Thursday, August 14, 2014

ESA sanctions: When did the ‘last resort’ become the first option?

Unfair treatment: The sick and disabled are used to poor behaviour from the Department for Work and Pensions, from the rigged ‘work capability assessment’ scheme to the current revelation that sanctions against them have rocketed.

The BBC is reporting a “shocking” rise in the number of sanctions given to those who receive a key sickness benefit, according to homeless charity Crisis.

Official figures for the first quarter of 2014 showed sanctions on Employment and Support Allowance claimants were 4.5 times higher than in the same quarter in 2013 – although the 2014 figure still includes claimants who are appealing,” according to the BBC News website.

“In the first three months of 2014, there were 15,955 sanctions on ESA claimants, compared with 3,574 in the same period last year.” That’s three per cent of the 552,000 claimants in the Work-Related Activity group (the only ESA group that can be sanctioned) – uncannily close to the five per cent sanction target allegedly operated by Job Centre Plus workers on Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants.