YMCA utter nonsense on JSA Hardship Payments and benefit sanctions

A hardship payment in Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance is not subject to repayment. The Universal Credit guidance about Recoverable Hardship Payments and Resources is in the  Advice for Decision Making guidance, chapter L1
From: DWP Central FoI Team – 11 July 2013
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/167257/response/407896/attach/2/FoI.3136.RESPONSE.pdf
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The YMCA are one of the greatest apologists for workfare and can’t even properly advise young people of their benefit sanctions rights. It’s young people’s sanctions guide goes as far as telling young people that if they are made destitute by JSA sanctions that they have to pay back means tested Hardship Payments. This is utter nonsense.

Remember, any [JSA] Hardship Payment you get will need to be repaid after your sanction ends. They will normally be paid by reducing your benefit payments when they start again.
[This is utter nonsense.]

From: YMCA England, Young Peoples Sanctions Toolkit – 05/11/2013
https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.ymca.org.uk/component/docman/doc_download/76-sanctions-guide

No one has to pay back a JSA or ESA Hardship Payments by having reduced benefits once a sanction ceases, that would mean Hardship Payments would be treated as a loan/debt to be recovered through benefits, which for young people would just be a sanction of lesser benefits by another name. YMCA Providing such misleading information further bullies young people to undertake Jobcentre Back to Work schemes.

View of a copy of the JSA/ESA Hardship Payment claim form, internal DWP guidance and details on how to challenge any Jobcentre sanction decision. If you object to YMCA as a religion based provider of Back to Work schemes, you can request the Jobcentre to include a restriction on your Jobseekers Agreement.

At present [30/11/13] nothing on the JSA/ESA Hardship Payment Claim form or DWP guidance that indicates payment is recoverable.

Universal Credit (UC) Hardship Payment is recoverable?

For UC a recoverability regulation for Hardship Payments does exist.

The Universal Credit Regulations 2013
Part 8, Chapter 3, Recoverability of hardship payments, Regulation 119
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/regulation/119/made

Universal Credit: DWP decision makers guide: Hardship Payments
“What are recoverable hardship payments”?
https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/246209/Chapter_L1_-_Hardship.pdf

Rolling online picket of YMCA England

The Vile Hypocrisy of Workfare Exploiters the YMCA

YMCA Attempt Workfare Whitewash – Who Benefits From This New Charity Campaign?

The Side Of Workfare That The YMCA Don’t Want You To See

Notes: Welfare rights law and DWP guidance, in particular, changes frequently. You may find more recent information via http://refuted.org.uk/category/ or by using the website search facility (top right)

Newsletter: Latest 21 updates – 30 Nov 2013

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6 Month ‘Help to Work’ Workfare: Info pack and £253,800,000 Tender docs published

No need to sign Work Programme documents and no sanctions

ESA and JSA Benefit sanctions statistics, of 6th November 2013

Need a bank account? Check out ‘Basic bank accounts’

Universal Credit: Catastrophic Commons report

Work Programme Providers given Security and Data Protection exemptions for faster sanctions by email

JSA Claimant Committment guidance published

On JSA “Legally, the Claimant Commitment is the Jobseeker’s Agreement”

Claiming Benefits: Without an email address or telephone number? Sanctions? Extensive DWP opinions

Con-sultation: Review on benefit sanctions launched

Workfare, Tesco’s and the DWP

JSA Claimant Commitment: DWP internal guidance disclosed, 45+ documents

Specimen (blank) JSA Claimant Commitment

Work Programme: Letter to MP about refusing to sign documents

DWP Decision Makers Memo: Community Work Placements and Traineeships.

Benefits and Conscientious Objection: Restrictions on employment and workfare

DWP Customer Compliance and Fraud referral guidance

How to stop all DWP Universal Jobmatch emails

Welfare to Work Programme providers and your CV

JSA and ESA Hardship Payment claim form and Guidance on DWP sanctions created severe suffering or privation

Letter to DWP: Your Conscientious Objection, Religion, Jobseekers Allowance and Back to Work schemes

Letter to DWP: Your Conscientious Objection, Religion, Jobseekers Allowance and Back to Work schemes

Below is a draft letter for anyone who holds a sincerely held Conscientious Objection (CO), this example concerns organised religion and wanting this to be recognised as part of a JSA* claim. DWP guidance and other examples of CO and can be found at: http://refuted.org.uk/2013/11/17/conscientious/

1) Draft letter
2) CO and a new claim for JSA
3) CO and getting your existing Jobseekers Agreement amended
4) DWP Benefits: How to Appeal or Dispute a Decision from 28th October 2013

1) Draft letter

[Please adapt and amend to personal circumstances]

Dear [Named Jobcentre Adviser/Coach]

RE: Conscientious objection

I am writing to ask you to include in a new or revised Jobseekers Agreement (JSAg) a restriction on employment and Back to Work schemes with organisations and employers associated to organised religion on the basis of my sincerely held conscientious objection. I consider this restriction still means I have  reasonable prospects of obtaining employment. If you require further explanation please put your request in writing for my consideration and to enable independent advice to be sought.

