Sixteen of the most senseless benefit sanction decisions known to man

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith appeared before a select committee on Wednesday to announce that job advisers are going to be placed in food banks.

A trial is already underway in Manchester, and IDS hopes that based on the feedback it will be implemented nationally.

The move is a sign of how reliance on emergency food supplies has become a fact of life under the Conservative government. The Trussell Trust, which operates food banks all over the country, said that their facilities have been visited more than one million times in the past year.

Trussell Trust data also shows that 44 per cent of visits are caused by delays or changes to benefits income, such as sanctions.

The impact of sanctions vary: in the most extreme cases a person can lose their benefits for three years. Reasons for withdrawing benefits can range to being late for a meeting, failing to turn up on time, or leaving several jobs voluntarily.

Duncan Smith, however, defended the system today, claiming sanctions are working how they're supposed to.

Below are some of the most ridiculous reasons people have had their benefits sanctioned, which drives so many to food banks in the first place:

One case where the claimant’s wife went into premature labour and had to go to hospital. This caused the claimant to miss an appointment. No leeway given.

Via the Guardian.

It’s Christmas Day and you don’t fill in your job search evidence form to show that you’ve looked for all the new jobs that are advertised on Christmas Day. You are sanctioned. Merry Christmas.

Via Poverty Alliance.

You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the job centre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week.

Via Pontefract and Castleford Express.

A London man missed his Jobcentre appointments for two weeks because he was in hospital after being hit by a car. He was sanctioned.

Via The Mirror.

You’ve been unemployed for seven months and are forced onto a workfare scheme in a shop miles away, but can’t afford to travel. You offer to work in a nearer branch but are refused and get sanctioned for not attending your placement.

Via Caroline Lucas MP.

You are a mum of two, and are five minutes late for your job centre appointment. You show the advisor the clock on your phone, which is running late. You are sanctioned for a month.

Clydebank Post.

A man with heart problems who was on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) had a heart attack during a work capability assessment. He was then sanctioned for failing to complete the assessment.

Via Debbie Abrahams MP.

A man who had gotten a job that was scheduled to begin in two weeks’ time was sanctioned for not looking for work as he waited for the role to start.

Via the Guardian.

Army veteran Stephen Taylor, 60, whose Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was stopped after he sold poppies in memory of fallen soldiers.

Via the Daily Mirror.

A man had to miss his regular appointment at the job centre to attend his father’s funeral. He was sanctioned even though he told DWP staff in advance.

Via Political Scrapbook.

Ceri Padley, 26, had her benefits sanctioned after she missed an appointment at the jobcentre - because she was at a job interview.

Via the Daily Mail.

A man got sanctioned for missing his slot to sign on - as he was attending a work programme interview. He was then sanctioned as he could not afford to travel for his job search.

Via Citizen's Advice.

Mother-of-three Angie Godwin, 27, said her benefits were sanctioned after she applied for a role job centre staff said was beyond her.

Via Get Reading.

Sofya Harrison was sanctioned for attending a job interview and moving her signing-on to another day.

Via the Guardian.

Michael, 54, had his benefits sanctioned for four months for failing to undertake a week’s work experience at a charity shop. The charity shop had told him they didn’t want him there.

Via the Guardian.

Terry Eaton, 58, was sanctioned because he didn’t have the bus fare he needed to attend an appointment with the job centre.

Via the Guardian.

This article was originally published last year but repurposed on 28 October 2015 in light of Iain Duncan Smith's select committee appearance

Several examples also H/T

More: Iain Duncan Smith has a perfect solution to the food bank crisis: jobs

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