Most jobseeker agreements ruled unlawful – and the DWP doesn’t care

A reader of my blog has written to me with an update about a case that I referred to her for her expert help some time ago. The appeal against draconian sanctions that she helped our mutual contact to conduct was successful, with the judge ruling that the ‘conditionality’ imposed on a jobseeker was unreasonable – and that the benefit sanction (immediate stoppage) used to punish the supposed miscreant was therefore unlawful.

But the Tory-led government is so single-minded in its determination to penalise benefit claimants for failing to find jobs that don’t exist that it is knowingly ignoring the judicial ruling and the precedent it sets, in order to continue what can only rightly be called persecution of the disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Here’s what she wrote to me:

I am a keen follower of your blog and thought you may be interested in this story…
I have recently helped a Jobseeker (I’ll call him John) to win an appeal at the First Tier Tribunal after his benefit was stopped for allegedly failing to ‘actively seek’ work.
About me
I am a semi-retired business woman and I initially got involved in helping benefit claimants due to the significant and negative impacts of the new Welfare reforms on some of my family and friends.  My deep concern led to offering my services as a volunteer at the CAB and now as a ‘Welfare Champion’ on a part-time basis.  I do this work mainly on a private basis and receive referrals from various sources.  I could not cope with lots of readers contacting me (I am easily traceable), so for this reason I will refer to myself as ‘Mary’.
About John
John has worked from the age of 15 and for over 24 years with a few short breaks, so no-one could ever describe him as a “skiver” or a “shirker”.  However, due to the economic downturn he found himself unemployed for longer than expected and could no longer afford to run his car; regretfully he has had to turn down a number of job offers due to the lack of transport.
At the beginning of 2013 a new Jobseeker Agreement was imposed on John; it required him to take at least 14 steps to look for work – it previously stated 3 as per the current legislation.  It also required him to seek work on-line 7 days per week and to register with the DWP Universal Jobmatch site, which incidentally is not mandatory, nor is it a condition for receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance despite what Jobcentre Advisers might tell claimants.
Jobcentre errors in law and procedure!
John took 10 strong steps, which included applying for 4-5 jobs to help him secure employment each week during the period in doubt, but the Jobcentre thought this was not good enough and his benefit was stopped for 4 weeks!  From my experience unless a claimant fulfils every detail of their agreement the majority will be sanctioned.  This is wrong, both legally as well as procedurally!   In this particular case I uncovered numerous procedural, policy as well as legal mistakes.
The impact of Jobcentre mistakes!
John was completely stunned and bewildered by the sanction; the impact was immediate and significant.  He had no money and was unable to source a food parcel or any assistance from Social Services, so he was completely destitute for 2 weeks.  
The regulations do not allow access to an immediate hardship payment if you are not in a vulnerable group I.e., you are sick or, have dependent children.  The hardship payment he received after 2 weeks was £43.02pw (his usual payment is £71.70pw) for the remainder of the sanction period. He was already struggling financially and feeling low due to being unemployed for over a year and Christmas was on the horizon.  Those feelings darkened and he felt suicidal at times, due to his mistreatment by Jobcentre Plus.  He could not pay his bills or afford to eat properly and he certainly could not afford to buy his children any Christmas gifts. 
And, to this day he has still not recovered from the loss of his benefits (his arrears are pending).  The sanction has not made him any more motivated than he was previously; it has just made him very angry and mistrustful of Jobcentre Staff, hence the reason he was keen to help others by sharing this story.
Sanctions are only used as a last resort!
The government keeps claiming sanctions are only applied as last resort and if a Jobseeker wilfully does not to keep to their side of the bargain (the Jobseeker’s Agreement).  This certainly is not true in John’s case, so what is the real reason for the sanction….performance expectations (targets to you or I), reducing the unemployment count, saving money or all 3?   
Jobseekers are being set up to fail by Jobcentre Plus!
An ex DWP employee has confirmed:
“But the truth is that benefit claimants are being deliberately set up to fail in order to achieve sanction quotas without regard for natural justice or their welfare. Staff are being asked to behave in a manner that is against the department’s values of integrity and honesty.” 
Suspected criminals are treated more fairly in this country than the sick and the unemployed; they are innocent until found guilty, receive swift and free legal assistance, a bed, food, water and a roof over their heads.
In my view all these sanctions are unjustifiable and certainly do not match the offence. A low level sanction of 4 weeks sanction incurs a c£200 penalty for people over 25 years of age like John, who is already living well below the bread line according the EU  
A speeding ticket is £60 to people who can generally afford to run a car and the offender is given time to challenge the penalty before it is imposed.
What does the law – the Jobseeker’ Act actually say….
The duty to actively seek work is not to be found in the job seekers agreement but in S7 of the jobseeker’s Act. S7(1), which provides:
“a person is actively seeking work if he takes in that week such steps as he could reasonably be expected to have to take in order to have the best prospects of securing employment.”
More detail is set out in regulation 18 of the Regulations. Regulation 18(1) provides that:
“… a person shall be expected to have to take more than two steps in any week unless taking one or two steps is all that is reasonable for that person to do in that week.”
Mr Commissioner Williams held at para 10 & 14 of CJSA/1814/2007 (case law)
That is illustrated by this appeal. C was required by his Agreement to take 6 steps each week and several other steps from time to time. That is clearly more steps than the regulation requires of him to meet the test of “actively seeking work”. And it is more steps than the Agreement asked him to record. On the facts, the secretary of state’s representative now accepts that C took four steps in the week and that those four steps met the test in section 7(1).” 
Further, there is nothing in the Act or the Regulations requiring that a claimant must comply with everything in the Agreement. The reverse is the case. Theagreement must comply with the law. To be valid, a jobseeker’s agreement must comply “with the prescribed regulations in force”: section 9(1) of the Act. The pattern of the legislation is that a jobseeker’s agreement must comply with the test of actively seeking work in sections 1(2)(c) and 7 of the Act and regulation 18 of the Regulations and not the other way round.”
The Outcome of this case – Success!
Using this piece of case law the appeal was allowed, because the judge determined John (the appellant) was actively seeking work as per section 7 of the Jobseeker’ Act 1995 and he took significantly more than 2 steps to in order to have the best prospects of seeking work (Reg. 18 JSA Regs 1996)!
What does this outcome mean?
This result confirms that Jobseeker Allowance claimants are unwittingly agreeing to unreasonable, thus unlawful Jobseeker Agreements (soon to become JSA Claimant Commitments) and, as a result 1000s are being sanctioned unfairly.
However, this achievement is a hollow victory for the thousands of Jobseekers expected to comply with their Jobseeker’s Agreements.
This Tribunal ruling does not set a precedent for DWP to follow. As far as DWP are concerned “it will be business as usual”.  DWP’s position will remain that if an individual claimant wishes to challenge their Jobseekers Agreements on the basis of this Tribunal ruling they will have to jump through all the various hoops.  Most will decide it is not worth their while and I know from my own experiences how difficult it can be.  Further, the claimant must have the capacity to do so (many claimants are vulnerable) and they must also know that their Jobseekers Agreement is unlawful. The majority will not and as for the handful of claimants that do, DWP will cope with these people.

