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The Secret #Sanctions

This article shared below was originally published in the Big Issue of the North and written by Gary Ryan. I am only sharing it here because it is not online and I was interviewed for it and thought some of you who follow me on Twitter might find it interesting. I have kept it the same as the original apart from adding hyperlinks. In case you are wondering I was named Tom for this piece.

Campaigners say Jobcentre workers are imposing unfair conditions on jobseekers and even stopping their benefits without telling them, leaving them vulnerable, penniless and desperate. Gary Ryan investigates…

David Clapson died trying to find work. His body was found surrounded by printouts of his CV and application forms. The diabetic ex-soldier’s £71.50 a week Jobseeker’s Allowance had been stopped because he missed an appointment with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. He couldn’t afford food or electricity to power the fridge where he stored his medication. The cause of his death was an acute lack of insulin; the coroner found that his stomach was empty. At 59, he had spent his final days penniless, starving and alone.

This summer, Clapson’s younger sister Gill Thompson launched an online petition calling for an independent inquiry into his death. “Like many others, I believe that benefit sanctions – penalties by the government for things like missing Jobcentre meetings – are completely out of control and putting the most in need at risk,” she says. “I don’t want anybody else to die like this.”

In Britain today, 2.4 million people are unemployed, competing for 503,000 vacancies – one in four will not find a job, no matter what they do. Every jobseeker agrees to a set of conditions they must fulfill in order to claim support; if they fail one of these, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will stop some or all of their benefits for a minimum of four weeks, rising to three years. Sanctions are nothing new, but were toughened up in 2012 by the coalition government, who claim they positively motivate people to step up their search for work – and are continuing to make them tougher.

Some 860,000 people were sanctioned in the year to June 2013, many for spurious or arbitrary reasons. Every two minutes, a young person has their benefits stopped. Meanwhile, whistleblowers have claimed Jobcentre staff’s own jobs are under threat if they fail to apply sanctions. The question is being asked: does the Jobcentre exist to find people work, or simply to get them off benefits by any means?

Having lost his job in a university, Tom* signed on in 2013. “When I met with my adviser, the first thing she suggested I do was volunteering – so I volunteered through my local housing association,” he says. “I told the Jobcentre and they suspended my claim, leaving me without money. When I enquired further, they said the skills I required to do that volunteering too closely matched the skills I already had.”

Like a lot of claimants, Tom says he wasn’t told about the suspension – meaning he couldn’t cancel direct debits at the bank, which landed him in £120 worth of debt from bank charges and late fees. “That was in August and was my first taste of what they could do,” he says.

In November 2013, the housing association offered him a training course as part of a drive to encourage people to pursue self-employment. His adviser said: “Go for it, and while you’re there, don’t worry about looking for work – just put ‘training’ on your form.” When he returned to the Jobcentre, he found his adviser had changed. At his first meeting with the new one, he was sanctioned for not looking for work while training and his payments were suspended for four weeks. He had five pounds in his pocket to survive on from 25 November to the week after Christmas.

“At the end of that week, I ran out of electricity,” he says. “Very shortly after that, I ran out of food – a lot of it perished because it was in the fridge or freezer. It took them two weeks to make a decision to sanction me. Until a decision is made, you can’t apply for hardship payments. That was two weeks of going every day, desperately begging them for information. It wasn’t until I received £20 in a Christmas card from a relative that I had any money.

“I started getting diarrhoea because if you don’t eat, you become dehydrated and you lose control of your bodily functions. Since then, I’ve been on anti-depressant medication. I’m absolutely fearful of going to the Jobcentre.”

The government says emergency hardship payments (usually about half of Jobseeker’s Allowance) are there to cushion the blow of sanctions, but because of bureaucracy, they can take up to four weeks to process. In addition, according to one independent review, only 23 per cent of claimants are being told of their availability. Indeed, a mere 40 per cent were even aware they could appeal a sanction ruling.

It’s often left to food banks to provide a safety net. According to the Trussell Trust more than half of referrals to food banks in 2013/14 were a result of cuts or sanctions to benefits. But as Tom notes, many are closed over the festive period. “It felt like a double sanction. On Christmas Day, I was looking out of the window at the families walking together and happy and I was sitting there, existing on nothing, waiting for it to get dark so I could go to bed.”

According to the most recent British Social Attitudes survey, the UK has witnessed a long-term decline in support for benefits. Fuelled by George Osborne’s ‘striver v skiver’ rhetoric, there’s a dehumanising perception of claimants as feckless Frank Gallagher from Shameless types who loathe work as much as they love their 57-inch TVs. But Tom has worked since he was 16.

He has a 2:1 university degree – a combined honours in Sports Management & Business Law.  “I’m surprised this happened to me,” he says. “I didn’t think I was one of those people.” In January, he returned to the Jobcentre and was sent on Workfare – a month of unpaid labour – “because it was obvious to her [his new adviser] that I hadn’t been looking for work while I was on a sanction. Effectively, I was being punished for being sanctioned. She said the sanction clearly showed that I needed to learn to get into a routine. Clearly, working for 20 years before unemployment did not show I could do that.”

In June, three former civil servants based in the North East set up the free online advice service jobseekersanctionadvice.com. One of its founders, Jean*, who left her job as an adviser in 2011, says she became disillusioned by the treatment of claimants in her final years at the Jobcentre and alleges that staff were pressurised to apply sanctions for the smallest of errors.

According to a report by the Policy Exchange think-tank, 68,000 people a year are found to have been wrongly sanctioned. Jean says this is a result of a disparity between the official guidelines and what advisers are actually encouraged to do. “Decision-makers don’t seem to be applying the law – they seem to have made up a law of their own,” she says. For example, claimants have to draw up a ‘Jobseeker’s Agreement’ promising to take steps to find work. “Any jobseeker who can demonstrate they have taken at least three steps a week to find work has complied with the law,” says Jean. “But I’ve seen Jobseeker’s Agreements with 100 steps. I’ve seen agreements for people with disabilities or lone parents that have 50 steps, whereas one person I helped in Scotland – who was sanctioned – only had 10 steps and had no health issues and an excellent track record of work. There’s no consistency.”

There is a developing culture within the Jobcentre, she says, of “bullying” claimants. “The plan is to frustrate people into submission so they’ll accept any job or leave the system. If you make one little mistake or are five minutes late for an appointment, you’re sanctioned. And people are brainwashed into believing they have no choice. They often don’t even approach the Citizens Advice Bureau for help – because they feel they deserve it.

”As part of the service provided by Jobseekersanctionadvice.com, Jean accompanies people locally to the Jobcentre to negotiate revised Jobseeker’s Agreements. “When I walk through the door, even I feel frightened, because you know you’re going to have to challenge everything they’re doing,” she says. “It’s transformed completely from when I used to work there. Now, if you complain, the answer is to ignore you for as long as possible.”