This formal JSAg request is being made under Section 9 of The Jobseekers Act 1995 and
Section 13 of The Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 1996.

If you are unwilling to accede to this reasonable request, please refer the matter to a Decision Maker (DM) in accordance with my rights under Section 9 (6) of The Jobseekers Act 1995.

My request engages The Equality Act 2010, Chapter 1 Protected characteristics, Section 10. Religion or belief. As well as the The Human Rights Act 1998.

Please transcribe a full copy of this letter onto my personal LMS records and keep a copy of it in my clerical records for the duration of my JSA claim.

Yours sincerely

—end—

*A letter is under development for Universal Credit.

2) CO and a new claim for JSA

Jobseekers Agreement Referral to a Labour Market Decision Maker
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/rights_and_responsibilities_clai#incoming-456340
From: DWP Strategy FoI team 3 December 2013

If the Jobcentre Adviser/Coach does not want to include the CO restriction in a new JSAg, which must be signed for a new JSA claim to start, you or they can refer if to a DM to adjudicate on whether the CO restriction is reasonable. This is likely to cause a delay in the start of a new JSA claim.
(These observations are under investigation to clarify the process and implications of a CO registration being referred to a DM)

3) CO and getting your existing Jobseekers Agreement amended

Jobseekers Agreement Referral to a Labour Market Decision Maker
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/rights_and_responsibilities_clai#incoming-456340
From: DWP Strategy FoI team 3 December 2013

“Either party (claimant or Jobcentre Plus adviser) can seek changes to the Jobseeker’s
Agreement at any time. Hopefully the claimant and their adviser will be able to agree on the revision but if they cannot, the case will be referred to a Decision Maker to consider whether or not the terms of the original JSAg should be revised.

If the Decision Maker determines that it would be reasonable to expect the claimant to do
what is in the revised JSAg, they will give a decision to that effect. The Decision Maker will
also issue a direction to the claimant detailing the terms which must be included on the
JSAg, to enable the claimant to satisfy the JSA conditions of entitlement.

The claimant then has 21 days (including the date on which the Decision Makers decision
was issued) to comply with the terms of the direction. If the claimant agrees to the terms
directed by the Decision Maker, a JSAg that conforms to these terms is drawn up.
However, if the claimant does not comply with the terms of the direction within the 21 days
period, the case is referred back to a Decision Maker to consider terminating the original
JSAg.

A claimant’s JSA will not be stopped until after the Decision Maker has made a decision to
terminate the original JSAg. In these cases, the JSAg will come to an end on the date that
the Decision Maker decides to terminate the JSAg.”

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/172189/response/419011/attach/html/3/WDTK%203741.pdf.html

Decision Makers Guides
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/decision-makers-guide-vols-4-5-6-and-7-jobseekers-allowance-and-income-support-staff-guide

4) DWP Benefits: How to Appeal or Dispute a Decision from 28th October 2013

http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/27/appeals/

Notes: Welfare rights law and DWP guidance, in particular, changes frequently. You may find more recent information via http://refuted.org.uk/category/ or by using the website search facility (top right)

JSA and ESA Hardship Payment claim form and Guidance on DWP sanctions created severe suffering or privation

Latest Hardship Payment info now at http://refuted.org.uk/2014/10/10/hardshiprecoverable/

—–

View claim form online: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/183765/response/452109/attach/4/5261%20JSA10.pdf
From: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/hardship_application_form#incoming-452109
DWP Freedom of Information Team – 20 November 2013

DWP JSA Hardship Awards – Guidance Queries and Help
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/severe_suffering_or_privation#incoming-435413

Jobcentre leaflet on sanctions and hardship payments
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/186249/response/457870/attach/html/4/3c.FOI%205503%20ESL48JP%20ILS.pdf.html

Welfare to Work Programme providers and your CV

Remember being mandated in writing to the activity of creating a new or a review of your existing CV, is not same as letting a provider keep a copy. Evidence of undertaking the activity could be done by only showing a printed copy; a copy on a device like an e-reader; laptop or tablet computer.

“As part of that the Provider would ask* for evidence from the participant, (in
whatever form) that activity had been completed and the Provider then weighs that evidence in  terms of answering the question have they complied with the Mandatory Activity to produce or update their CV. If the Provider feels that the weight of evidence doesn’t establish they have complied then they could raise a sanction doubt for not undertaking the activity.  ”
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/183763/response/451933/attach/html/3/WDTK%205260.pdf.html
From: DWP Central FoI Team – 20 November 2013

*The word “ask” is not the same as mandating in writing how evidence must be provided in a specific format.

Notes: Welfare rights law and DWP guidance, in particular, changes frequently. You may find more recent information via http://refuted.org.uk/category/ or by using the website search facility (top right)