What we appear to be dealing with here is, maladministration by the DWP on a grand scale affecting 1000s of individuals. 
What can people do?
I would strongly urge those who have been affected to get in touch with their MP to raise this important issue. 
And, you must appeal.
Read the recent news reports about unfair sanctions….
“70,000 job seekers’ benefits withdrawn unfairly, says think-tank”
I believe it is significantly higher.
Rising rates of successful appeals have been seen as a sign that the system for penalising those deemed to have broken job-seeker agreements is flawed.

This is absolutely vital information. Any jobseeker who can demonstrate that s/he has taken more than 2 ‘reasonable steps’ a week (or fewer if it is not reasonable to expect them to do that many) to find work has complied with the law. A jobseeker’s ‘agreement’ or JSA ‘claimant commitment’ is a fluid plan and is supposed to guide a claimant into work. If it imposes excessive and unreasonable steps for a claimant’s particular circumstances, it is unenforceable, as John’s case clearly demonstrates. According to the law, ‘excessive’ means more than 3 and any sanctions imposed for not meeting additional conditions is not legally valid. Any claimant sanctioned for failing to meet such an illegal requirement has a right to have it overturned on appeal.

And the scale of this is enormous.

‘Mary’ is right that the numbers stated for people sanctioned are vastly understated in the sources she quotes. 818,000 people had been sanctioned by late Feb 2014, just since the end of 2012.

But the DWP doesn’t care. It relies on the fact that only about 2% of people sanctioned formally appeal to get away with breaking the law 98% of the time – and on ignorance to keep it that way.

This government will never be shamed into changing its treatment of unemployed, disabled and otherwise disadvantaged people – it thinks it has found a formula to make its actions popular: the demonising of the vulnerable.

If it won’t be shamed, it must be removed – and that means relentlessly spreading the word on this and its many other misdeeds so that the election in 2015 becomes unwinnable for these shameless criminals. Please help to do so – publicise this, write to your MP and write to the press until they pay attention.

And if you’ve been sanctioned for failing to comply with an unlawful sanction – appeal, appeal, appeal and seek publicity for your appeal until the scale of the illegality can’t be ignored.

164 responses to “Most jobseeker agreements ruled unlawful – and the DWP doesn’t care

  1. Fantastic, thank goodness there are people like yourselves who understand all the complexities, personally I would like to see IDS and the dreaded McVey in the village stocks! On behalf of all bruised and battered jobseekers I thank you for your efforts. Can’t press on with recon for my friend as he has been waiting three months now for written statement of reasons for original sanction decision but MP now on the job so I now we will hear soon, DWP offices do not like getting MP correspondence.

      • Angel
        The tribunal rules require that a copy of the mandatory reconsideration notice is included with the claimant’s notice of appeal.
        10 It is understood that to facilitate that, claimants will be sent two copies of the mandatory reconsideration notice. However, it should also be noted that the tribunal has the power to waive the requirement to include a copy (as with any other requirement under the tribunal rules)
        11 – so that a claimant who identifies her/his revision decision well enough might have her/his appeal accepted even without a copy of the mandatory reconsideration notice.

    • Direct your MP to (UK) – Checkout two of their YouTube videos: The 2min52 “Why Do Banks Make So Much Money?” and the 3min19 “How money gets destroyed – Banking 101 (Part 6 of 6).” After viewing,I’m sure you will agree,this stupid Man-Made ‘monetary’ system needs to go – NOW.

    • WE WON, I have previously posted on this site about helping a friend with a mandatory recon following a JSA sanction. I am sitting here with tears running down my face, it has taken six months to get a decision, hours and hours of reading regulations, gaining info from this site, three letters to an MP and finally a decision. It will be great for him to get the money back but I think the letter should have offered an apology for all the distress and upset it caused at the time. This site was most helpful, particularly the appeal decision posted by Mary, they accepted every single defence offered, the time the person had been unemployed and on IB prior to being migrated to JSA, ongoing medical treatment not taken into account, steps taken in the sanction period were reasonable given his circumstances etc. A good result but a hollow victory really considering the awful effect it had on my friend at the time. I can understand why a lot of people don’t do this, it takes patience, persistence, and research. Thanks for your help.

      • Well done, Angel, I’m delighted for you and your friend – and thanks to Mary, whose many contributions here have been fantastic.

        The travesty is that such victories have to be fought for in the first place, and that it takes so long and so much pain to undo what should never be happening.

  2. Just thought I would let you know about a very important debate had in Parliament yesterday regarding Sanctions on the face of it an Urgent review has been called for and when it is urgent it means just that, within weeks we will know the sheer scale of this massive problem, not that we don’t already know this way it will hopefully suspend the use of sanctions until another way can be found if such action is needed at all.

    That this House notes that there have been many cases of sanctions being wrongfully applied to benefit recipients; and calls on the Government to review the targeting, severity and impact of such sanctions.

    the full debate can be read here.

    • Thanks Jerry!

      The scale of the problem is beyond belief!. I assisted a vulnerable, lone parent this week with a mental health condition; she was sanctioned despite taking 34 steps to look for work. I visited her home and I felt like crying, she has nothing and her home was freezing cold!

      She was so confused and stressed on the day she was informed her benefit was being suspended. I hope my appeal is actioned swiftly!

      • this is also interesting from the MP who called the urgent debate

        Mary, like I have mentioned before in these matters I often find it is quicker using Judicial Review, even a simply letter purporting to take the department to Judicial Review has often worked out okay for me with other clients,

        Day in day out we see these horror stories and we have to restrain ourselves from shaking these people who cause these abhorrent situations, the branches are falling off the tree now and the tolerance once had had disappeared and now action seems to be happening

      • I have been sanctioned too, Mary, even though amongst the papers in the appeal bundle it clearly states that I have exceeded the number of steps *required* in my JSAG!


    I’ve created a petition in the link above, to challenge the way “justice” for the unemployed is currently meted out.

    I’ve adressed the petition to the ECHR because a) Not a whole lot seems to be getting done within our current justice system and b) Having an “outside perspective” on this urgent matter of social justice, might not necessarily be a bad thing.

    Feel free to sign and share if you feel similarly.