She says common forms of harassment include forcing people to give access to their Universal Jobmatch accounts, despite it being illegal under the Data Protection Act; and asking people to attend Jobcentres daily, seeing a different adviser each time.

Campaigners believe some  jobseekers are being sanctioned to create the illusion that the government is  bringing down unemployment.  Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty

Campaigners believe some jobseekers are being sanctioned to create the illusion that the government is
bringing down unemployment.
Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty

Like Tom, she reiterates that people are frequently not informed that their money is being stopped. Through a Freedom of Information request, she discovered that a decision was made on 5 February to stop one claimant’s money, but a letter was not sent to inform them until 6 February.

“The letter was sent out the day after they made the decision,” she points out. “And he never received the letter anyway. That’s common. Jobcentre staff, if they’ve got any conscience at all, can’t face telling customers they’ve no money in the bank, so simply don’t.”

Jean denies that punitive sanctions incentivise people to find work. She says they are counter-productive, particularly among the most vulnerable members of society. “I’ve got homeless clients who don’t need the additional pressure of being told to do X, Y, or Z, especially when provisions are in place that aren’t being applied.”

James*, from Bradford, is one such homeless person. The teenager had his money stopped because he did not attend an interview, yet the Jobcentre failed to update his address, so he didn’t receive the letter. “I do intend to work again in the future but at this moment I just cannot physically face it,” he says.

“It’s hard enough working out where I will sleep, eat and keep warm at night. Thirty-five hours a week searching for jobs, along with weekly interviews with that bullying and intimidating Jobcentre adviser, is too much to bear.”

Andy Shawcross, a 30-year-old former security guard, has been unemployed for three years and has received several sanctions. His benefits were docked for four weeks when he failed to attend a back-to-work scheme meeting on the day of his uncle’s funeral, despite the fact that he had notified the provider in advance. “When it comes to job searches, they want a total of 18 a week,” he says. “I’m lucky in my area if I can find eight a week.”

Ironically, he also says he’s been sanctioned for actually applying for jobs. “I’ve got the qualifications but not necessarily the experience that some companies want, so they’re not willing to look at me,” he says. “When I applied for some jobs, the Jobcentre turned around and said: ‘You’ve not got the experience so there’s no point applying for them; you’re just doing it to fill in the numbers – sanction.’ I’m sanctioned if I don’t apply for jobs; I’m sanctioned if I do. How can I win?”

Debbie Abrahams, Labour MP for Oldham and East Saddleworth and a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, feels that “sanctions are being used to create the illusion that the government is bringing down unemployment”. Since April 2011, the Jobcentre’s primary performance measure has been ‘benefit off-flow’. Abrahams says there is evidence that sanctions increase benefit off-flow “because people who are not receiving any money do not turn up to sign on, so they drop off the unemployment register.”

Abrahams has met with an anonymous whistleblower – a former Jobcentre worker employed for more than 20 years in the Greater Manchester region – who disclosed to her the pressures to sanction claimants. “He told me interviews were being set up without clients’ knowledge, so they couldn’t attend and would be sanctioned. Advisers are performance managed by the number of people they get off the statistics. If they do not get enough people off the register, they’re subject to an internal disciplinary assessment – a personal improvement plan.”

At the Maundy Relief drop-in centre in Accrington, Lancashire, where volunteers provide help, food and support to the town’s neediest residents, manager Lucy Hardwick sees daily the human cost of these alleged ‘targets’. She estimates that 80 per cent of the food parcels the centre provides are for people driven to destitution by a sanction.

“We see a lot of people with mental health problems, who are insecurely housed or homeless, who might have substance abuse problems. They’re sometimes given Jobseeker’s Agreements that are hard to fulfill. Some are computer-illiterate or actually illiterate. In Accrington, there are few job opportunities for low-skilled workers. In many ways, it’s easier to sanction them than get them into work. You can appeal, but by then it’s too late. People are existing hand to mouth and have nothing in gaps between payments.

“People’s mental health deteriorates because it can be a desperate situation. In the winter, you can’t heat yourself or feed yourself, and you’re worried you might lose your property because your rent’s not going to get paid. People become less work-ready – they’re less able to look for a job because they’re suffering all this stress and just trying to get by.”

The DWP denies that it gives Jobcentres targets for applying sanctions or discontinuing benefits. A spokesperson said: “It’s only right that people claiming benefits should do everything they can to find work if they are able, but there are no targets for sanctions and they are only used as a last resort. Every month the vast majority of claimants – around 95 per cent – do not receive a sanction.”

But this will provide no comfort for the family of David Clapson. “If we don’t act now,” says Abrahams, “he won’t be the last to die under this appalling regime.”

*Names have been changed

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79 comments on “The Secret #Sanctions

  1. Jeffrey Davies
    October 14, 2014

    the trouble is whilst the jcp dwp rigerously fill out their roburst reports sanction all whilst you get to go without isnt it strange when mps get fatter whilst we get thinner austerity isnt for but us jeff3

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 16, 2014

      MPs are some of the biggest benefit claimants of all. I don’t begrudge them when they are genuine expenses but too often they are not. And when they govern the country so badly I start to question why we invest so much in them.

      • Keith Hughes
        October 19, 2014

        The MPs tell the nurses and everyone else that they can’t have a pay rise. But they’ve just given themselves one, but why not when they’ve done the same thing 3 years in a row.

  2. victedy
    October 15, 2014

    Reblogged this on victedy and commented:
    I read this with horror & it echoes experiences of a friend. Jan 13 in the coldest winter for 50 years, my friend’s daughter was sanctioned for not looking for enough jobs the week her father died. She was overcome with grief, but the JCP wouldn’t listen to reason.
    To cut a long story short, she could eat or heat her home, nor could she send her 12-yr old to school as she had no money for bus fare or detergent to launder her clothes. Help was only given when a community support officer asked her why her daughter wasn’t in school when she was seen walking around shopping malls to keep warm. The police notified her daughter’s school and the school said: “this is happening all the time” and the attendance officer would have got to her home sooner didn’t he have a large number of homes to visit.
    12 weeks she was without money even though the sanction was for 8 weeks and the stress she was put under caused her to have a nervous breakdown, whereas before signing on she was a working single parent whose only “crime” was to be laid off her job.

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 16, 2014

      It is a dreadful situation for a single parent to find herself in. I do hope she is in a better place today. The really sad thing is her situation is not unique, with families up and down the country reporting similar experiences.

  3. Mark Catlin
    October 16, 2014

    Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog and commented:
    This is well worth a read, I have had my own experience of those who work in the job centre being inefficient and lackadaisical then imposing sanction for something spurious I haven’t written them down yet this has definitely encouraged me to do so. Watch this space…..

  4. Ray P
    October 17, 2014

    My daughter’s partner was sanctioned earlier this year.

    As a jobseeker aged under 25 he is registered with an independent, contracted service provider rather than the DWP directly.

    His “crime”; failing to attend an appointment with his service provider.

    Sounds fair?

