Jobcentre ‘My Work Plan’ is not mandatory, no sanctions for refusing

“Completion of the My Work Plan booklet is not a condition of Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit. Completion can be refused without sanctions. This is confirmed in the
attached [Jobcentre] guidance.”
From: My Work Plan? -17 January 2013  – DWP Central FoI Team https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/187245/response/472152/attach/html/2/FoI%205619%20wdtk.pdf.html

Universal Credit benefit sanctions to last indefinitely, not just 3 years

[ Resources to effectively appeal benefit sanctions and survive financially ]

1) JSA and ESA sanctions
2) What about Hardship Payments (HP) and Universal Credit (UC)
3) Hardship Payments and recovery from ‘other’ Social Security benefits?
4) Hardship Payments and recovery from direct attachment of employee earnings/wages?
5) Other Universal Credit elements? (children, childcare, carer, housing, health and disability)

1) JSA and ESA sanctions

Under the current Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) sanctions regime the maximum benefit ban is 3 years (“156 weeks“) for failures to meet requirements. Anyone sanctioned can apply for means tested reduced JSA called Hardship Payments. (HP). Under JSA and Employment Support Alowance (ESA) HP is not recoverable.

2) What about Hardship Payments (HP) and Universal Credit (UC)

All HP under Universal Credit are recoverable, meaning they are treated like a debt by the DWP. Therefore if someone gets a 3 year UC ban and applies and gets HP, repayment can be made through UC. Put more simply this means UC sanctions (aka reduced benefits) can effectively last far longer than 3 years.

“All Universal Credit hardship payments are recoverable.”
From: ‘Hardship Payments being recovered?’ – DWP Central FoI Team – 17 January 2014
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/190998/response/471780/attach/html/3/WDTK%205966.pdf.html

3) Hardship Payments and recovery from ‘other’ Social Security benefits?

The DWP has also made provision for UC HP payments to be recovered via deduction in “other Social Security benefits [unamed] they may receive in the future (with the exception of Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance)”.

“The recovery of the amount paid as hardship can only start once the single claimant’s, or a couple’s, award of Universal Credit is no longer subject to a sanction or fraud loss of benefit penalty reduction.  The amount recoverable each month depends on what other deductions are being made from a person’s Universal Credit.  The maximum is 40 per cent of the standard allowance.  For example, a single person aged 25 or over receiving £311.55 a month could have £124.62 deducted as repayment of hardship provided other deductions are not in place.

The total amount paid as hardship can be recovered from Universal Credit (including any
arrears), or other Social Security benefits they may receive in the future (with the exception of Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance). ”
From:  ‘Hardship Payment recovery through benefits?’DWP Central FoI Team  – 27 January 2014 https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/193577/response/474808/attach/html/2/FoI%20277%20wdtk.pdf.html

4) Hardship Payments and recovery from direct attachment of employee earnings/wages?

Direct Earnings Attachments: an employers’ guide
“Where the Secretary of State has been unable to recover monies owed to the DWP from
customers not in receipt of a benefit, and who have not voluntarily agreed to repay, those
monies may be recovered by deduction from the customer’s earnings. ”
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/direct-earnings-attachments-an-employers-guide

5) Other Universal Credit elements?

Depending on your situation, you may receive extra support in addition to the Standard Allowance, for example:

There are separate rules explaining how you may qualify for these elements.
http://about.universalcredit.service.gov.uk/kms/Pages/Standard_Allowance_for_Universal_Credit.htm

JobPath Workfare Ireland and Thinking the Unthinkable

JobPath Workfare Tender Docs: https://irl.eu-supply.com/app/rfq/publicpurchase_frameset.asp?PID=72513&B=&PS=1&PP=ctm/Supplier/publictenders

Thinking the unthinkable to cut dole queues: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/thinking-the-unthinkable-to-cut-dole-queues-29924374.html

“Employment services…work experience…‘in-work’ advice/coaching to jobseekers” https://irl.eu-supply.com/app/rfq/publicpurchase_frameset.asp?PID=67670&B=&PS=1&PP=ctm/Supplier/publictenders

G4S “Trying to enforce slavery on the unemployed”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn2n_2R09ng

Discuss at: http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/welfare-to-work/8499-thinking-the-unthinkable-to-cut-dole-queues-g4s-nightmare

“All Universal Credit hardship payments are recoverable”

After some internet searching, confirmation that “All Universal Credit hardship payments are recoverable”

“As of 8 January 2014 Debt Management have been asked to recover 28 hardship payments held by 22 customers. To date recovery of £66.86 has been made from the total of £4,116.56 as recovery is not normally sought until the hardship ceases. There are currently insufficient cases in recovery to give a meaningful monthly average repayment figure. ”
Hardship payments are not recoverable if awarded to claimants who have claimed Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA)(emphasis added)
From: DWP Central FoI Team 17 January 2014 https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/190998/response/471780/attach/html/3/WDTK%205966.pdf.html

DWP Decison Makers guidance: Chapter L1: Hardship
What are recoverable hardship payments…L1004 https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/246209/Chapter_L1_-_Hardship.pdf

Above DWP Decision Makers guidance nor The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  CHAPTER 3 HARDSHIP  and 119. Recoverability of hardship payments state when Hardship Payments are not recoverable?

Clarification is still needed on recovery under the Universal Credit equivalent situation of people who currently claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA), work related activity group (WRAG)

Changes to the Hardship regime under existing benefits and Universal Credit
“51.  As a result of the proposed changes to ESA sanctions, we will ensure ESA
claimants in the work related activity group also have access to hardship payments. ESA hardship payments will not be recoverable. These hardship provisions will be carried forward into Universal Credit so that claimants with limited capability for work will have access to non-recoverable payments”
From: Conditionality,sanctions and hardship Equality impact assessment March 2011https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA11-022BC.pdf”

If Hardship Payments are recovered through benefit payments, this will mean benefit sanctions can in effect be far longer than 3 year max announced in 2013?

“higher level sanctions…will lead to claimants losing all of their JSA for …156 weeks for a third and subsequent failure”

3-year benefit ban hits 120 disabled people under new sanctions regime
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/3-year-benefit-ban-hits-120-disabled-people-under-new-sanctions-regime

Benefit sanctions soar under tougher regime
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/06/benefits-sanctions-jobseekers-allowance

JSA and ESA Hardship Payment claim form and Guidance on DWP sanctions created severe suffering or privation http://refuted.org.uk/2013/11/20/severesuffering/

Benefit Sanctions Targets and why Seetec are utter Bastards

Since publishing revelations that Seetec called the DWP benefits hotline to sanction 4,417 people in one week. Today the DWP released more horrendous stats showing Seetec sanctions targets that by far outstrip all other Work Programme and Mandatory Workfare Activity Providers seeking to make unemployed people destitute, rather than ‘support’ into work.

Provider Calls Claimants
A4e 663 2975
Ingeus 2905 9978
Seetec 8423 37,557

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a4e_seetec_and_ingeus#incoming-470994

The Benefit Sanctions Machine and Vindictive Seetec
In a 5 week period Seetec tried to sanction benefits of nearly 13,000 people (Weeks 18 to 22). In one week alone it called to make 4,417 people destitute (Week 20), compared to 2 by Prospects.