  4. what about the European court of human rights the government seem to always bring this up for immigrants cant we ourselves brig it in to the welfare state to set its precedent if the courts of appeal cant make headway maybe this way the government will be held to answer for their mistaken and unlawfull sanctions

  5. “Hardship 09/04/2014 at 5:16 pm · ·
    I have been sanctioned too, Mary, even though amongst the papers in the appeal bundle it clearly states that I have exceeded the number of steps *required* in my JSAG!”


    Are you representing yourself at the appeal? I would be delighted to assist if you need any help.

    I am trying gather evidence of other cases.

    • Yes, Mary it’s state on the ASE stencil which is in the Appeal bundle: “Number of steps as required by claimant on JSAG 20, Number of steps actually completed 30”. It hasn’t held any sway with the ‘decision maker’ who is taking the DWP line of given my circumstances, skills, experiences etc, it is unreasonable that I *only* did X, Y and Z and that I “didn’t take the best steps possible” and “do all you could do to find work”.

      One thing I haven’t done (because I had already submitted the Appeal before I read this blog) was include the case referenced to. Is is too late or do I have to introduce it at the Tribunal hearing. And yes, I am representing myself. Is that a good/bad idea?

      • Hardship, it is very difficult representing yourself, you can add anything you see fit that will benefit your arguments in the appeal tribunal courts, as you will have noticed it is the DWP submit the “Core Bundles” those are never agreed upon nor are your views taken into account if you need to file any more evidence, what I find easier is when you need to file further evidence simply write a letter to the Tribunal Clerk dealing with your case and ask the evidence be put in to the Core Bundle, failing that it is possible to pop in to the tribunal and speak to the clerk face to face then give them the evidence you want to put in. you can add further evidence at any time up to and including the tribunal hearing, however to be respectful to the tribunal it is best filing the evidence as soon as it is available to do so

      • Hardship, I agree with Jerry. I submitted evidence after the initial appeal was sent to the tribunal. I found out the court would not pay my expenses or move the case to a court near me, so I prepared a list of questions that I expected the Judge to ask and sent the replies to HMCTS.

        I clearly provided all the necessary evidence as neither of us has to attend and the judge decided the case on the paper evidence alone.

        Have you got a hearing date yet? Would you be prepared to share your case with me?

      • Hey Mary,😉

        I heard back from the paper tribunal. Apparently it adjourned as it could not arrive at a decision, and asked that i would instead turn up to an oral hearing.

        I have replied that i do not mind attending a hearing, however, due to the fact that i have not received any JSA, for about 2 months now, that I would require a refund for any travel/communication expenses, including postage/photocopying and train tickets.

        I think this is reasonable.

        I will continue to keep posting updates.

        Best of luck hardship.

        – dan

      • Thanks for the update Dan.

        I am aware you can claim travel expenses and even hotel costs if necessary. Not sure about the copying and printing.

        I feel encouraged by the response of the tribunal. You are a very persuasive and informed guy, so hopefully your oral evidence will be convincing.

        Let me know if I can assist you in any way.

      • Yes, I have now received a hearing date.

        It is slightly more complicated in that the DWP have made a monumental blunder (well, it is the DWP after all), without saying too much on a public forum they are responding to a decision that has already been ‘won’. I am just playing along with it since though since it puts me in a stronger position.

        I probably will represent myself, and it is not something that I am particularity fazed about. I am really just going to put across the case referenced in this blog, the fact that I have exceeded the number of steps in the JSAG, and the DWP appears to be conflating the ‘old’ JSA rules with the ‘new’ Universal Credits regulations.

        Oh yes, and the Appeal has also been ‘linked’. That’s why I received two mandatory reconsideration notices; I thought at first it was just another DWP (deliberate) blunder.

        I also realise that the Tribunal will more or less have made up their mind before the actual Hearing.

        PS I can share any information you want, Mary
        PPS Thanks dan

        Happy Easter everyone🙂

      • Thanks Hardship!

        Can you post the outcome here and we can then contact each other via Steve.

        I am quietly confident based on the information you have posted.

        Have you done the labour market research?

        Did you have a look at the mandatory re-consideration/ appeal template I posted here too?

        All the best!

      • @ dan The Tribunal will refund expenses for:

        Travelling – The cost of your travel to and from the place where the hearing is held);

        Taxi Fares – In special circumstances. For example if not public transport is available or or health or disability make it difficult for you to use suitable public transport;

        Living Expenses – If you are away from home for more than 5 hours and have to buy a meal you can claim £4.25

        If you are away from home for more than 10 hours and have to buy pay for 2 meals you can claim £9.30

        If you are away from home for more than 12 hours and have to pay for meals you can claim £13.55; this will only apply if you left home before breakfast.

        If in special circumstances you need to stay in a hotel overnight, you can claim living expenses; £85 (inner London), £80 (Leeds), £65 (elsewhere)

        Loss of Work Earnings – If you lose work earnings because you are at the hearing, you can claim help towards these.

        If you are away from work for less than four hours you can claim up to £37.06

        If you are away from work four hours or more you can claim up to £71.80

        Carer Expenses – You can claim care expenses (for example, if you have to pay a child-minder). This will be up to a maximum of £6.31 an hour for each child or adult.

        Attendees from Overseas – If you are attending a hearing from outside of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). We will normally pay your expenses from your place of entry into Great Britain.

      • Thanks, Mary

        What do you mean by labour market research?

        I have looked at the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice you posted and will try and incorporate it into the Appeal hearing particular the case law.

        I will post what happens; there is still a few more weeks to go. And after it is all done and dusted I may be enable to explain the DWP blunder in a bit more detail, but if you have experience of these matters you may be able to work it out.

      • PS Mary I know where you are on another forum, if you are really interested I can PM you on there.

      • Unless you are another ‘Mary’, you just ‘sound’ kind of similar🙂

      • Hey guys/gals.

        I’m starting to wonder if the amount of administrational errors that the DWP is making in this small sub-set of data (those posting to this site) alone is indicative of a larger, more widespread problem. I have encountered many mistakes and/or contradictions in my personal dealings with the DWP, all of which i have logged and archived, in an attempt to try and present a bit of accountability and transparency, 2 things that the DWP seems to shy away from en masse.

        These “mistakes”, when added up seem to be an attempt to try and tilt the cases in the favour of the DWP. At the very least they confuse matters further, which will lead to in my humble opinion, less people challenging them e.t.c. Therefore i am truly starting to question whether these “mistakes” are accidental or malign in intent.

        They range from small subtle “mistakes” or contradictions, such as the correspondence received when informing a benefit has been sanctioned/stopped including conflicting terminology and dates e.t.c, to other such as outright omittance of steps taken on the internal ASE forms.