    Right until he pointed out that the reason that he missed the appointment was because he was being interviewed for a job. An interview that his service provider had arranged for him and had been on his job search calendar for more than a fortnight.

    He appealed the decision but it took 8 weeks for the decision to be reviewed and a further fortnight for the back-payments to arrive.

    10 weeks without money for doing what he was told to do.

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 17, 2014

      Thanks for sharing this Ray. I would like to say I am surprised, but sadly I am not. I have heard this same sort of scenario said more than a dozen times since I started on Twitter. It makes me so angry.
      Contained within the story is a service supporting people going through a sanction. Please do use them if anything like this happens again – https://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/

  5. A6er
    October 17, 2014

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  6. Angela
    October 17, 2014

    My son has a slight learning disability and he was sanctioned from April to September continuously until I started going to the job centre with him and questioned everything they said and did, we wrote letters of complaint, {which were conveniently lost}he was seen by a different person most times who told him what he was told to do last time was not correct so they would sanction him and tell him to do something totally different, and this happened week after week.He is 5’10 and his weight dropped to 6 stone, he became homeless and ill.They did not like me going in with him and said I could wait in the waiting room…..wrong thing to say to me, I got my son to refuse out loud to see a member of staff that victimized him and from then on things have changed.At the moment they can’t do enough to help him and his 5 month sanction has come to an end.

    A caring Mother…October 18th 2014

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 18, 2014

      I said this before in reply to another comment but I have heard it said many times before by people on Twitter and experienced it myself from one particular adviser. I am so sorry your son has had to go through his ordeal, it is dreadful and I am glad he had someone to stand up for him. There have been many reports written in the past year that says staff use bullying tactics and your post is a perfect example of what they are like. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Slutocrat
    October 18, 2014

    This is one of the most shocking articles I’ve read on the DWP. I’m sorry you had to go through all that. Someone just commented on my blog that they’ve been threatened with sanctions if they refuse to stop volunteering and instead attend email/Word courses (they have a degree in IT).

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 18, 2014

      Thank you for your comment.

      In regards to your commenter please do recommend they contact https://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/. They will be able to get expert advice that might prevent them being sanctioned and hopefully continue their volunteering.

      • Slutocrat
        October 18, 2014

        I just did, thanks to your article! 🙂

      • Slutocrat
        October 20, 2014

        I did, thanks to your article 🙂

  8. Slutocrat
    October 18, 2014

    Reblogged this on Slutocracy.

  9. Jacqueline Sheppard
    October 18, 2014

    Two things, i am on eesa because i have ME/CFS. After I was changed from IB i was given an advisor and she is brilliant and very understanding.

    On the down side I rang the office, in Cosham, to check on an appointment I thought I had that morning. The person on the end of the phone asked me 4 security questions, dob, ni number, current address, and phone number, (i had just moved). She refused to give me the information because i had failed to answer 3 of the questions correctly. When i queried it she threatened to report me for shouting at her. Through gritted teeth i said that i wasn’t asking for anything personal, just the date of an appointment! She refused to give me the answer and again accused me of shouting so i put the phone down on her. I had to go to our local job centre to get the info i needed, the date and time of the appointment.
    With 40 plus years in admin, most of it dealing with the public or answering queries, i do not shout down the phone, no matter how irritating the caller, i just go icy polite and very formal and polite! Obviously the ‘advisor’ was trying to get me to lose my temper, unfortunately for her I didn’t.
    Later that day i had a phone call from DWP giving me the information I’d asked for in the first place, wrong info as it turned out.

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 18, 2014

      Many of us have experienced difficult calls with DWP call centre staff. Never nice when it happens to you… and so typical that the information provided was wrong. Many on twitter have said the same. Thanks for commenting Jacqueline 🙂

  10. teresa
    October 18, 2014

    They asked my daughter to chap a door and borrow her bus fare to get to a destination 6 miles away to see an advisor for the second time that week. Incidentally when she was looking for a job on-line she noticed that the agency where her advisor worked was employing , starting rate or £26000. What a waste of money that is, wouldn’t have to rob the poor if they where saving that per person, per town, per country……

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 18, 2014

      Asking your daughter to knock on doors begging for money is simply dreadful. This is 2014, not Victorian times.

  11. willnorthcote
    October 18, 2014

    So normal now to chastise the poor or vulnerable. I have had many sanctions over 4 years. Always October through to December. It gets worse when doing the Poppy Appeal. They think they are standing there earning money in those tins for yourself. Far from it. My area collectively brought in £36,000 and if it was all for me, why would I sign on?

    The DWP has got its priorities wrong. They do not tell you what jobs are there. They used to but now they just collect your name and send you on your way. I signed up to Universal Jobmatch and got sanctioned for not leaving any messages. So I left messages denoting that I was on the site. They were going to sanction me for that as I put down “Look I am on here. Happy now?”. Then I was told I was half hour late but my booklet had 2:45 and not 2:15 as they stated. They got that wrong so no joy there for them.

    So lets see if I get sanctioned this year as well. Would not be Christmas with me having money in my bank and not asking for a food handout again.

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 18, 2014

      I live quite a distance away from family and Xmas is my time to catch up. To be sanctioned then was the worst thing that could have happened to me, so it is terrible to read it happening to someone else, especially when you volunteer to help others.

      You know, you can deny JCP access to your UJM account. It isn’t compulsory and they cannot sanction or punish in anyway if you change your mind. Speak to the people at https://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/ or go to Citizen’s Advice if you want help with that.

      I hope Xmas is better for you this year 🙂

  12. Jim
    October 18, 2014

    Having worked for the Jobcentre and being a Christian i feel i need to respond to this.
    Believe me when i say that no Jobcentre member of staff is under pressure to apply sanctions on customers or lose their job. However, as in any job their is a pressure to apply rules and regulations. For example When a customer fails to attend an appointment either to sign or with a work coach the first thing you look at is why they failed to attend and if comes within one of the situations that can be treated straightforward then a treat is applied otherwise a referral to a decision maker has to be made for them to look at a decision on good cause for failing to atttend. Harsh maybe! especially for the first time but let me say i have several customers on my caseload who persistantly fail to attend. As for actively seeking work, the regulations clearly state a customer
    must do everything they reasonably can every week to look for work and must provide evidence to the jobcentre of what activities they have been doing each week and the jobs applied for. The emphasis is on what is reasonably expected of each individual. It is not the same for all. eg. customer with a basic skills need or no computer knowledge and therefore needs more support. My own experience is that many customers needing that support are not always prepared to accept that support and then lose benefit through sanctions that way. To be fair to the tax payer if someone needs that extra support
    they should accept it or not have the benefit. I do appreciate that their will be some members of staff that perhaps enjoy a sense of power just as i am sure their is in other jobs such as traffic wardens and how many people like traffic wardens! I believe those people should not be in those jobs if that is the case. The vast majority of staff within jobcentreplus are very much customer focused and do not enjoy seeing people so desporate. I have just had my mid year review with my line manager and in 6 months i have only had to refer 2 customers to a decision maker for a decision on actively seeking work and their was no pressure at all for me to make more referrals unless it was the right thing to do. My results speak for themselves and i take pride in dealing with customers how i would wish to be dealt with myself. On occasions Jobcentre staff are subject to some real abuse and i have also experienced this myself even after beibg more than helpful and going that extra mile.
    All i ask is don’t generalise about Jobcentre staff and bear in mind their are rules and regulations which if not met will result in sanctions. If everybody did what they were asked to do their wouldn’t be any sanctions or at least accept the help and support that is offered.
    Sorry for the length but i felt i needed to speak on behalf of Jobcentre staff.

