“I am not surprised people want to kill themselves. People are now being given sanctions for the most minor things. They make you feel worthless, I felt unworthy being a student and thought I should be working like other non-disabled students can manage.”
Julia a student with autism
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Six of many examples of the ludicrous reasons in which people have had what is often their only source of income taken from them for months – and even longer. Sanctions have led to hunger, homelessness and suicides.
The Jobcentre is sanctioning people to maintain targets set within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), not in the majority of cases because of any wrongdoing by the claimant. Benefit sanctions were once almost unheard of.
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One of the most inhumane actions taken by the coalition government is the introduction of punitive benefit sanctions.
Unfair Benefit sanctions have driven people into poverty, destitution, despair and suicide. Benefit sanctions are one of the main reasons people have to resort to food banks. Such treatment of vulnerable people – namely the unemployed claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and sick and disabled people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who are consigned to the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) – is not worthy of any civilised society, it is not worthy of the UK. The present government has come under the condemnation of the UN for the present vicious welfare reforms which have left sick and disabled people with a lower or no income. The introduction of ever more punitive sanctions adds further to the misery and suffering that has resulted from the coalitions welfare reforms.
Anyone claiming JSA or are assigned to the WRAG can be sanctioned from anything up to one month to three years!
“In the Northeast alone “At any one moment in time, 30,000 people are being sanctioned …”
* A Hartlepool woman who broke an appointment because she was “burying her grandfather and had been at his deathbed for week”.
* A Sunderland man who was told “an asthma attack is not a good reason for missing an appointment”.
* A Middlesbrough woman who forgot an interview because it was “the day her father died”.
* A man in Bishop Auckland constituency who was a collecting a sick daughter from school and was accused of inventing a “fictional child”.
Julie Elliott, the Labour MP for Sunderland, said: “For people to be treated in this inhumane way is wrong.””
Read accounts concerning the detrimental effects of benefit sanctions
Where did we go wrong? Why has starvation, suicide and poverty become the norm? More sanctions.. sanctions kill.
As you know every week we hold a demonstration outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. We believe that the cruel sanctioning and the cruel benefit reforms that are affecting thousands of people up and down the country everyday. Once you start hearing the real stories and the way that they are affecting people in your local community you cant help but feel their pain in some way. Sometimes we cry whilst we are being told of a persons death, sometimes we go home and cry. Today was one of those days. I woke up wanting to change things, but sadly realised that I cant change much apart from peoples minds once they read my blog. I opened my emails and read some stories that have been sent to me, They want their news to be shared but sadly not always their names. You see they feel victimised already and don’t want to be persecuted anymore. Here are a few of their stories. Please read and share.
As incredible as the following may seem one unfortunate person was sanctioned for three months for making a spelling mistake!!!!!!
Sanctioned for making a spelling mistake.
You couldn’t make it up… Well actually it’s become the norm to be sanctioned for making a spelling mistake. A gentleman who spoke to us on our Thursday demo told us that he was put on a three month sanction at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for making a spelling mistake. He wasn’t given a chance to correct it, or a chance to explain it. He was told very bluntly “we are sanctioning you for spelling this word incorrectly on a form. This will prevent you from getting work so therefore is a sanctionable offence”. This man received a three month sanction for this so called offence. No one bothered to ask him if he was dyslexic or had any other issues which may have prevented him from spelling the word correct. Neither is it a crime to spell a word incorrectly. Indeed we are all human and are prone to making mistakes.
Read the 11 most senseless benefit sanctions:
Worse hit by sanctions and rarely defended are people with mental health conditions many of whom have been unfairly and disproportionately sanctioned.
A Government That Permits The Psychological Torture Of Benefit Claimants Does Not Give A Fuck About Mental Health
This Government do not give a shit about people with mental health conditions, and neither did the last one. Whilst politicians of all parties offer soundbites and fake sympathy the treatment of people with a mental health condition by the benefits system now amounts to little more than psychological torture.
This is not hyperbole. Whilst the medical establishment has stood ildly by, and mental health charities have veered between mild disapproval and outright collaboration, the DWP has lanched an all out war on the most marginalised people in society.
Revealed: Inhumane Treatment Of UK’s Disabled & Poor By Department For Work And Pension
The following blog appears to show that, after blogger Jules Clarke contacted his MP, Iain Duncan Smith admitted in writing to the MP that the DWP sanctions people with “learning difficulties or mental health problems.” Both disabled and non-disabled benefits claimants are most at risk of having their rights eroded if they’re on Jobseeker’s Allowance, and especially if they’re coming off the Work Programme.
Benefit sanctions and absurdity: will public attitudes change
It’s always worth reminding ourselves just how draconian and irrational, not to mention pointless, sadistic, and avoidably counterproductive the benefit sanctions regime can be, not least because, as my colleague Patrick Wintour noted this week:
“The issue is one that all political parties are reluctant to take up, partly because public opinion is thought to be hostile to “benefit scroungers”
Is this the kind of Britain in which we want to live where people are hostile towards benefit claimants, the kind of Britain were people are impoverished by unfair benefit reforms including sanctions. Sickening that both of the major political parties consider that the continued persecution of benefit claimants and the imposed drastic decrease in benefit payments as a result of cuts and sanctions are seen as a vote catcher.
I would like to say that the best action is not to vote Tory which is indeed a necessary action if we are to ever bring about change concerning benefit sanctions and other unfair reforms. However it is unclear what Labour intend and with the exception of abolishing the bedroom tax it looks increasingly that nothing much will be done to undo the vicious and unfair welfare reforms of the last five years.
We must demand a more fair system that allows those who through no fault of their own as a result of long term sickness, disability or unemployment to receive benefits which provide a decent standard of living. Bullying people to find work that they are too ill to do or to find jobs that simply don’t exist is unacceptable and it has to stop now, but unless more of us speak out nothing much of anything will ever change. The present government and to a lesser extent the previous one have done a thorough job of turning public opinion against benefit claimants, a tactic used in prewar Germany
Here is the latest outrage
David Cameron To Force NEETs To Carry Out 30 Hours Of Community Work A Week ‘From Day One’
Sanctions and the charity shop.
Entre staff under pressure to strip claimants of benefits for no good reason, North East MPs claim
Iain Duncan Smith to accelerate benefit reforms to stop Labour reversing them
Updated list of deaths due to welfare reforms