Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD.  The son did not fully understand the instructions for  setting up and using a Universal Jobmatch online account, although he and his carer did their best to muddle through.  When he returned to the Jobcentre and tried to explain his difficulties he was given a 4 week sanction, although it was actually 8 weeks before he received another payment.

We don’t want our members to be caught unprepared for the vicious sanctions regime if they are forced to claim JSA. We’re determined to give you the best possible information and advice about:

how to avoid sanctions
how to challenge a sanction if you’re threatened with or receive one
how to use discrimination legislation and legal aid to fight back against unjust sanctions

Any sanctions experiences you can share with us will be greatly valued.



#16 J Maxwell 2017-01-13 22:44
Wrongly sanctioned at Christmas they had my paper work explaining why I couldn't attend work program. They justhavnt looked at ityet I was told on the 23rd. Lady fro!m work program even phoned them to tell the!m still the sanction stood. Explaining to my 3 year old my 10 and 12 year oldwhywe were having koka noodles for Christmas dinner was not fun as was my trip to the food bnank MERRY CHRISTMAS it wasn't
#15 teej09 2015-11-02 13:36
I have Fibromyalgia and have been recently been diagnosed with a Hiatal Hernia where further enquiries are being made to see what I have, which I think could include having Irritable Bowel Disease (not IBS) where symptoms can be varied for both the Fibromyalgia and IBD.

I have had threats on various occasions even though I have sent an email on each occasions and my reasons why I would not be attending. I am on ESA (WRAG).

I am now looking to involve my M.P. due to the work provider ignoring things like: travelling time, hard-selling of clients to remove them from their lists to attend and refusal to pay for parking when it is almost impossible to sit on a bus for one hour to get to the Work Provider.

I would appreciate some advice on this matter, or any other information that would be useful.