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 18, 2014

      Your empathy is overwhelming…

      I was suspended again this year for a combination of things. 1. I did not apply for a job my adviser told me to apply for and 2. I did not attend an interview. I had good reasons why I didn’t do them and any reasonable adviser would have accepted what I said, but mine did not, and other staff in the office took no responsibility for the incorrect advice they gave.

      1. I didn’t apply because I discovered there would be no way to get home. I use public transport and buses stopped at 7pm while the job finished at 10pm. I would have had to wait until the following morning to get home. This is not reasonable.

      2. I was asked to attend an interview in London. It required me to pay peak fare which is more than 2 weeks benefit. The employer would not pay for a ticket in advance so I asked at the jobcentre. Reception told me my adviser was away and I would have to wait until she returned. I queried this but they insisted nobody else could help. My adviser would not return before the interview so I had to cancel it. Even when CAB rang them they said the same thing.

      When I met with the adviser at next signing she said what I had been told was rubbish, anybody in the office could help with travel. She doubted I was telling the truth and went off to investigate. The reception staff said they misunderstood what I meant. They didn’t, but I learnt early on there is no point in arguing.

      I then explained about the job and not being able to return home afterwards. She said I still should have applied and later handed me a photocopied letter saying there was a doubt against my claim. For just over a week I went without benefit. When it was reinstated I was not informed and so I waited extra days because I didn’t know money had been put into my account.

      I am but one person and have experienced 3 separate situations where I was either sanctioned or suspended. There have been over a million sanctions since 2012, an enormous rise on what it was before. IDS/DWP policy is only partly responsible for the damage, the way his policies are administered by jobcentre staff are what makes it truly terrible.

      When I walk near a jobcentre now I feel shaky. I suffer anxiety and avoid the place as much as I can. I am a grown man and it shames me that I have to admit that. You need to wake up to what your ‘service’ is doing. You try to place the responsibility squarely on the claimant, or customer as you refer to them, but I say that is not so. Jobcentre staff have a lot to answer for as what I have experienced is certainly not ‘reasonable’.

      • anon
        October 19, 2014

        > When I walk near a jobcentre now I feel shaky. I suffer anxiety and avoid
        > the place as much as I can.

        So do I, and this is AVOIDANCE, one of the diagnostic criterea for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is classified as a psychiatric INJURY (not a mental illness) due to one’s life having been threatened (as sanctions surely do with the constant stream of deaths).

        This goes alongside the ‘brown envelope syndrome’ where claimants, wait in dread for the post every day as if it were the Angel of Death passing over. (Also C-PTSD).

        There just HAS TO BE a class action against the DWP eventually for this level of oppression and potentially lifelong harm inflicted on son many innocent UK citizens.

    • GingerAndPears
      October 18, 2014

      Not sure what your religion has to do with anything.

      Also, do you think Human Rights are conditional? Who led you to believe that? What would Jesus say to you if when he was busy feeding the 5000 you informed him “This man refused the help I offered him, so do not feed him”? If people don’t want the support YOU offer, you are happy to have their human rights to social security removed?

      What help would you offer a microbiologist who has been told he is over-qualified by your colleagues? Do you even understand what skills and abilities microbiologists have? What makes you think you have the necessary skills to help them? What training have you had? How long did it take? Could you help a marine biologist? How? What knowledge would you need in order to offer professional help to her? Again, where did YOU get that knowledge? Without it, you are as helpful as a soggy hankie. Have you sought training to help such people?If not, why not? Isn’t it your responsibility to help people professioanlly and knowledgeably? What help would you offer an unemployed IT graduate? What help would you offer an unemployed bricklayer? Would you insist 50 year old cook submit themselves to training courses for cleaning jobs? Why? Wouldn’t that help the training company rather then the unemployed cook, who, by definition must already know how to clean. Do JCP staff find cleaning a task beyond their abilities? Are you sure you know who you are helping? Are you sure it is the unemployed you are helping, or is it yourself and the profiteers?

      Finally, claimants ARE tax payers. Social Security is not a gift. It is a communal insurance scheme we all pay into and receive benefit from when there is no work available. Haven’t you noticed.. there are approx 5 million people looking for decent paying work in an economy where there are just 500000 jobs available? As a former DWP employee surely YOU of all people would know that? If not, why not? What logic do you use to argue that if only a young man learned to swing a hammer, he’d find a job in such a market? What economic theory are you using if you believe responsibility for the global economy lies with the jobless and it is THEY who must “try”?

      If you have no knowledge of how the economy works and what the current economy is, how on earth could you possibly help anyone? Perhaps you require a little help with basic numeracy and economics to grasp that too?

      • Keith Hughes
        October 19, 2014

        I really liked what you said and it’s nice to hear someone else stating what I see as obvious but so many ordinary people cannot see. This government blame the weakest in our society and so many are falling for it. I was unemployed in the 90’s and that what nowhere as bad as what I hear is going on today for the unemployed and to be quite frank, if I won the big one on the euro millions I would be looking to put a case against this government for deaths they have caused and which I consider as murder. Currently I am a civil servant in PHE and I only recently just received a 1% pay rise after 4 years. They then increase my pension payments by 0.6%. Two years ago the government gave themselves 33% because they changed their benefits, Last year they gave themselves 11%. Recently they gave themselves another pay rise and told the nurses they can have one because it would cost too much. Time after time I hear this sort of thing happening and yet there are many ordinary people stating the government line. Sometimes I wonder about the people of this country and often I feel that these idiots deserve this government and the shit that they throw at them. The problem is that the rest of us are targeted.

      • anon
        October 19, 2014

        > Would you insist 50 year old cook submit themselves to training courses for cleaning jobs?

        As a 55 y/o graduate and former manager, I was referred for exactly this – to be a trainee cleaner. I also have a terminal illness and am unable to stand unsupported, as the Jobcentre knew.

      • Lorraine
        October 19, 2014

        Excellent post.

