Universal Credit (UC) sanctions rates have rocketed following the resumption of face-to-face meetings, rising 15-fold in just four months. 98% of all sanctions are in connection with work-focused interviews.
The number of UC sanctions plummeted following changes to conditionality rules in March 2020, due to the pandemic,
However, from April 2021 face-to-face meetings in Jobcentres resumed and it was this measure which caused the massive surge in sanctions.
98% of sanctions for UC are imposed because the claimant failed to attend or failed to participate in a work-focused interview.
Following the reintroduction of face-to-face meetings, the number of sanctions shot up from just over a thousand in April to almost 16,000 in July.
The highest level of UC sanctions prior to the pandemic was in July 2019, when 22,566 claimants were hit with a reduction in their benefit.
Given the rate that sanctions have been rising, it is possible that that figure has by now been surpassed, we’ll only know when the next set of statistics are published.
The DWP say the number of sanctions for claimants on JSA and ESA (WRAG) have steadily reduced due to migration to UC and therefore the number of sanctions is now very low for these benefits.
Members can download a copy of our 34 page guide on Ways to prevent and overturn ESA and UC sanctions from the ESA and UC page in the members’ area.