Benefit sanctions for people with mental health issues

  • According to research, at least 100 people with mental health problems are having their benefits sanctioned per day.

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    This figure was an average from data gathered in January 2009 and took into account overturned decisions, Inside Housing reports.

    The last month for which data is available is March last year, when around 4,500 people with mental health problems on Employment and Support Allowance were sanctioned.

    DWP records revealed the most common reason for being sanctioned is lateness or no arrival of a person for their work programme appointment.

    The government's £5bn Work Programme was set up in 2011 to enable people who were not working to get into work. However, this has been seen as a failure and homelessness charities and housing associations have abandoned it. 

    Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind stated, "Sanctions are based on a false assumption that individuals lack motivation and willingness to work, but it's the impact of their illness and the environment in which they are expected to work which actually present the toughest

    People on the disability benefit (Employment and Support Allowance) who are considered to be suited to move into employment with support can have their benefits sanctioned if a decision is made that they are not following the conditions of the benefits they receive. 

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