Universal Credit ‘claimant commitment’: no choice, no law, no money – no appeal

IMPORTANT: this article is now here as a place-holder, pending clarification from the DWP – as even veteran DWP employees can’t agree whether the WRAG sanction information is accurate. See here for more information.

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In just a few short weeks, the new Universal Credit benefit system starts to roll out, albeit more slowly than originally planned (but already in operation in pilot areas). This new benefits system rolls a wide variety of benefits into a single process, including unemployment benefit – and crucially, it extends ‘conditionality’ even to people who are already working, so that penalties can be applied to people for not having enough hours, or if they are not considered to be trying hard enough to get more hours.

The government’s ‘policy aims’ for this new system state that:

Universal Credit is designed to ensure that for people who can, work is still the best route out of poverty and an escape from benefit dependence.  The aim of Universal Credit is to increase labour market participation, reduce worklessness and increase in-work progression.  The conditionality regime will recast the relationship between the citizen and the State from one centred on “entitlement” to one centred on a contractual concept that provides a range of support in return for claimant’s meeting an explicit set of responsibilities, with a sanctions regime to encourage compliance.

A series of Freedom of Information (FOI) responses from the DWP reveals that the new regulations turn the opinion of even junior Jobcentre Plus (JCP) advisers into law, place them in a position of despotic omnipotence over benefit claimants, and turn claimants – even working ones – into helpless chattels shorn of power, choice or recourse if unreasonable expectations are placed on them.

A ‘claimant commitment’ (CC) is a set of obligations placed on a benefit claimant in terms of actions that must be carried out in looking for work (or more work), the amount of time that must be spent and the results generated. These requirements, as the DWP statement above indicates, are not negligible. For example, as one of the responses states:

A claimant will be expected to devote the same number of hours to work search in accordance with this action plan as we would expect them to be available for work (up to a maximum of 35 hours a week).

This might seem reasonable enough. But as one ex-DWP manager asked her MP:

Is affordability of the work search/preparation taken into account by the Adviser?   The average cost of Job seeking prior to 2012 was around £2-£6 per week assuming no job interviews secured, the Jobseeker visited the Jobcentre once a week to look for work, checked the local press, made 1 or 2 job applications and asked family/friends.  Claimants were not required to pay Council Tax .

£6 a week when you’re on as little as £56 a week in benefits is a huge amount of money. But now claimants can be expected to attend the JCP more than once a week – in fact, as often as the adviser decides is appropriate as part of the CC. Council tax support is far less available, and the price of essentials like food has risen steeply. The costs associated with the activities likely to be involved in a 35-hour work-seeking week are very likely to be (to use the government’s favourite word for NHS hospitals) unsustainable.

Claimants have a right to query the conditions of a CC – but if they refuse to sign it and ask for it to be reviewed, it will merely be looked at by another JCP adviser, not by a more specialised ‘Labour Market Decision Maker’ (LMDM).

As we’re already well aware, the DWP has no qualms about asking JCP advisers to carry out tasks for which they have no qualifications or experience. A decision by an adviser-level JCP employee is perfectly likely not to take into account the full range of circumstances faced by a claimant – and a review by another adviser, who will face his/her own pressure to conform and not to offend a colleague or possibly incur the wrath of a supervisor, in no way guarantees that bad decisions will be overturned.

Especially in a context in which – as we know in spite of government denials – all of the advisers in a JCP are likely to be under pressure to meet covert targets on the number of sanctions the JCP applies.

But surely, if a bad CC isn’t overturned by an adviser the claimant can ask for someone more senior to look at it? You’d think so – at least under any sane government. However, as the 2nd FOI response makes very clear:

There is no right of appeal if a claimant refuses to accept their Claimant Commitment and the requirements that have been set out in it.

Under this new system, a JCP adviser – who might be incompetent, inexperienced, bitter, have a personality clash with the claimant or just simply be having a bad day – is the final arbiter of whether a CC is reasonable and achievable, and even a patently bad decision cannot be appealed for a higher opinion.

