Government to “overhaul” benefits sanctions process

Politics and Insights

Independent report shows systematic failings in the way benefit sanctions are communicated and processed.

Posted in The Guardian, Tuesday 22 July 2014, by Patrick Wintour.

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The government is to overhaul the way it treats benefit recipients threatened by sanctions, after an independent report it commissioned showed systematic failings in the process, including disproportionate burdens placed on the most vulnerable.

The report found that the way in which the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) communicated with claimants was legalistic, unclear and confusing. The most vulnerable claimants were often left at a loss as to why their benefits were stopped and frequently they were not informed about hardship payments to which they were entitled, the report said.

It also revealed serious flaws in how sanctions were imposed; providers of the government’s work programme were required to bring in sanctions when they knew the claimants had done nothing wrong, leaving…

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