DWP reject recommendations designed to protect vulnerable benefit claimants from financial hardship.
'The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has come under fire after it refused to adopt of series of recommendations that are designed to protect vulnable benefit claimants from financial hardship caused by sanctions.
An investigation by the Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPSC) found that reducing or completely stopping a person’s benefit payments for failure to comply with arbitrary requirments is “pointlessly cruel” and often “counter-productive”.
However, the Government rejected the Commitee’s recommendation that claimants already found to have limited capability for work should be exempt from sanctions.
They also rejected the call that claimants who are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment should be exempt from sanctions if they have a “Fit Note” from a doctor saying they are unable to work.
And they rejected a recommendation calling on the DWP to define what it means by “good reason” for failing to meet a requirement that led to a sanction.
This is currently left to work coach discretion, which the WPSC says is inconsistent – the threat of being hit by a sanction could depend on where a person lives or how forgiving their work coach is.
The recommendation that lone parents should not have their benefits docked by more than 20% was also rejected, despite evidence showing that sanctions were causing considerable financial and emotional distress.'
Read more: Callous Tories refuse to ease ‘pointlessly cruel’ benefit sanctions regime