And if a claimant refuses to sign?

If the claimant still refuses to accept their Claimant Commitment then he or she will no longer be entitled to claim Universal Credit.

Refuse to sign something that might be realistically unachievable – and receive nothing. Could a more coercive and arbitrary situation be imagined?

If a claimant signs and then fails or refuses to perform one of the CC conditions, the only small ray of hope is that an LMDM might see reason:

if a claimant fails to carry out any of the work related requirements set out in their Claimant Commitment this will be referred to a Decision Maker for consideration of whether a sanction should be applied. If a claimant has good reason for not carrying out a particular work related requirement then a sanction will not be applied.

But this is asking someone to accept a set of conditions knowing they can’t fulfil them – and then put themselves in the hands of a person whose qualifications, motivations, reasonableness and parameters are entirely unknown, in the hope that they’ll agree not to immediately cut off his/her benefits.

That reminds me of something. What was it? Oh, that’s right.

Russian roulette.

As the ex-JCP manager points out, the system is fraught with unknowns and uncertainties. There is nothing in the documentation to indicate:

  • what it means for a JCP adviser to ‘look again’ at a decision
  • what the criteria for assessing a decision are, or how the 2nd adviser will obtain information about the claimant’s circumstances
  • whether there are any firm timescales within which the claimant commitment review must be completed
  • whether the claimant will be interviewed by the 2nd adviser or the decision will be made entirely based on the paperwork
  • whether any additional financial support is available to help claimants meet increased work-search requirements

and I’m sure you can think of other pitfalls and problems.

We’re left with a situation in which it’s perfectly likely that someone will be expected to sign an unrealistic CC – and summarily deprived of all financial support if they refuse. Once coerced into signing this unrealistic commitment, they then face a financial ‘Russian roulette’ where the whim of an unknown person of unknown competence will decide whether a failure to comply was ‘reasonable’.

All with no guarantee, or even likelihood, that the decision will be impartial.

The OECD – hardly a hotbed of socialism or a great friend to the common man or woman – considers impartiality to be very important. In a document titled ‘Administrative Procedures in EU Member States‘, it discussion the need for impartiality:

5. Impartiality
29. The principle of impartiality is structurally weakened in administrative procedures because the Administration is party and judge in the procedure. Therefore it is necessary to establish legal measures to establish the equilibrium between the parties or at least to reduce the likelihood of unfairness. A Minimum of impartiality should be guaranteed. Therefore the withdrawal from the procedure of those Officials who have a personal interest (typical conflict of interest situation) in the outcome of the procedure 8 should be mandatory. Otherwise the administration would incur into abuse of power. Another requirement for impartiality is that any party in the procedure should be entitled to recluse any intervening official suspect of having an interest in the outcome of the procedure or having qualified friendship or enmity or kinship relationships with any of the parties.”
It’s absolutely obvious that advisers working together in a JCP office will often form friendships and a sense of loyalty to one another. It’s only human to find it difficult to judge impartially in those circumstances, and there will be a clear pressure to ‘back up’ one’s colleague, and a fear of upsetting a fellow adviser by overturning a decision.

It will therefore be extremely difficult to find an impartial adviser to judge a request for review – and even an impartial one will be judging based on personal experience and emotion rather than on professional qualifications and clear criteria.

In case anyone thinks ‘bloody EU and their bureaucracy’, or wants to write off as a ‘leftie’ opinion that this situation is wrong. The Ombudsman’s office sets out ‘Principles of Administration‘ that make the potential problems very clear:

The Principles of Good Administration

 

Getting it Right
Public servants do not get it right every time, so there must be a form of redress that is impartial and fair for claimants.
Being customer focused
Public Bodies do not always treat people with sensitivity, bearing in mind their individual needs, and respond flexibly to the circumstances of the case in every instance; doctors for example, can get this wrong at times.
Acting fairly and proportionately
Public bodies do not always deal with people fairly or with respect.

 

There is no doubt at all that the new UC system completely fails to make available an impartial and fair ‘form of redress’ as outlined by the Ombudsman.

Let’s look at a real-life scenario. The DWP operates a Universal Jobmatch (UJM) system that jobseekers are expected to use to look for jobs – but the UJM system has been shown to be seriously flawed and even a vehicle for various scams. It also contains serious security issues that risk revealing jobseekers’ private information to people who shouldn’t have it.

Jobseekers are frequently pressured to use the system and told that they might be sanctioned if they don’t – but our ex-JCP manager advises me that there is no legal obligation whatever for jobseekers to use it. They can use any available method of jobseeking, online or offline.

Under the UC system, the illegality of a sanction applied for failing to use UJM will become irrelevant. A JCP adviser has no legal right to apply a sanction for not using UJM – but if they do, and a colleague from the same JCP and therefore likely to be similarly ill-informed agrees, then the sanctioned person has no right of appeal.

Yet again the government, via its ludicrously corrupt and vicious Department of Work and Pensions’ is showing a staggering degree of contempt for those in society who need help and support, and a complete disregard for the life and wellbeing of human beings in our society who find themselves in need of that support.

Support which, as the government baldly states, is no longer the ‘entitlement’ it should be in a civilised society, but is instead something for which people are forced to sign unfeasible contracts that merely set them up to have that support snatched away arbitrarily – on the ‘godlike’ whim of JCP advisers of unknown competence and who might well be under pressure to hit sanction targets.

And all, if we’re to believe this lying-if-their-lips-are-moving government, because it’s the best ‘route out of poverty’.

Yeah. Like the best cure for a headache is decapitation.

Many, many people in this country will not survive a 2nd term of this government, or any part of it. And the way the rules are constructed shows that the Tories are ‘perfectly relaxed’ about that.

They want to take us back to the 1920s of soup kitchens, means-testing and stigmatised poverty.

We can’t let them. Please spread the word or this is where we’ll end up again:

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98 responses to “Universal Credit ‘claimant commitment’: no choice, no law, no money – no appeal

  1. What a rotten place the UK is becoming where people are content to let others suffer, for their own contentment!

  2. Is it not the case that while the claimant commitment might be being rolled out UC itself can’t be as it simply doesn’t exist? Claimants will still be receiving JSA etc. as I understand it and it’s that they’ll be losing without benefit of appeal. This won’t affect housing benefit either and under UC quite possibly a sanction would.

    • The tories have come up with the idea of linking your benefit to your housing benefit. So if you are sanctioned for a month, you also loose a month’s housing benefit. Or three months, means three month’s of housing benefit, thereby ensuring you are homeless and hungry. After all, the tories believe the two should fit together nicely.

  3. Pingback: Universal Credit ‘claimant commitment’: no choice, no law, no money – no appeal | eclectictaste18·

    • Work together on every front – and inform, inform, inform so that those who might be tempted to side against the oppressed are less likely to do so. United we stand – we are many and they are few.

    • Brick IDS’s bald head until it bleeds in public and injure his wife

      • Skin it and string it up by it’s foot over london bridge… as a message.

      • Honestly, I’m genuinely shocked that something like this hasn’t happened already, sadly.

  4. “benefit dependency”? I guess diabetics are “dependent” on insulin, so we should try and wean them off it? Insulin junkies!

      • Just shows how much the some of the Tories despise anyone that requires help from society sadly.

  5. What sort of letter or campaign can have any effect, if the Government still plans to roll it out, despite the all the problems highlighted already?

  6. I don’t expect to be getting any JSA ever again! After 7 and a half months of sanctions last year due to work programme errors, which is still going through the tribunal process!

    And now at time of writing i have had no income for about 8 weeks after being ‘questionably’ sanctioned for not actively seeking work, which of course is not the case, but they think asserting ones rights (what little we have left) is not actively seeking work, there is a difference! I’ll push this to tribunal too. No warnings, just sanctioned without telling me. I even had a warning, but this didn’t stop the over zealous JC adviser from putting a doubt in anyway.