        Perhaps others could post if they have received any conflicting/confusing or erroneous letters or correspondence from the DWP, and see if this is indeed a widespread phenomenon/tactic.
        As a collation of data will help to see any trends that might be occurring.

      • The Department of Work and Pensions has been accused of “industrial scale incompetence” after accepting it could not reclaim £361m of overpaid benefits last year.

        I should imagine this applies in all areas of DWP business and that is why it is important people complain to their MPs.

        Michael Meacher MP cited many examples of unreasonable and unfair sanctions being applied to his constituents in the House of Commons recently.

      • P.s thanks for the heads-up on costs hardship😉

        Postage is also another fairly costly factor, thus far i’ve spent nearly £5. I’ve included it along with photocopies in a cost break-down, along with receipts if they are needed.

      • p.p.s thanks for the offer of assistance Mary, and the kind words. I should be o.k though i think, i’ll just give account of the situation, and see what prevails😉


    To be adapted and tailored to individual need. If you are not sure what to write, seek professional help or ask here.

    ASE Mandatory Reconsideration Submission – Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 1996

    DWP Secretary of State


    1. This is a request for a reconsideration against the decision made by the Secretary of State on X that I am not entitled to JSA for the period X to X inclusive; because I was not actively seeking work.

    Consideration of individual circumstances to determine reasonable prospects
    JS Act 95, s 7(2)(a); JSA Regs, reg 18(2); 2 JS Act 95, s 7(2)(b); JSA Regs, reg 18(3)

    2. I ask the Decision Maker to take into account my circumstances, which Jobcentre Plus are duty bound to consider in terms of S7 of the Jobseekers Act 1995. S7(1),:

    State relevant circs:

    I ask the Decision Maker to make every possible effort to try to ascertain the full extent of my situation at the relevant times in relation to my Jobseeker’s Agreement and the requirement to actively seek employment. JS Act 95, s 7(2)(b); JSA Regs, reg 18(3).

    The legislation & case law

    3. The duty to actively seek work is not in any case to be found in the job seekers agreement but in S7 of the Act. S7(1) provides:

    “a person is actively seeking work if he takes in that week such steps as he or she could reasonably be expected to have to take in order to have the best prospects of securing employment.”

    4. More detail is set out in regulation 18 of the Regulations. Regulation 18(1) provides that:

    “… a person shall be expected to have to take more than two steps in any week unless taking one or two steps is all that is reasonable for that person to do in that week.”

    Mr Commissioner Williams held at para 10 & 14 of CJSA/1814/2007

    “That is illustrated by this appeal. C was required by his Agreement to take 6 steps each week and several other steps from time to time. That is clearly more steps than the regulation requires of him to meet the test of “actively seeking work”. And it is more steps than the Agreement asked him to record. On the facts, the secretary of state’s representative now accepts that C took four steps in the week and that those four steps met the test in section 7(1).”

    “Further, there is nothing in the Act or the Regulations requiring that a claimant must comply with everything in the Agreement. The reverse is the case. The agreement must comply with the law. To be valid, a jobseeker’s agreement must comply “with the prescribed regulations in force”: section 9(1) of the Act. The pattern of the legislation is that a jobseeker’s agreement must comply with the test of actively seeking work in sections 1(2)(c) and 7 of the Act and regulation 18 of the Regulations and not the othis way round.”

    Consideration of what the claimant did


    X – X (benefit week)
    Step 1 –
    Step 2 –
    Step 3 –
    Step 4 –
    Step 5 –
    Step 6 –
    Step 7 –
    Step 8 –
    Step 9 –

    x – x (benefit week)
    Step 1 –
    Step 2 –
    Step 3 –
    Step 4 –
    Step 5 –
    Step 6 –
    Step 7 –
    Step 8 –
    Step 9 –

    5.1 On the balance of probabilities it is reasonable to assume each job search does not always result in finding a suitable job to apply for, on this basis I must have exceeded the steps recorded on the agreement.

    The JSA regulations state that most Jobseekers are required to take at least 2 steps per week to satisfy the reasonable test of actively seeking work (Regulation 18(1)). I have significantly exceeded this requirement in each week.

    Determination of reasonable prospects

    6. It is impossible for Jobcentre advisers to accurately determine the best and most reasonable steps as per S7 of the Act. S7(1) for each Jobseeker as they cannot be competent in every occupational area (there are more than 2000) or the labour market for each industry and location. There were no opportunities available in XXXXXX (towns) in XXXXXX (occupations) and that require XXXXXXXX (skills, quals etc), during the period in doubt.

    Consideration of mitigating factors, errors in law and in fact

    7. For all the aforementioned reasons I cannot comprehend the Jobcentre’s decision to apply a sanction on the basis that I failed to take all the steps within the agreement. Legal professionals will know that the Jobseeker’s Agreement is not a contract, but a fluid plan of suggested activities, which can change for a variety of reasons from week to week. For example, due to the prevailing labour market conditions, personal circumstances, technology issues, religious and bank holidays etc. This is verified within DWP’s Decision Makers’ Guide. Further, Commissioner William’s describes the requirements of law in regards to the actively seeking employment regulations accurately and succinctly. Case law is binding and must be applied by the tribunal judge as well as the DWP Decision Maker.

    Absence of evidence by DWP

    8. Jobcentre Plus has not been able to provide any information or evidence to support the following:

    • I failed to apply for all suitable jobs and the steps he took were unreasonable for my circumstances.
    • I must comply with all the steps within the Jobseeker’s Agreement.

    9. I submit for these reasons and the circumstances that prevailed at the time, I did all that could reasonably be expected of me in terms of S7 of the Act or Regulation 18 and therefore that JSA remains payable to me during the period in question and so I ask the DM to revise the decision.


    Jobseeker Agreement /JSA Claimant Commitment
    Job search diary



  7. Hi Dan

    The key problem is, the policy/guidance provided to DWP staff.

    A response to a FOI question by a Jobseeker querying why the steps in his JSAg had significantly increased to 15-20 steps per week:

    “It might be helpful to explain that the adviser and claimant agree a set of personalised activities which, if completed, offer the claimant best prospects of finding work. These agreed steps are quantified on the Jobseeker’s Agreement as a number of steps which the claimant will take in order to satisfy the requirement to actively seek employment.”

    This is mirrored within the Decision Maker’s Guide, but it does not accurately reflect the JSA legislation.

    Over the past 2 years the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Universal Credit) has crept into Jobseeker Agreement, thus making them unlawful.

    Many people complain on forums and to the CAB that they have not been properly notified and only find out about a sanction when they try to pay for goods/food on the day their benefit is due.

