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Revealed: 5,000 sick and disabled sanctioned

This news post is over 6 years old

Full extent of the sanctioned regime revealed in official figures

Official figures reveal more than 5,000 disabled and sick people had their benefits sanctioned for six months or more.

Once sanctioned a claimant has no access to the welfare state and often will have to rely on handouts from charities and foodbanks.

The shocking figures from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) expose the extent of punishments used against people on disability benefit and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

ESA is replacing Incapacity Benefit and is now paid to 2.4million people across the UK.

Pete Cairnduff of the Scottish Anti Cuts Alliance called it “barbaric”.

“When people are sanctioned they have nothing,” he said. “The DWP is forcing people to beg and breaking up families. And these are the people with the very least.

“The UK government treat the poor as unworthy which filters down into society and creates stigma. The whole culture of these welfare changes is barbaric.”

Between December 2012 and December 2016, 71,543 ESA claimants have been sanctioned.

Over half of those claimants (40,288) had their benefits sanctioned for less than four weeks and the average length of a sanction was 28 days. But 5,739 suffered a sanction for 27 weeks or more.

Another 6,579 claimants were sanctioned for between 14 and 26 weeks, statistics show.

ESA sanctions are made for a fixed period of one, two or four weeks.

But they are open-ended and carry on indefinitely if people are still unable or refuse to take part in 'work-related activity'.

DWP officials insist this means no one will be sanctioned for six months if they play by the rules.

But campaigners argue assessments that deem people fit for work-related activity in the first place are flawed.

A DWP spokesman said: "Only a very small proportion of people on ESA are sanctioned every month - just 0.6%.

"ESA sanctions are designed to encourage people to fulfil their requirements, so they remain in place until someone re-engages with their work coach or employment support.

“It’s only fair to ask claimants to do their part and there is a well-established system of payments available for people who need support to meet their immediate and most essential needs.”



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philip norman
over 6 years ago
who do the DWP think they are i have paid 45 years into this system yes 45 years of national insurance. started work at 15 years old and this system was to make sore people had NHS free at the point of need, a safety net for people how had lost there jobs through no fault of there own and pension at 65 so none of the above are benefits its my right paid for over all those years, i have paid in you should now pay out it is my right get it. stop moving the coal posts play fair.
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