    I have had enough, there is little an individual can do, but this individual is going to push the boundaries of what the ‘law’ can do in this horrendous draconian nightmare.

    If Catt Reilly can get to the high court then i’ll have a go too.

    They are abusing power left right and centre. It has to stop!

    Claimant commitment? They can shove it up their collective arse.

    I seek the remedy, it’s there in their own documents. I just need to find the right legal advice, from a conscientious legal eagle who listens.

    Good article. UC seems a way off yet, like the first poster said, but this crushing of all claimants is very tangible. They act outside their remit, they bank on all claimants being scared witless and roll over and comply with totally unreasonable demands.

    Stuff them. I will get by due to family and friends, nece I will fight them all the way. Even when (or if?) I fine a job. I will not let the matter drop.

    Stay strong people.

    • It already feels like Russian roulette to a large extent.

      It’s really good (if that’s the right term) to hear from someone who’s suffering from some of the worst of the DWP’s abuses of power/excesses and is resolutely defiant. I really hope you do find someone with the relevant legal expertise – Cait Reilly (& her co-defendant) were inspirational – I believe they are in the process of appealing? Having a support network whether friends/family who really have an understanding of what it’s like can make all the difference.

      This has to be fought on all fronts – at an individual level as well as by spreading information and (hopefully) in sustained and large-scale campaigns whether objecting via the legal system or with protests/letters to MPs (!) & etc.

  7. It could be, of course, that the idea of UC itself was always a red herring and the real point of the exercise was in getting this claimant comittment, clearly designed for the purpose of pseudo-legitimising sanctions, live. I consider it credible to suggest there’ll be no-one left claiming JSA soon. I wonder where Smith (and of course Unum who I imagine will be taking a keen interest) think these people will go? This will create an army of people, a growing army at that as Osborne continues to deliberately shrink the economy causing more lay-offs, with nothing to lose from rioting and thieving as it’s the only way they’ll be able to a) feed themselves and b) get attention. Is this why Grayling wants to build super-prisons? Would they be giant Oakwoods where these government-created criminals can be set to work and profited from?

    • In my local area of poor and high umemployment, I’ve followed about 10 under 30s who’ve been sanctioned during the last 18 months-ish. Unsurprisingingly not a single one has become employed or even more employable than when they started, in fact quite the opposite.
      Them being mostly young-ish lads, IDS’s ‘savings’ have simply been moved to costs to friends, family, neighbours, victims, housing associations, social workers, police, courts, and even the prison service! From my small sample I recon the costs to the taxpayer so far have been 20 times the savings.

      theycan tell you that the cost gets passed on to

  8. Pingback: Universal Credit 'claimant commitment': no choice, no law, no money … | Waytogetjob.com·

  9. Since you have shown that the claimant commitment clauses are impossible to meet wouldn’t it be possible to challenge this under contract law i.e. The section on unfair clauses. This should make the contract invalid and actually illegal. It would need someone to actually take them to court to have it challenged.

    • It’s very muddy – and assumes of course that people have the will/finances etc to take legal action when the govt is almost obliterating legal aid!

      • I just thought it was a possible avenue to investigate. But if it wasn’t for the apparent chaos of the DWP and The Department of Justice you’d believe they were waging a concerted effort to destroy the lives of those least able to fight back.

      • Legal aid may be gone, but collectively we do have resources. Even if claiming JSA not all of us are burdened by the debts that many claimants have, thus making the struggle harder. It would only need one successful legal challenge, and if the many thousands, or indeed millions of sympathetic individuals contributed even a small sum sufficient finance could be raised. It is also possible that legal representation may be offered by sympathetic legal professionals, as not all are of the greedy slimeball variety.

      • I agree, in principle. Except the successful legal challenge would, under this lot, be appealed – and if the appeal failed, they’d retrospectively change the law to avoid the consequences, just like they did in the Poundland workfare case. 🙁

      • The more time they do this, the more outrage will grow. We have to work with what we have. This lot are going to end up with their heads on poles – if they’re that lucky. The more we fight the more obvious is it they have no justification whatsoever for what they’re doing. Tick tock! This lot are terrified and they should be. It’s only a matter of time before what they’re doing gets exposed and catches up with them.