    I believe most people fail to appeal because they accept if the do not do everything within their JSAg a sanction must be justified. Others will go into survival mode and run out of time to appea, see:
    The rest will not have the ability to challenge the system or to seek help; many claimants caught by the aggressive and unfair regime are vulnerable; due to the ‘targets’ advisers fail to apply discretion. I have recently assisted another person who has a mental health condition amongst other things.

    John’s case was particularly challenging even though I know the system!

    Not sure there will be too much response to your queries here.

  8. Just refused to sign claimant commitment on grounds that I do not understand all aspects of requirements. Both by legal definition of “standing under” and in cognitive terms of understanding pieces of legislation being referred to. Also some data protection issues being flouted. Ironically I had no probs with my commitments or the process of showing evidence of steps taken to find work but the conditions I had to sign on the back were a step too far. I was told if I didn’t sign the it would be sent to a decision maker and my benefit would be suspended. The adviser (coach) was ok and no complaints about how I was treated but this is just wrong. I also believe there is a cooling off period for JSA claimants but I am not going to sign this because the DWP are acting illegally. Thanks for running this blog, it gives people a little bit of sanity and reassurance that they are not imagining the impossible levels of conditionality being imposed on them to claim what they are legally eligible for.

  9. Had a response to the Petition I lodged with the DWP department I will put on here their response, it, well, ermmm, yes, answers on a post card, sorry for long post…..


    The Appeals Process against the Sanctioning and Removal of State Benefits

    The Humble Petition of Jerry Lonsdale, a Lay Advocate/McKenzie Friend residing in Merseyside, England,

    Declares that, the Petitioner’s client, Miss Deborah Davies residing in Merseyside, England, who was a Litigant in Person, found herself in severe hardship for
    28 Apr 2014 : Column 9P

    a period of over two years following significant delays in the determination of her appeal(s) against sanctions placed upon her by the Department of Work and Pensions, thus, accumulating in the none receipt of state benefits for these said periods:-

    1. 20/04/2012-03/05/2012

    2. 27/04/2012-25/10/2012

    3. 11/05/2012-08/11/2012

    The Petitioner assisted Miss Davies throughout the whole of the appeals process, over two years, which reached its conclusion on the 6th day of March 2014, the concluding decision was the Appeal was allowed and the sanctions were wrongly applied.

    The Petitioner asserts that those hardships faced by his client as well as the lack of Legal Aid assistance further compounded the difficulties in the way in which his client was able to pursue her such appeal to its conclusion,

    The Petitioner recognises that there is no legal aid support for those people who wish to argue against a sanction or sanctions made against them, through the Tribunal Process. The Petitioner believes that it is difficult for someone to believe the equality of arms when a Litigant in Person is challenging the appealed decisions, alone, whereas in matters contained within this Petition are opposed or challenged by the respective Departments, notably the Department for Work and Pensions, those oppositions are progressed through the process by the use of Tax Payer funded Counsel or Representing Officers.

    The Petitioner raises that, in this specific appeal, the Department for Work and Pensions failed on all occasions to attend any preliminary, or directional hearings, nor was there any Representing Officer present during the final hearing of the said appeal, despite the requests made by Her Gracious Majesties Courts and Tribunals Service, on six separate occasions, over a two-year period, the respective Department failed to communicate or respond to those requests made by HMCTS, and, failed to attend on all six reported occasions.

    The Petitioner raises that, during a directional hearing on the 25 May 2013, the Tribunal Judge, Mr Cooke, requested that, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Rt. Honourable lain Duncan Smith MP do attend at the next timetabled hearing in order to explain the notable failings of his Department, again the Petitioner notes that his attendance did not happen, however, the respective Department simply applied to the Tribunal for a stay of proceedings,

    The Petitioner asserts that from the 25 May 2013 until the conclusion of the appeal on the 6 March 2014 the Department for Work and Pensions applied on four separate occasions for a stay of proceedings, those stays were granted because of the Department’s exclusive powers contained within Section 26 of the Social Security Act 1998 to stay, any and all appeals within that calendar years legislation, pending the outcome of a test case, the Petitioner asserts that, that was an abuse of power due to the Petitioner’s Clients Appeal which fell outside the parameters of the test case and was made significantly prior to that of the test case being made, and, that the test case was challenging the consequential years legislation, that year being 2012 and not 2011 as in the Petitioners Clients Appeal.

    28 Apr 2014 : Column 10P

    The Petitioner had applied for the Tribunal Court not to accept the application made for the stays applied for by the Department of Work and Pensions, however, until the start of this year, the Petitioners applications were not responded upon.

    The Petitioner wholeheartedly asserts that, due to the significant delays in reaching the conclusion of his Client’s Appeal, Miss Deborah Davies suffered undue and severe hardship and was prevented from concluding her appeal matters in a timeframe that reduced those hardships faced. The detrimental effect further compounded Miss Deborah Davies’s place in society in that she was on many occasions destitute and in significant risk of losing her home due to the sanctions placed upon her by the Department of Work and Pensions.

    The Petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons Justice Committee investigates the procedures that are used within the English and Welsh Tribunal Courts, and that the House of Commons Justice Committee calls for the provision of independent legal assistance for those people who wish to appeal against Department of Work and Pensions Sanctions, The Petitioner also requests that the same committee urgently review the benefit appeal process in the view that delays and not attendance by Representing Officers does not further delay any of the appeal process similar to those aforementioned above.

    The Petitioner further requests that the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee investigates procedures and formulates fresh legislation for when people who are faced with applied Sanctions, do not face compounded and further hardships until the outcome of any applied appeals are concluded, in that, the person appealing should still be entitled to receive State assistance through a state benefit, including any required Housing Benefit.

    The Petitioner finally requests that the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee make available a direct compensation scheme open to those people who through no fault of their own are faced with those difficulties outlined within this Petition, specifically, those people significantly affected by the noted failing state benefit appeal processes, most notably, when an appeal is found in favour of the appellant, costs incurred by the appellant should be recoverable and compensation should be duly made available to the appellant.

    And your petitioner, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.—[Presented by John Hemming , Official Report, 17 March 2014; Vol. 577, c. 3P.]


    Observations from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, received 22 April 2014:

    First, it is important that this issue is put in context both in terms of the policy on sanctions and the background against which the handling of the appeal took place.

    The policy

    Claimants have responsibilities they must meet in order to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). The action they will undertake each week to improve their employability and look for work is discussed and agreed with their adviser and then set out within their Jobseeker’s Agreement (JSAg) or Claimant Commitment (CC). We work to ensure that all such mandatory requirements are reasonable
    28 Apr 2014 : Column 11P

    given the claimant’s capability and circumstances and they should be personalised to their specific situation, taking into account any restrictions such as health conditions or caring responsibilities.