  13. Jacqueline
    October 18, 2014

    I suppose I am lucky as I do have employment (well for now, as we never know what befalls us in the future) and I do have a roof over my head and food in my cupboard, but these sanctions absolutely sicken me. I actually felt panic and desperation in my heart reading this. I have known how many are absolutely struggling under this government. I am not meaning to sound tasteless when I say this but I’ve said it before, this government has turned this country into a version of The Hunger Games. How the hell can DWP expect people to survive with no money for 4 weeks at the very minimum, it’s the worst form of cruelty. Thank god for food banks and the good people who collect them for the most vulnerable but in a country like ours with it’s wealth it should not be happening. I actually despair at what this country has become and because of the unfair portrayal of people who are on benefits (Channel 4’s programme being one) who falsely claim this represents all who are on benefits, this is clearly not the case. We need to all step up to this and fight this every step on every level.

  14. Sharon Stewart
    October 19, 2014

    My god how can you look at yourself in the mirror? You people at the job centre need to remember that you are not dealing with kids the pittens we get doesn’t come out of your pocket. It doesn’t matter what happens you are still going to have to pay tax. Also the British people who are born and bred in this land have had every relation to them paying taxes for hundreds of years. Also the very very very small amount of tax you pay for benefits is nothing compared to what you are paying for the fool’s who run the country to give it to others to try make them selves look good to other world leaders. The truth is they have fucked up in a bigway.The people that are listening to them cannot see what they are doing. The government have never been able to beat the working man so they have divided and conquered and the tax paying working man has fell for it. Moan at mp’s and there greed and the fact that they have got us involved in another very expensive war that’s got sod all to do with us

  15. crazyladyblues
    October 19, 2014

    The system is not fit for purpose. Staff are, frankly, incompetent and just don’t care. Only last week when I signed on, I was given an appointment to see the DEA (something I had requested myself, of course). The advisor also told me she couldn’t give me a signing time because of this and I would have to ask the DEA for my next signing time. Lo and behold! Of course the advisor was incorrect: apparently this is a common mistake. I was also informed I only had to update my job search on either UJ or the little booklet, not both as I was previously told. Also I was informed I had to apply for any jobs suggested to me by an advisor. I’ve been kept waiting til after my signing on time even though I’ve arrived at least 10 minutes beforehand (as I’m told to) watched at least 3 advisors sitting around gossiping, then hearing another advisor tell another claimant “oh we’re really busy today”! How are claimants supposed to comply with the system if the staff don’t know what they’re doing?

  16. Sharon
    October 19, 2014

    I doubt any of this is news, sadly, to people working in the mental health field. A related issue, investigated by the Mental Welfare Commission in Scotland, is reported here:
    http://www.mwcscot.org.uk/media/180939/who_benefits_final.pdf

  17. Gemma Spence
    October 20, 2014

    I have been on a sanction since 29-01-14 and its still in effect now( i have no idea why, i cant get a straight answer from anyone at JC), I phoned welfare and spoke to CAB i got an appointment on thurs with The Advice shop. I have £0.36 in my bank i should have been paid 14-10-14 ( had to go and reaply for hardship which i did on the day i should have been paid. I called today and got told my hardship will be paid to me after my next sing on day (23-10-14) so i have no money for electricity or gas. I cant feed myself or my animals, welfare was no help as they cant help if im on sanction. My own government kicks me to the ground lets me go cold and hungry and wont give a hand to help me back on my feet and has the audacity to blame me for it, my hair is falling out by the handful due to the stress im losing weight that i cant afford to lose, im really not sure how much longer i can continue crying myself to sleep over this, its really dishearteing that im in this situation( i cant even go back to food bank because i have a gas cooker, so what good would it do me.

    • imajsaclaimant
      October 20, 2014

      Hi Gemma, this sounds desperate.

      I am a long way from being an expert but your sanction, unless you have been sanctioned for the maximum 156 weeks, seems to have been going on for far too long so I would be camping outside CAB to get their help. I would also contact the foodbank tomorrow as they are used to people having no gas and are still able to help, so please contact them. I would also suggesting going to see your doctor and explaining your situation. 10 months on a sanction is too much, so if CAB don’t give you the help then contact the website mentioned in the article https://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/

      I hope you get things sorted out quickly.

      • Gemma Spence
        October 21, 2014

        Hi back, My situation is pretty dire, i have had sanction on top of sanction since Jan, I’ve not been notified of any of my sanctions ( i find out about it when i have no payment and have to phone them). I have not failed in any of my job search’s (21 jobs per week), i have done everything they tell me to do including going to A4e (action 4 employment). Yet im still getting slowly starved to death. I spoke to CAB about it and they said the same thing as welfare said “they cant do nothing to help if ive been sanctioned” there words not mine, so i got sent to a food bank. My last option is the Advice Shop to try and fight the sanctions or go to doctor and get treated for depression,( i really dont want that, doctors answer will be anti-depressants) As it stands now my christmas list is only one thing…… a straight razor. Thank you for reading my comment and the web link, i looked it over and have some questions to take to job centre when i sign on this Thurs, and i might have money next week that i should have had last week, fingers crossed.

    • Jacqueline
      October 21, 2014

      Gemma Spence, that is absolutely terrible and inhumane what you and thousands are going through, my heart goes out to you. Many years ago I lost half of my hours at work and lost a huge chunk of my salary yet I was told I wasn’t entitled to help with my rent. After my rent alone I was left with £30 for a month to live on. I still had to buy gas/electricity and food. Every single day at lunchtime I was at the Jobcentre trying to find a second job that would fit in with the job I had and I could not for the life of me get one. I then stupidly took out a pay day loan but come payday it took all my money out the bank before I could pay the rent, so i had to go to another payday company etc and because of the vicious circle of robbing Peter to pay Paul I was now in debt to 4 separate companies. I would walk home from work in the winter having had no lunch at work and no bus fares and go home to a freezing cold house and would sit and cry my eyes out all night. I absolutely have empathy for you and the many many others all over this country that are struggling and in despair. I really hope everyone rises up and against this treatment of people. I wish you all the best and hope that light at the tunnel is not to far away for you and others too x

      • Gemma Spence
        October 21, 2014

        Thank you Jacqueline for showing some empathy to a complete stranger x , your story was pretty bad to and im glad you got your life back together. my fight may not be over yet but im still standing (hungry but standing lol)

      • Jacqueline
        October 21, 2014

        Yeah, you keep standing Gemma and as hard as it is remain optimistic. Don’t let this vile government take your spirit from you too, hard I know but don’t let them. I hope things work out well for you. Yes there are lots of people blind to what is going on in this country, or just don’t want to see what is going on, but know there are many, many thousands more fighting for people like you and hoping to have this cruel system abolished. We will not just turn a blind eye to what is going on because we understand that circumstances can change for anyone. One day you are happy and have a job, the next either due to an accident, illness or redundancy you are needing a helping hand to get back on your feet. This government kicks the vulnerable down and keeps them there, they are vile and cruel. Best of luck and take care xx

      • Gemma Spence
        October 21, 2014

        Thank you so very very much for that comment xx you are my ray of sunshine on my darkest of days xxxx

  18. Dave Harris
    October 20, 2014

    This awful state of affair to which we find ourselves must end soon. Three years ago a young man from the Outer Hebrides was discharged from care aged 15 just three months before his 16th he had nowhere to live no money and no clothes other than what he stood up in . Some how he managed to survive until he became 16 then he tried to sign on, he was informed that because he had no permanent abode he could not claim JSA. Apparently this is an unscruptious get out clause whereby the JSA to which he was entitled need not be paid. Sadly this young man was found murdered in a derelict building on a November day in 2011 he was to appear in court the day he went missing and was hoping by all accounts to get a custodial sentence so that he would be warm and fed during the winter months. The moral behind this? A caring state would never allow this to happen, and I hope those from the job centre who refused to help this young man are sleeping easy in their nice comfortable beds with their fridges and freezers full and that nice warm house to which they return after their really hard and stressful day. I am in my sixties and this great nation we call Britain is descending into a totalitarian state where caring for those down on their luck is seen criminal.

