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Warning over benefit sanctions that could see payments stopped

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Claimants have been warning over benefit sanctions that could see their payments stopped ahead of the Universal Credit cut.

The Government has pushed ahead with plans to remove the £20-a-week uplift meaning, from Wednesday, no assessments will include the extra money.

From October 13, a week later, no monthly payments will be received that include the £20 uplift.

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The cut will be staggered as families receive payments on different dates.

Claimants have been warned to avoid a further cut to their benefits and not falling foul of the Universal Credit sanctions.

A three-month ban on Universal Credit sanctions was introduced by the government in March last year, but penalties resumed in July 2020.

Claimants have been warned that Universal Credit payments may be reduced for a set period of time if they fail to meet one or more of their responsibilities and can’t give a good reason to explain why.

Sanctions are split into four categories; lowest level, low level, medium level, and high level.

Higher level

  • Failing to apply for a particular job when told to do so
  • Refusing a job offer
  • Leaving work or reducing your hours of work either voluntarily or due to ‘misconduct’

Medium level

Low level

  • Fail to attend or take part in a work-focused interview

  • Fail to attend or take part in a training course

  • Fail to take a specific action to get paid work

Claimants in what’s referred to as the “no work requirements regime with limited capability for work related activities” can’t be sanctioned.

If you are found breaking the highest level of sanctions then this will last for 91 days for the first high level sanction in any 12-month period and 182 days (approximately six months) for a second or subsequent sanctions.

A medium level will be sanctioned for 28 days for your first medium level sanction in any 364 day period and 91 days (approximately three months) for any subsequent medium level sanctions.

Low level sanctions last until you do whatever you were sanctioned for failing to do, plus 7 days for your first low level sanction in any 364 day period.

It is 14 days for your second offence or 28 days for your third or any subsequent failures.

Lowest level sanctions apply if you only have to meet the work-focused interview requirement, and you fail to attend or take part in a work-focused interview. They last until you take place in one.

However, you can contact the DWP and ask for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ if you think it’s made the wrong decision and have one month from when you were notified about the sanction to do so.

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