    We do not want to sanction claimants, and that is why this Government removed any sanction targets. The Department’s objective is that sanctions should only be imposed where, without good reason, claimants have not taken reasonable action to give themselves the best possible prospects of getting a job. Where they do fail to comply they have the opportunity to explain why. Each case is reviewed on its own merits and all evidence is considered by a trained decision maker. Where the claimant had “good reason” no sanction will be applied and their benefit will not be stopped. Even where a sanction is applied claimants can ask for the decision to be reconsidered, and can appeal to an independent tribunal. Hardship payments are also available to guard against destitution and sanctioned claimants can apply for such payments which, depending on a claimant’s circumstances, can be as much as 80% of normal JSA payments.

    The background

    On 6 August 2012 Caitlin Reilly and Jamieson Wilson were granted permission by the High Court to apply for a Judicial Review. This was a challenge to the validity of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment and Enterprise) Regulations 2011 (“the Regulations”) and two schemes made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (“the Secretary of State”) purportedly under the powers conferred by the Regulations.

    At this point any further action on Miss Davies’s case, together with all other cases which were deemed to be affected by the High Court’s decision, was halted. The judgment potentially affected the sanctions imposed on Miss Davies and so until the issue had been finally resolved the decision was taken to halt any further action on affected cases.

    On 12 February 2013 the Court of Appeal gave its judgment. The Department issued further guidance on the handling of the affected cases. This advised that no action was to be taken on affected cases whilst the Department considered its position. In the event this involved introducing retrospective amending regulations and appealing to the Supreme Court. In October 2013 the Supreme Court gave its judgment upholding (in part) the Court of Appeal’s decision. Action on affected cases was subsequently taken with Miss Davies’s appeal being heard in March 2014.

    The Petitioner’s requests

    Legal aid. It is the Government’s position that claimants do not require paid representation before a First-tier
    28 Apr 2014 : Column 12P

    Tribunal. This is an informal, non-legalistic forum where a claimant can get a fair hearing and justice can be done without paid legal representation. Indeed appeals can succeed even where the appellant does not attend.

    Appeals process and attendance of Presenting Officers. In 2013 three major changes were introduced for the way Department handles disputes and appeals: Mandatory Reconsideration of decisions; direct lodgement of appeals with HMCTS; specific time limits for how long DWP has to respond to appeals.

    Mandatory Reconsideration is the process all claimants must go through before they can appeal against a benefit decision. It gives a decision maker the opportunity to explain the decision and the claimant a further opportunity to clarify his circumstances and provide new evidence. The aim is to resolve disputes as early as possible and reduce unnecessary demand on HMCTS by resolving more disputes internally. With direct lodgement it means that HMCTS receive appeals without delay and can request a response from the Department much sooner. From October this year the response must in law be provided within 28 days for Jobseeker’s Allowance—although the Department is already working with that target.

    The Department’s current policy on sending Presenting Officers to tribunal hearings is to do so when directed and, for example, in complex cases be these around the evidence or the law itself. (It did not send one in Miss Davies’s case because it was not aware of the hearing date.)

    Payment pending the appeal being heard. It is the Department’s policy that, save for Employment Support Allowance, benefit is not paid whilst claimants await the hearing of their appeal. First, from a decision making perspective the decision is not right in law but, moreover, in law it is final until changed on appeal; and it could potentially result in a large overpayment of benefit which may not be recovered.

    Compensation payments. The Department accepts that appeals must be processed without delay. DWP and HMCTS work closely together to ensure that the end to end process is as efficient and quick as possible. But also appeals can be allowed for reasons beyond the control of the decision maker, for example, the appellant produces new evidence at the hearing, the oral evidence given on the day persuades the tribunal, the tribunal takes a different view of the same evidence but not in a way which means that the decision maker’s view was unreasonable or plain wrong. That a tribunal allows an appeal does not mean that any delay must be deemed to have been wrong from the start.

    • Thanks Big Bill

      A complaint has been submitted and compensation is being sought – it is currently with ICE!🙂

  10. I don’t recall having any opportunity to explain any reasons, before I was sanctioned last year. I just got letter saying there was ” some doubt over my eligibility” . Then a few days latter, another letter saying “my benefits has been disallowed”. That was it, sanctioned for 4 weeks.

    • Hi Martyn

      This is a failure in procedure as well as natural justice.

      DWP Standard
      A fundamental error is one in which the outcome is wrong or, an important stage of the decision-making process has been handled incorrectly so that whether or not the outcome was right, there was potential for a wrong outcome. An example of the latter would be where a sanction is imposed and a claimant has not been given the opportunity to comment.

      Was the sanction before or after 28/10/13?

      Did you appeal?

    • Brilliant, I’m delighted! Just a pity you had to fight so hard to undo such an injustice in the first place – and one that’s becoming ever more common.

  11. Same old Tories, working hard for the working hard hard working hard people BLAH BLAH BLAH.Their full of crap! i doubt if Labor will be any better. Well done to those having the backbone to stand up to the DWP and lovely employees at the joke centre

  12. Hi, to some things up I live on the East coast of the UK in Suffolk. 56 years old and had my money stopped because of where i live and a friends on the settee, was told if i move out and find my own place to live i will get my money again. why should i struggle to live on my own when my friend and me use to share buying food, cooking etc we all know it works out cheaper. Anyway I have had NO MONEY from dwp for nearly 2 years, as said 56 years old not in best of health, I steal and sell item’s from shops, push bikes break into houses all to sell items to buy food and toiletries. I can not get a job, but still try (even now) i look for work. do NOT do drugs of any kind, including alcohol or tobacco. no mobile phone. I use my friends computer to search for work or local papers. And that’s my life. summed up in short. Every day i wish i would just die. Yes i use to work, nearly most of my life. But at 56 i find it hard to get a job, but still keep on looking. And NO i do NOT enjoy stealing but have to for FOOD.

  13. I was made to sign up the claimant commitment last week that will replace my old JSA agreement. In the booklet I was given to fill in every fortnight they have a small box that I have to tick that says that I will create an account on UJM which I already have done a long time ago but it also states that I will make my CV public but up until now I have kept it private. I allow access to my UJM account for the day I sign every fortnight and then deny access as soon as I get home.The worst thing is that I was told by the advisor that if she feels that I am not making enough effort she could suspend my claim and that surely is unfair. I would have to request that the decision maker looks at my case while I survive from that point on a hardship payment. The fairest way would be for the advisor and myself if the situation arose to be able to give our opinions to the decision maker who then could decide before any sanctions are imposed.

