1 In 3 People On Job Seekers Allowance Faced Penalties

  • Research reveals that, the government's benefit sanctions have affected homeless people unduly.

    Homeless

    Inside Housing reported that a study published this week suggests nearly one in three which amounts to 31 per cent of homeless people on job seekers allowance have faced penalties, compared to just 3 per cent of typical claimants.

    Under this difficult rule, benefit claimants who do not meet certain conditions have their benefits reduced or stopped for a month or over.

    The survey of umbrella body Homeless Link's member organisations shows that homeless people are being sanctioned while facing poor mental health and learning difficulties.

    The situation continues to get worse as homelessness services report  that 87% of homeless people are experiencing food poverty, with one in six turning to crime.

    Chief executive of Homeless Link, Rick Henderson, said:

    "The welfare system should provide a safety net to protect people at risk of falling into destitution and support them into work. This report highlights the fact that the sanctions regime is doing very little to help homeless people towards the long-term goal of independence and stability."

    "Claimants do have responsibilities but it is clear that sanctions may be forcing them deeper into the problems that led them into homelessness in the first place. We're calling on the Government to ensure the conditions for receiving benefits take into account individual circumstances."

    A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson also said:

    "The government took homelessness into account when deciding to sanction benefit claimants and that such penalties were used as a ‘last resort':

    "We have worked with homelessness charities - including Homeless Link - to revise our guidance to staff to ensure someone's individual circumstances are taken into account."

    Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/707084

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