    • At the time of signing the Jobseeker may not realise or appreciate that the contract is unfair, particularly if they are a vulnerable person or they have never had to look for work before. Under the existing legislation the Jobseeker can ask for a review of their Jobseeker Agreement at any time. Under the UC/CC legislation only the Adviser (the Secretary of State) has the right to review the contract!

      In the real world some Advisers may use their discretion, but this is not guaranteed.

      • I know they would be in a binding contract but if that contract could be proved to be illegal maybe they could ultimately seek compensation. Unfortunately for many that could be too late and as I and Steve said would need someone with the will and resources to challenge the DWP. Hopefully we see the demise of this rotten to the core government before it’s too late.

      • @fkreid – and what happens when this ‘rotten to the core government’ meets it’s demise? Oh, yeah, it’s replaced by yet another ‘rotten to the core’ government, only it’ll be a Labour rotten to the core government. That’s OK then.

    • I wonder, though if the response might be ‘yes, your right; this is an illegal contract and you don’t have to do what we say. Of course, under this illegal contract, we don’t have to pay you anything, either.’

    • As an employer, I would not be happy with this. Further, DWP are trying to form legislation to track a Jobseeker’s activity on-line and would love one job-site. At the moment they cannot force a Jobseeker to give access to their UJM account. If Jobseekers use a good aggregate job site they can see all the generalist vacancies in one place anyway and do not need to register with multiple sites unless they are looking for specialist vacancies.

      • The wording of the petition does not imply what you have just said. It calls for all jobs to be advertised in job centres and the job centre staff to match the jobs to the people registered with them, not with UJM. I think UJM should be abolished as Steve has shown: http://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/major-dwp-ujm-security-flaw-but-forces-claimants-to-use-anyway/ it is open to abuse and is a particularly poor example of a job search website. It’s again about the one size fits all mentality of a department that doesn’t know its a**e from its elbow forcing the wrong solution on the problem, whilst completely ignoring the problem in the first place i.e. there are not enough jobs and certainly not enough that pay a living wage.

  10. I doubt that it would ever happen and. I certainly would not be happy about it. Most employers do not use UJM as they know Jobseekers are pressed to apply for jobs that are unsuitable for them and are bombarded with spam applications This would also apply for vacancies advertised through Jobcentres.

    Under the new CC, the majority of Jobseekers will have to apply for any job they are capable of; Jobseekers can limit their job goals at present.

    I agree UJM is a very poor site and Indeed is much better and that is why I use it to advertise.

    • Now when we say ‘use’ JSM, do we mean use it to look for work or simply that they must create a profile and upload a CV?

      • 🙂

        Create a profile.

        The JA/CC will specify the number of visits to job sites.

  11. Hmmmm. Maybe i will become self employed making flat caps. And if all fails , maybe cheap dehydrated soup will reap nice financial rewards.

  12. One way of fighting would be for everyone unemployed and on UJ to all apply for the same job at once. The employer would be flooded. No point dong that with the corner shop of course but big powerful firms (Tesco? John Lewis) could swing some weight in Duncan-Smith’s direction. Take things to their logical conclusion and have hundreds of thousands of unemployed relentlessly applying for every job there was on UJ. Distress employers so much they want rid of IDS, as I’m sure they would if they had any idea of what was really happening.

    • A strategy of that kind would most often be utilized by people with a slightly more positive disposition. The disenchanted and destitute do not qualify in that regard. Aside from that, it would take organization and people in dire circumstance are far too distracted by the immediate problems and need to solve them as opposed to looking ahead to a solution over the long term. The often see nowhere beyond the day and immediate needs. However, if a mass of select persons was to organise from outside Job centres daily; motivating claimants one by one, 10 by 10 – it would be achievable , especially if a few other strategies were also manipulated. Personally, i would recommend a strategy that could cause this to backfire on the government and cause popularity to plummet rapidly . They need undermining via multiple directives to that end.