  19. oftenranty
    October 21, 2014

    Sorry Jim, you’re talking absolute rubbish when you claim JCP staff are not under pressure to sanction. I worked for JCP until this summer until i managed to escape into a job which my conscience is more comfortable with.

    As a union rep I was approached almost daily by staff who were being threatened with performance management action because they hadn’t done “enough” sanctions. Managers would display charts showing who had done the most and these people were celebrated. There may be no official target (I’m still trying to work out how an expectation is different to a target) but it’s clear to every member of front line staff that if you’re not up to scratch you will be put under pressure.

    Claimants are regularly misinformed and misled through a combination of incompetancy (usually on the part of managers), lack of communication and deliberately being set up to fail. Many JCP staff are unhappy with this sanction regime but too beaten down and afraid for their jobs to resist it. Others of course get a perverse thrill out of the power trip. Those who do resist it are often performance managed out.

    The culture being perpetuated in JCP currently encourages staff to see claimants as “other” and removes humanity.

  20. Pingback: The Secret #Sanctions – Awakened State

  21. Adam
    October 22, 2014

    I was basically told by the JCP that I should become self employed. It was either that or drag my kids with me to the job centre each day, at wired times. Now I’m what I like to call self unemployed, well below the minimum wage, and essentially a house husband.
    Every time I hear Osborne bang on about the ‘improving’ unemployment figures I think of all those on sanctions, and those forced off benefits, or those like me pretending to be making a living. This government is so much worse than thatchers ever was, it is true lay depraved and sick.

    • charliemole
      October 22, 2014

      Hi Adam, I’m a journalist working on a documentary looking at self-employment. Your story sounds very interesting. Would it be possible to speak with you further about this? My email address is charlie.e.mole@gmail.com and my number is 07833923868. My Twitter handle is @charlie_mole. The conversation would be in confidence. Many thanks, Charlie Mole.

      • Davey H
        October 23, 2014

        Up here in the Western Isles we have formed a review group to try and get to the bottom of all these sanctions, unfortunately even though the people who find themselves in this terrible dilemma want to talk they have been warned off by certain officials from the JCP. Now those of us who are involved with the review group who are all proffessional people I am an Independant Advocate we have a Social Worker and another proffessional writer, we have been fobbed off with section 42 the freedom of information act, which allows the DWP to with hold all information on sanctions. I have written to the Information Commissioner to ask for a review and to get the following questions answered.
        1) how many people are on sanction within the western Isles
        2) a breakdown of how long these individuals have been on sanction
        3) why have sanctions been applied
        4) are these people informed of their right to appeal
        5) how many are in receipt of hardship payments
        6) what percentage of people win their appeal against sanctions.

        I am sure you will all have been told about why you have been sanctioned (sic), the silliest one I have heard which I believe is true ( I went with the claiment to an interview at the JCP)
        “you did not sign on, on the due date” unbelievable really as we had a storm that day with no public transport and whats more the JCP was closed!! When I mentioned this fact to the person holding the interview their answer well you should have phoned in the day before? with attitudes like this no wonder this country is in a state.

  22. Andy
    October 22, 2014

    Gemma, I wish you the best and I hope things turn around for you.

    I worked at JCP from 2009 to 2011. We were given targets for “decision making referrals”, cases which would either result in a sanction or not. The target was to get 1% of the register off JSA per month. My office had an unusually large register at the time, so we had to submit at least 35 referrals, but were encouraged to submit more because not all of them would be “successful”.

    These targets were discussed regularly and were common knowledge among staff.

    One of the tactics was to print job adverts with an amended section at the bottom of the page instructing applicants to return their forms to JCP advisors rather than directly to companies. We’d print off the advert, put it on the photocopier with this strip of paper covering the company’s address, and give the photocopy to the job seeker. If an application wasn’t returned to us, we submitted a referral stating that person had not applied for the job. The penalty was a six-month sanction. The goal was, quite simply, to reduce our register. Not to help or punish anyone, just get the numbers down.

    Our jobs were not threatened, but we were encouraged to do this and our performance was monitored.

    The area covered by this office was almost entirely one of poverty, and a lot of JSA claimants had spent decades, if not their whole lives, on welfare. There were cases of genuinely capable but lazy people not applying for jobs because they didn’t want to work. But the majority of these referrals concerned vulnerable people with issues that would have prevented them from securing employment anyway: people with serious drug and alcohol dependencies, for example, who needed a social worker before they needed an employment advisor.

    Utterly disgusted with this practice, I did my best to botch as many referrals as I could, including one from a colleague who tried to refer a refugee with no English (he’d been granted asylum only weeks before) and could not have gotten through an interview, let alone an application form.

    I think the issue is institutional. Government departments are charged with the care of the land and populace, but in practice the day-to-day decision making is always based on the department’s survival, budget and targets.

    • ld
      October 22, 2014

      Andy that is awful, I also work in a job centre and although I have sometimes felt under pressure to perform thankfully I have never been asked to do what you are describing. I have said before that a lot of the bad practices I read about come from management not the majority of staff. I only hope you involved the union in this.

    • charliemole
      October 23, 2014

      Hi Andy, I’m a journalist working on a documentary. Your story sounds very interesting. Would it be possible to speak with you further about this? My email address is charlie.e.mole@gmail.com and my number is 07833923868. My Twitter handle is @charlie_mole. The conversation would be in confidence. Many thanks, Charlie Mole.

  23. Daniel Gardecki
    October 24, 2014

    I absolutely love this article! Before I was unemployed, I worked 8 years at the Co-op, and was sacked in November 2010. I didn’t even know I could claim any money. When I find out I started claiming sometime in the middle/end of 2011 until around August 2013. I stopped claiming and have basically given up searching because of the Jobcentre.

    Sanctions, after sanctions, after sanctions!!!

    They gradually increased the amount of jobs I had to apply for to 40-50 jobs a fortnight. What exactly did they expect me to do when 90% of jobs are online and I didn’t have a computer. Their answers were, “But you can use the library computers”. My reply was, “But you only get given 6 hours a week which isn’t enough time to apply for that many jobs”. Some jobs can take over an hour to apply for!

