Figures published today by the DWP reveal that it is having to overturn a huge proportion of its own sanctions against employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants even before they reach an appeal. Nonetheless, decision makers continue to sanction thousands of ESA claimants every month.
The latest figures, for April to June, 2014, reveal that sanction levels are continuing an upward trend:
What is most shocking, however, is the change in the number given for sanctions handed out in March 2014.
In August of this year, we revealed that 7,507 ESA claimants had been sanctioned in March
However, in the latest statistical release this number has been reduced to 4,266, suggesting that the DWP have overturned almost 45% of their own sanction decisions before claimants have had time to get anywhere near a tribunal.
To have to admit that you have wrongly imposed sanctions on such a high proportion of sick and disabled claimants should be a matter for shame, remorse and an immediate change of procedures by the DWP.
Sadly, we know that it will make no difference whatsoever. However, it does undeline the need to always challenge unfair sanction decisions: you have a very good chance of winning.
You can download the latest sanctions figures from the DWP website.