Thank you in advance.
+2 #14 helencopter 2014-03-31 15:32
Jess - i'm really sorry to hear that :( i was fired from my job while on sickleave after an operation and haven't been well enough to work since.
It's hard enough trying to cope with work without all of the problems you get if you can't work!
*Hugs* i know i can't offer much to help, but i hope you know that i understand how difficult things are and how stupid the benefits system is! It isn't us in the wrong, it's them. You're doing the best you can x
+1 #13 Jess 2014-03-31 15:19
I had to leave my abusive job due to my mental health issues and I've been sanctioned 4 weeks! Since this I haven't been able to eat and my anxiety is at an all time high and I have no where to turn! This is wrong!
#12 june cunningham 2013-12-01 16:00
my son has been sanctioned even though his illness stops him from being available in the mornings(severe bowel problems and incontinence which
are known about) .they still insist on his attendance at these times although he is unable to do so and also has uncontrolled epilepsy. He has told them time and again of this -what can he do? He should not be in this group but he was keen to do something except in these times.
+1 #11 uvls 2013-11-20 22:20
2 years ago the DWP decided I was a man and I owed them £26.000+.
they stopped all benefits, and after threats of jail and hounding me for 7 months,........ ............... .they finally got the message
the DWP made my life hell........... ......I really was very suicidal.
I was given 3 months benefits backdated, only 3 months allowed.
and the dwp lies
#10 helencopter 2013-11-20 13:28
To add to my first comment (#3): my mum went to my local council today with my latest sicknote and the CDA worker flatly refused to accept it as it didn't have the additional "cannot attend work meetings or do work-activity" message written on it.
They have now said that they will be calling and sending me letters about why my sicknote doesn't allow me to miss work-activity and how it will affect my benefits...
#9 jen 2013-11-20 11:00
I have just got back home from my local jc. I was told when I signed on on Monday that I was required to attend an "event". I was told that I had to dress for an interview, I asked my advisor if I was to be interviewed and was told that there is no interview, we just need to see that you know how to dress when attending a job interview. The jc are aware that I suffer panic attacks and that being in a room with a lot of people brings my attacks on. But I was told in no uncertain terms that if I failed to attend my benefits would be sanctioned. I obviously attended, dressed very smartly, which I was one out of about 4 who actually bothered to dress correctly. I have never felt so embarrassed in all my life, I had a panic attack and had everyone staring at me. I used to be on ESA but got thrown off it twice by ATOS. I have COPD and depression, and to be quite honest, the way I have been treated by the powers that be is horrendous. I am 58 years old and worked all my life up to 2008 when because of my health problems I lost my job. I have jumped through every hoop that I have been asked to, my health is deteriorating, but having had the ATOS treatment twice I honestly feel unable to face that again. I have been sent after jobs that I clearly am not capable of doing, but am told that if I don't apply, my benefit's will be affected. One example is, I was told to apply for the vacancy of warehouse assistant, must be able to lift 25kg weight's. I am a female and weigh 8st 2lb! It is a complete and utter joke!
+2 #8 greeneyedlad 2013-11-19 19:40
I dont know if this counts but my ESA has been cut as I was recently made to have a compliance interview regarding my flat mate & co-owner who has lived at this address since 2006.
We have never hidden the fact that we are friends living together & informed DWP when he moved in. He is my carer & even claimed carers allowance for a while when he was unemployed, however we are not a couple.
I do not know why its taken till 2013 for an interview, they tell me no one has reported me or anything.
Anyway the decision is that we are living together as if we were in a civil partnership & my income related part of ESA (im in support group) is being stopped & they are currently calculating how many thousands I owe them.
I have written for a mandatory reconsideration but who knows how long that will take. I WILL take it to Appeal if I have to. Other than that I do not know what to do other than iv lost aprox £230a month :sad:
+2 #7 siani 2013-11-19 18:28
This is so needed- Thanks for doing it :-)
+1 #6 Pat 2013-11-19 17:38
I would love to put my arms round you all and say everything is going to be fine,sorry I would be living if I did , we just have to make our voices louder and make this daft ignorant goverment listen to us all love and best wishes to you all x
+2 #5 islelassie 2013-11-19 16:46
My grandson then 18 was sanctioned. He is dyslexic and was not allowed any one with him to help him complete forms, he was told he was not entitled to JSA because they wanted to send him on an evening work placement in a very rough area of London where he was actually scared to go to at night. IHe was also never given help with fares and when he was sent to the next work scheme and cut his hand, he was not paid during the time his hand was out of use. His mother ended up having to feed them both on her Incapacity Benefit and they both were down to one basic meal per day and no heating. He couldn't write to protest or appeal and when his mother went with him to the jobcentre they wouldn't see either of them. This is Mare Street jobcentre Hackney
+1 #4 julia 2013-11-19 16:12
Thankyou helencopter...I too wont answe4 the phone or open mail as my nerves ate shot...we are trying to keep our heads above water x
As for fighting they know thats for the fit and mentally strong...we may be struggling financially now but at least I dont have to deal with "the inquisitors"... theyll be dragging us all out and burning us soon...catch 22..dont turn up for their inquisitions then youre guilty of trying to cheat the system..do turn up and youre guilty of cheating the system...we have to stay strong hun and to hell with them...Karma is a wonderful thing x
+2 #3 helencopter 2013-11-19 15:44
I keep getting threats from "CDA" who is the company apparently dealing with the work-based activity for ESA in my area.
I have physical conditions but am also too unwell mentally to deal with the work activity. I am appealing being placed in the work related activity group of ESA (i had to appeal in the first place to even get into an ESA group as i was originally deemed fit to work, and they have been ignoring this 2nd appeal for over 6 months now), but in the mean-time i am constantly harassed via telephone calls telling me that i need to attend meetings.
After my mum argued with them as i became really upset during a phonecall with CDA, i was told that if i gave them a sicknote then i would not have to attend work-activity. After a month of this, they then phoned again and said that a sicknote was no longer enough and that i had to get my GP to specifically write that i "cannot do work activity" on the sicknote. I said this to my GP who was appalled and said that the sicknote proves i cannot do work activity so he shouldn't need to write on it, and for me to tell CDA to write to him specifically. CDA have refused to do this as it's "nothing to do with them" and keep saying that if i don't attend the work-activity meetings "i may have my benefits taken away" (they were even threatening this when i ended up in hospital overnight a few weeks ago!)
Since the problems with CDA, my mental health has become a lot worse as they cause so much stress and anxiety. I do not answer the phone if i don't recognise the number as i'm scared it will be them on the phone, and i'm constantly nervous that when the mail comes i will have the brown envelope telling me my benefits have been stopped.
They are nothing more than bullies who make the vulnerable and the sick feel even worse. I'm disgusted by how they treat us, and how badly people have been affected.
Julia, i hope you are coping and that you don't give up despite how hard it is to fight them.
+2 #2 julia 2013-11-19 15:13
After a atos esa review and being put on a year work capable entitelment ( sorry I still cant make head nor tail of it all)...I was harassed every two days to attend an interview even though my husband had explained I was too ill to leave the house..I was suffering severe agoraphobia and deoression..yet they kept calling even when my husband asked them to ring between certain hours when he was available to talk to..I became so stressed that when they threatened to stop my benefit I in an unfit mental state tild them I didnt want it any more I couldnt take the harrassing..the y said thanks and sent me a letter two days later saying it had been cancelled..than ks...a week later I was hospitaluzed after taking an overdosebecause I felt I wasnt worhwhile any more and was going to end up putting my family on the streets because I couldnt work and had no money coming in..cant claim jsa as doctor says unaible to work and I cant sugn on and activelly look for work...cant reapply for esa as get small ill health pension from previous company and I was alliwed it as esa clsimed prior to 2001 ...so im screwd either way..well done DWP..makes me proud to know that in britain we have a great social security system...thst craps on those unable to defend themselves :(
+2 #1 annie 2013-11-19 13:01
my son was sanctioned for 4 weeks all because he looked after me for a week as im disabled, because he didn't do enough jobs in the first week and did more on his 2nd week, I don't no how they expect people to live, my sons lucky in a way that I helped as much as I could with food etc., but there are some out there who have no one

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