    Lots of jobs on the rubbish Jobcentre system are repeated multiple times, everyday so it looks like there are loads of jobs. Most of these repeated jobs are through agencies which take up 90% of the jobs. Some ‘jobs’ on the system don’t even exist! There was one of these non-existent jobs that I know was on the system for the 2 years I claimed, and was repeated every single day, but that job didn’t exist because I applied for it more than once and was told there aren’t any jobs there!

    I noticed there was rarely any ‘new’ jobs. They were usually the same agencies, nurses, teachers, call centres, security and manager jobs over and over again. Not exactly much I can apply for with my experience in a supermarket is there?

    How do they expect me to find a job without money? It doesn’t encourage people to find a job by constantly sanctioning them for stupid reasons, in fact it does the opposite!
    Do they really think I want to be sat at home all day with nothing to do, no money to go out, and no money to watch my beloved Bradford City.

    All these stories about the Jobcentre/Government unemployment/claimant figures going down are not because they are back into work (usually they’re only temporary jobs anyway), its because they’ve given up trying and/or no longer claim because of the hassle it causes them…me included!

  24. Waraila
    October 25, 2014

    I have to say, this is the first time I’ve come to this blog and I sympathise with all the hardships the DWP are putting other contributors into. I sympathise because I used to be in those shoes.

    The DWP are not there to help you, in the last 6 years they have gone from trying to encourage you into work and giving you a chance, to sanctioning you for the stupidest of things that they feel they can get away with.

    I was made unemployed in 2008, and because that was the start of the recession the jobs market dried up. Once 6 months passes, you get flagged as ‘lazy’ by employers who seem to think that you’re not trying to find work.. and so end up on long-term unemployed. But back in 2008 it wasn’t too bad, you were not sanctioned at the drop of a hat… it’s only been recently that sanctions have been getting out of control.

    I’ve been sanctioned for missing appointments that were never arranged with me. (and despite having signed copies of appointment letters which I insisted on, I never got them overturned). i have been sanctioned for not turning up, when I did.. and could prove it as I had signed the forms that week and had my signed copy. I’ve been sanctioned for attending a job interview. I’ve been sanctioned for being on a training course that the job centre put me on.

    The most insulting one was being sanctioned for finding a job. Yes, I got sanctioned in the last month of claiming JSA whilst my security checks were done by my new employer. The reason? I wasn’t looking hard enough for work, despite the fact I had guaranteed work once the paperwork was done. (And to add even more insult to injury, they forced me on a 2 week course which was utterly pointless, to build a CV. The tutors didn’t even understand why I was on the course. There was nothing wrong with my CV, interview skills, presentation skills, IT skills or even confidence. They agreed it was pointless for both me and a couple of others there. I will admit though it was the one course I found decent as there were people who needed it and it was run by the adult college. )

    I’m so glad to be out of the hands of the DWP, but I’m honestly terrified of losing the job I have (even though it’s highly unlikely I will… it’s a fear you can’t shake). I just hope all of you manage to get lucky as well.

  25. Pingback: On being young and unemployed in the neglected North | ELIZABETH ARCHER online portfolio

  26. Lucille rynhart
    November 5, 2014

    Heartbreaking stories ..has to be stopped

  27. juannetyler
    November 5, 2014

    Here’s a story regarding a friend of mine who was made redundant after teaching for 27 years. He went onto JSA and then was told when he spent time applying and travelling to a teaching job interview 200 miles away, that he hadnt been online to look for work during that same time period, and his benefits were suspended. he was treated very badly , and talked down to. The process of attempting to make a urther JSA claim was so demoralising, that he just gave up claiming JSA in humiliation and disgust, and has been living off credit cards, even though he has paid decades in NI contributions…..It is a truly appalling and degrading system

    • imajsaclaimant
      November 5, 2014

      Sorry to hear about your friend. If this sanction was recent then please do appeal as it sounds like he had grounds. You may have noticed from other comments I recommend going to http://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/ as they have both guides you can use yourself, plus one-to-one advice if needed.

      If it is too late I hope his situation has improved and he’s managed to find another job.

  28. Sandy
    November 6, 2014

    I stumbled across this site quite by accident, and am horrified about what the Job Centres are doing to people with these insane sanctions. How the hell is depriving someone of all income supposed to help them find work? That kind of thinking is straight out of George Orwell’s 1984. Only a total idiot, or depraved sociopath could possibly think that.
    Are these sanctions even legal?????
    After all, even murderers in prison are entitled to 3 square meals a day and heating in winter. I always thought in this country that an abiding principal of justice was that the punishment must fit the crime.
    Depriving someone from their sole source of sustenance for the ‘crime’ of attending an interview, or what have you, is the real crime being committed here.
    And if so many job centre staff are appalled by this too, then why isn’t their union doing something about it?
    This disgusting regime can’t be doing the mental health of JC staff much good so, I ask again, what is their union doing about it?

    I don’t understand why this vile practice isn’t more widely publicised. Anyone, at any time, for any number of reasons, can become unemployed; and they too might have to suffer sanctioning.
    I’m 100% certain that if this became common knowledge there would be such an outcry it would have to be stopped.
    It may not be much, but I’m going to tell everyone I know about this sanctioning and what it’s doing to people. This is 2014 we live in for god’s sake, not bloody 1814!

    • imajsaclaimant
      November 6, 2014

      Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for your comment. Iain Duncan Smith thinks that sanctions are an incentive to find work and the right-wing press, which makes up most of the UK newspapers, agrees. That is why you don’t hear that 60,000+ people each month are sanctioned and that is why you don’t hear of the many horror stories that have been happening to so many since the coalition took charge.

      The more people who hear about it the better, as what sanctions do is as far removed from incentive as it is possible to get. If you want to find out more look at the Trussell trust research, or look for research from Citizen’s advice and other organisations. It isn’t hard to find, and many would say the 60,000 number each month is quite conservative estimate.

  29. Gemma Spence
    November 11, 2014

    Ive left a comment here before so here is my update…… I had to cancel an appointment with A4e on the 20th oct so i could call my job centre and find out about my benifit not being paid again, I recieved a letter on the 21st oct saying i have once again been sanctioned, when i went in to sign on on 06 nov i reapplyed for hardship as i was due to be paid today (11 nov) my hardship has been granted but now i have 14 days to wait because ive been disallowed…. dont that just SUCK!!! so now i have to wait 14 days before i can get money for anything like gas electricity or even food…i have been on the phone getting refered to foodbank and welfare (Who according to them they cant help me get money because of the disallowed benifit) so what the hell am i going to do now…. i cant keep doing this anymore its starting to fracture me my health is really starting to suffer, im getting headaches due to the stress, really bad period pain (ive had 3 periods in about 2 months i cant sleep my appetite is non existant. So i have reached the end of my rope. I really need help and there is none avalable to me.