  14. My name is tim. I attended my jobcentre in notts, in Bullwell just the other week. The job coach and me filled in the claimants agreement, and both me and her signed it. As we were just winding up, she noticed that she hadn’t put me on the work programme. She then fabricated an excuse to amend my record on the computer, so that I was on the work programme. She then asked me to sign the new agreement, which I refused to do, so she said that she would refer it to a decision maker. I assumed that would mean a sanction. Like a bloody fool, I signed it. Now. I had already signed on, I made sure she put my money thru. She just lied to me, to cover her arse for forgetting to put me on the work programme. I was scared. I am writing to the jobcentre today, to ask for a review, based on the fact that I had already signed my claiments agreement, b4 she realised her mistake. I am now on the sick for 2 weeks, and I am suicidal, and cutting myself. Pls Give me advice on what to ecpect. I am contacting the benefit office today by letter for them to review the situation. And the Nottingham law centre for advice. But it takes soo long.

  15. I was sanctioned for a 14 day period because I had not filled in a jobsearch over the Christmas period. I pointed out that I had done a daily computor search but had not writted it down. Result money stopped for 14 days. I was told by a worker in Jobcentre that I might be able to claim an emergency handout. This claim was denied by other staff members. I claimed anyway and was awarded £50 to last the sanction. I have advised others in my area who have been sanctioned to apply, but they have all been told that it doesn’t exist.

  16. Further to my last visit here I have checked the DWP website and fount the following: When your JSA can be stopped

    Your JSA could be stopped as a penalty (known as a sanction) for example if you:
    don’t go to a Jobcentre Plus when asked
    turn down a job or training
    don’t apply for any jobs
    don’t go to any training booked for you
    leave your job or training without a good reason or because of your behaviour

    A Jobcentre Plus adviser can tell you how long your JSA will be stopped for. It could be up to 3 years.

    You may get hardship payments if you’re suffering financial hardship – check with the Jobcentre.
    Hopefully this will help.

  17. What planet do these toffee nosed morons originate from? I class them worse than demons not fit for purpose and certainly not fit to run the country
    and anyone that votes for this party in may really does need psychological help!

  18. does anyone know if i have to give the job centre 3 months bank statements even though i have been sactioned for refusing to go on MWA.

  19. I have was sanctioned for 3 months in October for not being able to physically attend an work programme appointment due to having an ongoing sports injury, eventhough the job centre was fully aware of this,I had re arranged the appointment and my work programme advisor knew of my injuries and did an over the phone appointment and I had done atleast 15-20 job applications I still got penilised. After I received the letter telling me of the decision I had my advisor call the desicion maker and inform them that I hadn’t technically broken my agreement, two weeks after this I received yet another letter informing me that my sanction had been extended from 2 weeks to three months. I was mortified that I had been given such a severe punishment for something I couldn’t help, the staff both at the local job centre and on the phone intimidated me and dis couraged me to make an appeal. I feel sorry for anyone who gets sanctioned unjustly, I’m lucky because soon after my partner found work. But I dread to think what would happen to anyone who has no support, like I would have.

  20. I for one,are totally disgusted as to what this Tory pig headed lot are doing to the poorest in our society.

  21. The staff at the job centre and DWP should not be so cocky as people are getting a good understanding of the law, and the invented numb skull regulations they are using.Some people will eventually beat them at their own sick game.

  22. Thank you for this . Worked since 1975 and paid NI since then . Austerity created by bankers, and I am redundant from social services after 25yrs . Less help for the patients and family. More work for existing staff, Signed on for 12wks,and been sanctioned,(no money for utilities etc), because I did not look enough on the job match site, (still can not find any average pay jobs on there). Instant judgment from “Job centre plus”, who are there to stop your benefits, not find you a worthwhile job.
    The attitude from day one to me was appalling as if I was a criminal.
    Just overturned the (instant) sanction decision, as I have found a part time job ,(at age 60 you take it), but the “job” centre told me to work full time. So part time or stay on the dole till I get my state pension in 6 years? As Ian Duncan smith said,” we have made a trip wire”, – and I was tripped. Thank you Mr Smith
    This is vilification and scape goating of the poor the likes we did not see even during Thatchers time.
    There needs to be more organisation against what is happening, as the fragmented approach at the moment. What that is ,I do not know. People in work have not got a clue what may be their destiny.
    Regards to you all.


    • The only difference between working and not working is time. Every hard working person is going to be unemployed at sometime in their working life.

  23. After 18 months I have also won compensation for the claimant on the grounds of gross inconvenience.

  24. I missed my signing on time as a result of forgetting, due to chasing up my DBS checks for a job I was offered. I appealed and my tribunal was held in Newport ,Gwent. Wales. The judge ruled it was an unjust descision. I would encourage everyone to appeal. Ps, I would also encourage everyone to use their vote and make/prevent as many Tory or other right wing politicians unemployed/ gaining a seat in Parliament in this years general election. The last comment also applies to the Lib Dem lackeys.
    “The peoples flag is deepest red, its shrouded in our martyred dead…..”


    The poor, in or out of work, of all ages, now outnumber most other voters in most voting areas throughout the UK.

    So from 18 to poor pensioner (and pensioners are mostly within the working poor as the state pension is lowest of all rich nations), your vote to reduce the number of Tory or Lib Dem MPs, has the greatest effect since voting began for all the people.


    Putting your pencil cross in the box by a different party’s name and logo, on the ballot sheet that the official will give you in the polling station, is about food and shelter for your kids, your granny and grandad, as well as yourself.


    The parties that have proven themselves to be anti-austerity – against welfare state abolition – by deeds not just pious words, are on me website, gathered together on one personal website to help you.

    I’m not a member of anything.

  26. My Job Centre Plus office has attempted to force me onto an MWA scheme three times since last October 2014. If it wasn’t for their shambolic administration they would have succeeded in sanctioning me by now, but on every occasion so far, their decision makers have ruled in my favor.
    In a fortnight or so I am expecting JCP to raise a fourth ‘doubt’ about my eligibility for Job seekers Allowance due to the failure of my fourth MWA referral.
    I have another extremely legitimate reason for not attending this time too. The point is, it makes a mockery of law and fair play, when every time they lose an appeal to their ‘decision makers’ they re-refer you again, and again, and again… until you are finally sanctioned.
    To add insult to injury, now…they have turned to their customer compliance team who ‘suspended’ my benefit for not answering my door last week! So I was pretty annoyed when the chap invited himself around a second time.

    The DWP sanction process is a target driven farce, tantamount to harassment, and an affront to decency; and so anyone who works for them should expect their victims to have a ‘chip on their shoulder’ from time to time.

