Benefits Adviser: sanctionsSwheatie thanks Tracey Dunn for this referral that is likely to become more useful as time unfolds and the current scandal of Department for Work and Pensions overspend on the Universal Credit IT system overspend gives way to more smear stories about benefit fraud. 'Bentefit fraud' smear stories make jobcentre staff on short-term contracts more insensitive to the benefit war crimes they are ordered to commit and the general public more inclined to leave the Government to it.
The referred article advises what benefit claimants can and should do to protect themselves against being taken on a ride to destitution, and also emphasises that Universal Credit implementation with its 'Claimant Commitment' may eventually apply to ESA claimants and people ripped off by penny-pinching, state-subsidised employers and their shareholders. (Housing Benefit subsidises greedy shareholders and offshore landlords alike, and Universal Credit legislation is designed to criminalise those who suffer under rip-off merchants rather than the real rip-off merchants themselves.) It emphasises that you should appeal against sanctions, but also be aware what you are committing yourself to in a 'Claimant Commitment' or a 'Jobseekers Agreement'.
Swheatie adds that along the lines of 'prevention is better than cure', perhaps one of the worst things a claimant can do to start with is follow the jobcentre worker's instructions: "Just fill in your name, etc on this blank form and sign it and I'll fill in the details later." Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group says in response to this sort of entrapment ploy: "Never sign what you ain't read yet!"
'Benefits Adviser' blogger Carol Laidlaw on sanctions.