    • imajsaclaimant
      November 11, 2014

      Sounds awful Gemma, so sorry to read this… I’m sorry I cannot offer more but please speak to the http://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/ They can try to help you but only if you get in touch… they also have a facebook page if that makes it easier https://www.facebook.com/JobSeekerSA

    • Jacqueline Fortune
      November 11, 2014

      Gemma, that sounds absolutely awful and no wonder you are despairing. This treatment is barbaric and inhumane. Only the other day I was on a site where people were in the same situation as yourself and a former employer of Jobcentre Plus came on the site and blew the whistle on how they sanction people who don’t attend appointments, which the person never knew about in the first place, hence the person left their job. I sent an email to DWP (many of our young clients are in the same situation, hungry and no heating etc) telling them of my absolute disgust at this system – no doubt I won’t get a reply!!! Aw, I wish I was even a wee bit closer to where you live, I don’t have much but I would give you some food 😦 Please don’t give up, please! I hope you managed to get some help very shortly. Please let us know how you are xx

    • sarah hughes
      January 4, 2015

      local councils are now responsible for issuing crisis loans so look at council web site may have to do it on line also always good if you feel ok to ask your GP for a supporting letter also salvation army are realy good if you have a local one not saying its right i hate the way people are being punished and horrible to be left with no money

    • sarah hughes
      January 4, 2015

      Germma please contact your local council to apply for a crisis loan as they are now responsible to assist anyone in crisis needing food gas and electic again i am not on the side of sanctioning think it is totaly unnessarry as people are already suffering hardship good luck and as a last resort adult soical services you can ask for a emergency appointment to see a duty soical worker or if you have children approach childrens soical services and if you have been in care they have a duty to assit up until the age of 21

  30. Lily
    January 4, 2015

    Isn’t it a pity that David Clapsons sister wasn’t more helpful to him while he was alive instead of making a song and dance now and passing the blame on to others. If her brother was in such need how come she and others in the family didn’t step in. That’s what families are for!!

    • imajsaclaimant
      January 4, 2015

      She has said before that she did not know the extent of his problem. I didn’t tell my family (we are not close) when I was sanctioned because of the shame I felt.

    • sarah hughes
      January 4, 2015

      You often find people are to embarrassed ill to tell close freinds and family and feel they dont want to be a burden on others and make excuses not to have contact I am sure that if his family were made aware of his situation before his untimley death in a heart beat they would have helped him on stopping hid benefits a risk asessment should have been carried out to assess how he would manage his illness checking if he has food electric and how he would manage is health needs without basic food and electricty clearly is an issue if DWP are working with adults whom are at risk of death without food and electricity when considering sanctioning a claim and they could have at the very least given him a food voucher and sign posted him to adult soical services lets also remember not everyone has a saftey network to rely on so it is the job of DWP workers as with power comes responsbillity so when you are responsible for sanctioning a persons claim you also need to do so in a humane way not treat people as if they are living in the third world at risk of death in a western world,

      • Nigel Tolley
        February 15, 2015

        Exactly – DWP & the government are meant to be that safety net!

        Desperate people will start doing desperate things. Then the ultra-rich will perhaps start to regret some of their actions in destroying those below them on the income and property ladders.

  31. colin
    January 15, 2015

    its all about fooling the minority as that will be the aim.the majority have already been fooled. oil gas and electricity make no mistake about it

  32. colin
    January 15, 2015

    its because its about those that have and not those with out take a look at the white south african body guards for what

  33. ryan
    February 9, 2015

    hi im currently having a problem with the jobcentre apparently they gave me an appointment for the 26th and the letter was sent out to me on the 3rd to say my claim had stopped they didnt even right it in my book to even tell me that i had an appointment and also i did not recieve this letter till the 7th they want proof how can i show them that lol

  34. Nigel Tolley
    February 15, 2015

    This whole situation is disgusting.
    I had no idea this was going on, & I frequently work in this arena!
    We need to push for a national minimum income to protect the weakest and poorest in society.
    The biggest advantage? We could sack the hordes of poor middle management from the job centers, & see how they like it.
    Universally paying everyone over 18 say £79 a week regardless, would be far fairer, & if it is only non-“non-doms” get it, then illegals and billion tax avoiders alike wouldn’t be able to claim it. Double win.

  35. Woody
    March 18, 2015

    The job center I attended had no interest in finding me a job, they gave me a brief tour of the info needed on the computer and told me I had to log-in every day, they failed to mention I had to leave evidence of my visits to the website?
    When I attended I was never offered the chance of a job, indeed whilst I was being interviewed I overheard somebody ask for a application pack for a job being offered locally, this was not offered to me and I had to ask for a pack.
    The staff are ignorant, patronising and can be very intimidating.
    I have worked all my life giving my all to my employers, but sadly now unemployed (obviously). I found my experience in this place one of utter humiliation,
    I hate these people and the system.

  36. Pingback: My experience of #workfare | I'm a JSA Claimant

  37. steven woolridge
    May 19, 2015

    From personal experience of jobcentres i can,t leave many good comments ,there is a tendency to penalize people rather than encourage i find it better if i turn the tables and be as inquisitive as possible to find out what i can.
    As being pressured and interrogated in a very unfriendly manner does not encourage people to be emboldened and hopeful of finding work,in essence many people end up being sanctioned and having to use other outlets like food banks and risk losing their homes.

  38. Pingback: The Secret #Sanctions | I’m a JSA Claimant | Britain Isn't Eating

  39. Pingback: Just About Managing? Tens of thousands of us are sinking. | Benefit tales

  40. Pingback: Benefit sanctions are more than just a financial penalty – to some households they are devastating. | I'm a JSA Claimant

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This entry was posted on October 14, 2014 by in Bullying, DWP, Foodbanks, Homelessness, Jobcentre Plus, Sanctions, Welfare and tagged , , , , , , .

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Working-Class Perspectives

Commentary on Working-Class Culture, Education, and Politics

Social Abjection

Professor Imogen Tyler's Blog Site

Spartacus Network

"Alone we whisper; together we shout."

Inforrm's Blog

The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

The poor side of life

EXPOSING CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.EXPOSING THE GOVERNMENTS WAR AGAINST THE POOR.FIGHTING FOR BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. SANCTIONS KILL.

Kate Belgrave

Talking with people dealing with public sector cuts.

Telling it as it is

Pulling together all Walfare Benefit changes to draw a picture of Britian 2013

Our Castle's Strength

A blog about housing, home, and the hearth.

Benefit tales

stories from the frontline of benefit changes in the UK.

Diary of an SAH Stroke Survivor

Stroke Recovery and Benefits

Methusalada

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

stewilko's Blog

A place for my thoughts

Music And Travel And Me

A JOURNEY OF MUSIC AND TRAVEL AND LIFE

Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

louiskasatkin

Critical commentary & analysis of contemporary world events.

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