  27. Please help me I need your help

    What to do If DWP breaking law , exactly new regulation which comes from Upper Tribunal. In DWP they told me that they still have old guide, but new regulations were established 7 months ago! They left me without any money to leave and i have 2 year old baby. I appealed to Tribunal judge. But their decision was to refuse me. But the reason was even more silly. Please help me. I reffered my case to European Comission. Unfortunatelly I’m not lucku enough I’m not British. I’m from EU. But my country belongs to E Union. I will be very gratefull If anybody could help me. Thank You

  28. I’ve had serious problems with DWP for a long time and have compiled a ten page report detailing a fraction of the malice inflicted on me by JCP/WP/CWP – most recent the WP and CC.
    I would really like you to read it as it is SHOCKING and reveals further proof and escalation of repeat persecution JSA claimants are subjected to and bogus methods/high level cover ups utilised in order to force them off benefits as quickly as possible. I would also really appreciate any help you can offer me ASAP.
    How can I email this attachment to you?

  29. Ii have been sanctioned for another 13 weeks for not going on a cap even though I do voluntary work in a hospital they said its not enough hours

  30. Hi i fink its shokin and so sad that i know absolutaly loads of people who have no intention of workin yet they are in receipt of benefit no questions asked and then the people who are good decent ppl like john are put through hell. After havin mental health struggles im now desperate to work and im on jobseekers allowance i went to an interveiw and was told to cum bk mon,tue and wed to get trainin 9am til 8.30pm but i was ment to sign on on t tuesday iv give the jobcenter no reason to think im a liar they av been informed of my. interveiws and everything,this was all realy quick but i went for the trainin monday my break was 1.15pm til 1.45pm so i rang my work coach but had to speak to some one elseas she wasnt available id explained i cudnt sign on tuesday as i had training they. told me i had to attend signin so i asked if i shud sign but lose this job oppertunity they sed no yet i had to agree to sign 10.30am i cudnt b 2 places at once so i went trainin bt today was t third n last day and i went the jobcenter instead as i was worried theyd stop my money and i owed ppl money id borrowed to get sumet smart to wear but now a decision has to be made to see if il be sanctioned coz i didnt sign tuesday also they say i have to apply frm ujm for jobs and i end up in a cult like group that waste ur time coz ther are no vacancys ther cons to send u out sellin door to door after bein trickd into signin forms agreein to be self employed i have reason to belive t jobcenter want u 2 go to these time wasters so that wen u cnt attend signing on u have no company ther to say u wer at a place of theres or sumet like that coz the company has the forms u signed sayin ur absolutaly not connected to them in any way,its like u didnt go coz u woke up and fort today il b self employed in nothin,im furious that this country doesnt do out but hurt its own. And il giv my job coach wot for il nt be getin treat like this im just as gud as ne of them id harm no one which actualy makes me alot better n stronger human than any of them who work knowin that ther screwin ppl over t myt aswel be takin food out of ppls mouths n ppl who av workd hard and are not to blame for bein unemployed and suffer every single day coz of it any way and then get wot tiny hope n pennys they av left scamed of them omg its terrible

  31. Statutes are NOT law ,theyre only regulations ,and statutes are not Binding ,not compulsary and not Law,you can refuse to consent to statutes ,on an individuual basis ,statutes and acts of parliament are FICTION and dont exist in fact.
    Council tax ,if you make payments then you enter a contract where no contract sexisted,go to Magistrates court and state you dont consent to statute ,having made no payments you win your case.
    Council tax is from april to april ,if youve paid in previous years ,and make no payments this year then there is no contract.
    Parking fines are illegal as there is no contract ,and you can go to court and say you dont consent to the statute.

  32. Hi the DWP has sanctioned, purposely on 13 occasions since I signed on from January 2016, they even stopped me from going for job interviews in order to obstruct everything I do, finally I had gotten 2 job offers and none of them I could start because the week before I checked my bank account and there was no money in it, as in I did not even know that on purposely they say making admin errors they had sanctioned me a month ago, this lead to instead starting job I became homeless, and 4 exams I’m due to do this month of may 2016, with psychological stress I’m unable to focus and I hope this does not affect me passing exams.

  33. I wasn’t sanctioned but had my JSA suspended – over 6 weeks – but was only told on 12th July (my last payment was 11th June). I have appealed and complained and have now had £300 paid to me today. Why was my JSA suspended? I had been telling my JSA adviser of work completed and showed him my payslips when I received them. I watched my adviser put figures on his computer but it appears he didn’t verify info when I brought payslips in – so my JSA was suspended – without my knowledge – because the JSA wanted info again, but never told me to bring in my payslips in again until after my JSA was suspended. Also, I am disabled and have a 16 year old dependant but ended up without money for 6 weeks. My JSA adviser just ‘sat’ on the 2nd lot of payslips for 2 weeks!
    After I signed on again this week, appealed/complaint made about suspension.
    Then I got a phone call asking me to repeat what I had told my adviser about 4 hours of work! I repeated what I had told him and asked him if he had also put down the three days I had told him about a fortnight ago – he hadn’t put these down either!! Suspicious. I was rung up today and told that I could only keep £5 a week of my earnings! I have made another complaint about this.
    I have now demanded compensation – due to a ruined holiday (no money) and the illegality of my suspension. Before people assume anything – I have been divorced for 8 years and had been married for 10 years. Also, the FE college I had worked in (part-time) was forced to close in March. So, I had (and always had) worked – but we all lost our jobs.
    I don’t think – being a disabled single parent – I should have had my JSA suspended. I have a job from September (20+ interviews) and have completed work occasionally – a few hours per week – but continually get hastled by the job centre.
    Tonight, when I was told I was getting half my JSA and told my suspension was lifted, the JSA adviser was quite annoyed as she could not contact me this afternoon! The problem, I think, stems from JSA phone calls! During the last 2 months I have had numerous mystery telephone calls – with apparently no one on the line :- so I sing Hello, Hello – you say Hello and I say goodbye … Obviously JSA checking up! I have attended 20 interviews, worked sporadically and lots of hospital appointments for my child and myself. Do the JSA think I just sit in my house doing nothing?
    I answer any calls from jobs – but don’t answer caller withheld numbers ! Has anyone encounted such obvious JSA spying?
    I would appreciate as much help as you can.

  34. a couple of years ago I was on the work program, a few issues, they refused to help me get to an interview 30 mins by train away, I went to JCP and asked for help, they said they couldn’t because I was on the WP however as I told them I had an interview they would sanction me if I didn’t go!! I complained, got an MP involved-it got nowhere,anyway when I was on the WP I spoke to a lady in her late 40s, she had been a cleaner all her life, no qualifications she took time off to raise kids but now they were adults she signed on the JCP told her she had to take 22 steps a week to find work, and didn’t count the half a day she was in the WP, it’s on my old blog re the WP complaint

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