Universal Credit benefit sanctions to last indefinitely, not just 3 years

[ Resources to effectively appeal benefit sanctions and survive financially ]

1) JSA and ESA sanctions
2) What about Hardship Payments (HP) and Universal Credit (UC)
3) Hardship Payments and recovery from ‘other’ Social Security benefits?
4) Hardship Payments and recovery from direct attachment of employee earnings/wages?
5) Other Universal Credit elements? (children, childcare, carer, housing, health and disability)

1) JSA and ESA sanctions

Under the current Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) sanctions regime the maximum benefit ban is 3 years (“156 weeks“) for failures to meet requirements. Anyone sanctioned can apply for means tested reduced JSA called Hardship Payments. (HP). Under JSA and Employment Support Alowance (ESA) HP is not recoverable.

2) What about Hardship Payments (HP) and Universal Credit (UC)

All HP under Universal Credit are recoverable, meaning they are treated like a debt by the DWP. Therefore if someone gets a 3 year UC ban and applies and gets HP, repayment can be made through UC. Put more simply this means UC sanctions (aka reduced benefits) can effectively last far longer than 3 years.

“All Universal Credit hardship payments are recoverable.”
From: ‘Hardship Payments being recovered?’ – DWP Central FoI Team – 17 January 2014
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/190998/response/471780/attach/html/3/WDTK%205966.pdf.html

3) Hardship Payments and recovery from ‘other’ Social Security benefits?

The DWP has also made provision for UC HP payments to be recovered via deduction in “other Social Security benefits [unamed] they may receive in the future (with the exception of Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance)”.

“The recovery of the amount paid as hardship can only start once the single claimant’s, or a couple’s, award of Universal Credit is no longer subject to a sanction or fraud loss of benefit penalty reduction.  The amount recoverable each month depends on what other deductions are being made from a person’s Universal Credit.  The maximum is 40 per cent of the standard allowance.  For example, a single person aged 25 or over receiving £311.55 a month could have £124.62 deducted as repayment of hardship provided other deductions are not in place.

The total amount paid as hardship can be recovered from Universal Credit (including any
arrears), or other Social Security benefits they may receive in the future (with the exception of Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance). ”
From:  ‘Hardship Payment recovery through benefits?’DWP Central FoI Team  – 27 January 2014 https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/193577/response/474808/attach/html/2/FoI%20277%20wdtk.pdf.html

4) Hardship Payments and recovery from direct attachment of employee earnings/wages?

Direct Earnings Attachments: an employers’ guide
“Where the Secretary of State has been unable to recover monies owed to the DWP from
customers not in receipt of a benefit, and who have not voluntarily agreed to repay, those
monies may be recovered by deduction from the customer’s earnings. ”
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/direct-earnings-attachments-an-employers-guide

5) Other Universal Credit elements?

Depending on your situation, you may receive extra support in addition to the Standard Allowance, for example:

There are separate rules explaining how you may qualify for these elements.
http://about.universalcredit.service.gov.uk/kms/Pages/Standard_Allowance_for_Universal_Credit.htm

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