      • Michael, thanks. That’s a really constructive series of statements that (to me) make a lot of sense – some or all of these things needs to happen – and some already are being given a great deal of consideration … current situation is starting to feel like a race against time as well as, sadly a ‘game’ of Russian roulette/cat & mouse. (It’s already too late for a large number of people & their lives – as they usually say in post-war time – shouldn’t have been lost in vain – even though that’s a debatable and an individual outcome to try to measure).

    • or read the Anarchist Cookbook and bomb your local jobcenter

  13. If people have particular issues I would advise them to ask to see a Work Psychologist, if one is available. These are DWP staff who, from my experience, have some measure of influence over how the claimant is treated by JC+ staff. It may make no difference, the service may not even exist everywhere. I am by no means an expert, but having seen one this is how their service was explained to me. That said they have no power over the Work Programme or in persuading ESA decision makers.

    • It’s not possible to make general recommendations, but a GP appointment followed by request for a meeting with JCP manager (of relevant particular section) to discuss the complexities of individual situation/effects on health (mental/physical/emotional) may/could mean an opportunity to re-look at current conditionality of JSAg. This will all change as described above – more than likely – but currently is one possible course of action if finding effects of said conditionality too much to bear/can make a case for asking them to be reconsidered .

  14. I actually feel doomed…
    But maybe, one day, the people of this country will finally open their eyes to the atrocities this government commits on a daily basis and stop thinking ‘Well, at least it’s them and not me’.
    Probably not, but there’s always hope.

    • Increasingly they’re having less opportunity to say that as the benefit cuts hit more and more people, middle class people too.

  15. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    I meant to share this before writing ‘These disability deniers have no incentive to do the right thing’ – but forgot. The theme is very much the same – that claimants of Universal Credit have no recourse when the DWP messes up their claim.

    • Ultimate Chaos.
      Even if UC could be rolled out to all claimants and it worked, with £12b in benefits going unclaimed each year, that’s another £12b to be found from somewhere. I don’t think Bungle and Jeffrey have realised this yet.

      fofoundcuts that

  16. if sanctions are being done unfairly no food no home on the streets as they did years ago get themselves in prison for minor offences you eat you have a bed and if a lot of unfortunate people did this as then it costs more and would have to look again at procedures im not saying do this its me thinking out loud

    • I think this will have been thought about and that laws will be brought in for vagrancy/debt etc. (Like in the ‘good’ old days) – so debtor’s prisons (or their equivalent). Costs kept low by providing a very basic diet only/making work – while incarcerated – a normal part of daily life, so that (privatised) prisons could make money rather than be run at a loss etc. etc. Don’t suppose that spending time in a (privatised, giant) prison would be very much more of a great option than spending many nights out of doors would be …

  17. oh god its going to get worse. we have been messed around for 9 months now and had no money at all.

  18. I showed my parents a letter from jobcentre detailing sanctions. They were shocked by it. My father said it was cruel and mum said it was like a criminal being punished. I wonder when you look at other countries benefits why they do not get treated the way we do. Quite a few places have more generous help.

    • It’s because the real parasites in this country are the banksters and the arostocracy. Other countries have banksters, true, but SFAIK we’re alone in Europe in not having removed our aristocracy centuries ago. They can read history just like I can, that’s why I say they’re terrified. they’ll try anything, they’ve got nothing to lose. This hasn’t started getting nasty yet but the nastier it gets the more people in general will understand what’s happening and consider rebellion of some kind.

  19. The Tories have learned from the poll tax. Introduce something unpopular all at once nationally and you get national riots. Introduce it a bit at a time and you get away with it. They’re using the boil a frog approach this time.

  20. Pingback: Universal Credit ‘claimant commitment’: no choice, no law, no money – no appeal | SMILING CARCASS'S TWO-PENNETH·

  21. Pingback: ‘Claimant Commitment’ sanction threat falls on jobseekers; blundering DWP staff get away with murder | Vox Political·

  22. The DWP had agreed a payment plan for an over-payment, then 2 weeks before Christmas demanded immediate repayment of the total. fair – NO, reasonable – NO I asked them to reconsider. they REFUSED.

