Benefit Sanctions

When claiming a benefit there are certain rules that need to be followed. A sanction can be applied if someone fails to comply with these benefit rules. This can be a loss or reduction in benefit.

Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)

From 27 September 2017, changes to benefit sanctions mean that sanction periods for JSA have changed.

The Department has communicated with JSA claimants, to ensure that they have all the information they need to help avoid the risk of a sanction to benefit. The leaflet below explains what a sanction is and how to avoid a sanction. The leaflet is being distributed to all JSA claimants at their signing date.

Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

From 27 September 2017, changes to ESA benefit sanctions rules mean that longer periods of benefit sanctions may be imposed for non-compliance with benefit conditions. ESA Sanctions will only apply to claimants if they are capable of work-related activity and have been placed in the ESA Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG). All requirements will take account of the claimant’s health and cannot include requirements to apply for a job, undertake work or undergo medical treatment.

Previously if an ESA claimant failed to attend a work-focused interview (WFI) or participate in work-related activity (WRA) without good cause they would have received an open ended sanction which was then lifted when they re-engaged to fulfil benefit conditions. This reduction can now continue up to four weeks after the claimant re-starts the interviews or activity.

The Department has communicated with claimants, to ensure that they have all the information needed to avoid the risk of a sanction to benefit.

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