What to do if your Universal Credit has been sanctioned as DWP to impose ‘tougher’ rules

what to do if your universal credit has been sanctioned as dwp to impose ‘tougher’ rules

Bringing in tougher sanctions for Universal Credit claimants is part of the Government’s plan to get more people back into work

Universal Credit claimants are to face tougher sanctions from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in the Spring Budget that the sanctions would be applied “more rigorously” to those who fail to meet strict work-search requirements or choose not to take up a reasonable job offer.

The move is part of the Government’s plan to get more people back into work.

The Chancellor said his employment reforms will affect those on Universal Credit without a health condition who are looking for work or on low earnings.

In his Budget speech, he said: “There are more than 2 million jobseekers in this group, more than enough to fill every single vacancy in the economy,”

“Independence is always better than dependence, which is why we believe those who can work, should.”

So what should you do if you get sanctioned? Can you appeal? We explain everything you need to know.

What happens when you are sanctioned?

Sanctions are penalties given to people for failing to meet the conditions of their benefit claim.

If you get a sanction, then your Universal Credit payment will usually be reduced and you will a letter telling you how much it is reduced.

You would usually receive a sanction if you don’t meet the responsibilities you agreed on in your Universal Credit commitment, without good reason.

There are different sanctions depending on which “conditionality group” you’re in and can range from a few days up until 182 days.

The sanction reductions are applied after taking your earnings and unearned income into account.

If there isn’t enough of your Universal Credit left to take the full sanction amount, your Universal Credit payment will be reduced to zero.

How much Universal Credit do I lose?

The amount of Universal Credit you will lose for your sanction will depend on how you get each month.

If you are single and over 25, the sanction will be £11 per day for as long as the sanction lasts and if you are under 25 it will be £8.70 a day.

If you are in a couple and over 25 the sanction will be £8.60 a day and if you are under 25 it will be £6.80.

You may have less money taken off of you for some circumstances, these include if you are under the age of 18 or if you do not have to do anything to get your Universal Credit, such as being a carer for a child or being pregnant.

How long does a sanction last?

Sanctions are split into three different categories and these categories dictate how long your sanction will last.

Low level sanction – 7 days: These sanctions are given to you if you fail to do the basic tasks needed to get your Universal Credit such as not attending a work focused interview, not signing on when you’re supposed to, or you have not gone on a course you have been told to do as part of your work preparation.

Medium level sanction – 28 days: You could get a medium level sanction is you do not do enough to look for work and are not available to work. This sanction could last up to 91 days if you’ve been sanctioned before.

High level sanction – 92 days: You will get the higher level sanction if you fail to apply or fail to accept a job which is offered to you or id you leave your job without good reason. These sanctions can last for 182 days if you have received a high level sanction in the last year.

What can you do if you have been sanctioned?

If you think you have been unfairly sanctioned then you can ask the DWP to rethink their decision through a “mandatory reconsideration”.

You can do this by writing a message in your Universal Credit online account, through a CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form, or through a letter to the DWP.

You will need to do this within one month of receiving your sanction letter.

In your mandatory consideration forms, you will need to include the date of your decision, the specific reasons why you disagree with the sanction and your name address, and your National Insurance number.

The DWP will respond to tell you whether it has changed or upheld your sanction notice.

If you still feel as if the sanction is wrong, then you can appeal to a tribunal.

What help can you get when you have been sanctioned?

If your Universal Credit has been cut because of a sanction and you are struggling, you might be able to get some emergency money to help you cover household expenses like food and bills.

These are called “Hardship payments” and they are a loan, which you will usually have to pay back when your sanction ends.

To be able to get one of these loans then you will need to be “struggling to meet your basic needs” or the basic needs of a child or young person you’re responsible for.

You will usually have to prove that you have stopped spending on all non-essential things and that you have done everything to get money from other sources.

You can apply for a hardship payment to help you until your next Universal Credit payday and if you’re still in hardship the following month, you’ll need to apply for another loan.

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