  23. Back in the sixties local offices for benefits had a huge amount of discretion and were able to make decisions that cut people’s income off, or on the other hand agree to go on paying benefits while people did a course and found work. It depended on the individual benefit officer really. The discrimination and unfairness led to the free legal aid centres, where lawyers gave their time for free to help people appeal. This led eventually to much more central rule making to try to make it more equal. The law centres became funded by Legal Aid.
    The headbangingly stupid people who are trying to re-establish workhouses and local tyranny of job seekers will find that they are challenging peoples human rights. The work has to be done all over again. No fair deals in society stay in place without people watching over them and fighting in every legal way to keep that fairness in place. Its like making sandcastles. The tide of greed and ignorance comes back and back but you have to keep shoveling.

  24. The hardest hit will be 54% blind and partially sighted people with little or no access the the technology for UJM and UC. How on earth current and future JSA claimants among them will cope I don’t know.

  25. ok, this is off topic, but i’ve been looking everywhere and the info changes so frequently it’s hard to find out exactly what is right atm.

    I’ve been sanctioned for 2 weeks (the way i did my job search for the 2 years i’ve been unemployed was, apropo of nowt, wrong on my list sign on). The woman who raised the doubt said i wasn’t allowed to appeal. I’ve been looking on the net and it might be that i need to ask for a reconsideration (or review or something) first, but it may also be that a 2 week sanction can’t be appeal or re-reviewed.

    Does anybody on this wonderful blog know what the currently rules are on 2 week sanctions?

    Also, keep up the blog! 😀

    • Sorry to ready about your experience with Jobcentre Plus.

      Once again JCP staff displaying their ignorance about their own rules and denying you your rights.

      https://www.gov.uk/appeal-benefit/what-you-need-to-do

      Your appeal form will be reviewed initially.

      Please contact your local CAB/other support organisation for professional help with the completion of the form.

      Here is an example of an illegal sanction:

      A woman was required to make 6 searches for work every fortnight. One week she could only make one search because the computers in her local library went down. She did the remaining five searches in the following week. The jobcentre stopped her benefits because her searches were not evenly spread.

  26. i got my new agreement yesterday and im supposed to look for work for 40 hours a week plus go to the jobcentre when they want me too..but they wont reimburse my travel and the jobcentre im going to isnt my normal one

    • They think it’s important you have a long commute to sign on now. I believe they have to give you travel expenses though. You should ask your MP to look into this on your behalf, even if they’re Tory. Hassle them back!

  27. Hi aj

    If it is not you usual signing day you are entitled to all travel travel expenses from the Jobcentre.

    The hours you are expected to look for work is inaccurate, please take any offer of help and advice.

  28. I have my first UC review tomorrow and I in no way could fill 35 hours of job searching. There aren’t enough jobs in the whole UK, let alone near me that I could spend that long applying for.
    I need a crown refitting and glasses, I can’t afford them without being on benefits and I have spent years looking for a job with no success beyond exploitative work trials with no job at the end.
    I would wish for a revolution but why should I care, the majority of people here hate the poor and vote in people who hate us all. A large part of this country can rot for all I care.

  29. Pingback: Yet more DWP illegality | The SKWAWKBOX Blog·

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  31. The JSA Claimant Commitment will be underpinned with current JSA legislation.

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/175271/response/431471/attach/2/FoI.4233.response.pdf

    There are no legislative changes accompanying the introduction of the claimant commitment. The commitment will act as the Jobseekers Agreement, and the same rules that apply to the Job seekers Agreement now will continue to apply. Those rules are that in order to be eligible to receive any JSA payments the claimant must have an agreed Job Seekers Agreement in place.

    The actual document and guidance is still under development.

    The Universal Credit Claimant commitment is the one we need to worry about most. However, elements of the UC CC are being eased into current Jobseeker Agreements in a surreptitious manner.

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