The number of people whose Job Seekers Allowance has been sanctioned in the year ending September 2015 in Birmingham (including Solihull and Sutton Coldfield) was 10,955 and in Coventry was 1453. In addition to this there have been substantial numbers of people claiming Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit whose benefits have been sanctioned over the same period. When claimants are sanctioned their benefit may be stopped completely or reduced to a small amount.
Thousands of families in Birmingham and Coventry over the last year were left without any income after their benefits were sanctions (stopped or reduced). At Central England Law Centre we are coming across examples of people being sanctioned for not attending appointments when the notice for the appointment is received only after the time of the appointment and people being sanctioned for being a few minutes late for their appointment. We are encouraging people who have been sanctioned who live in Coventry to contact us on our sanctions hotline 02476 253160 which is available from 11 to 2 Monday to Friday. People who live in Birmingham should contact their local advice agency. We are successful in 90% of cases where we are involved in challenging decisions and we are able to get benefit reinstated for these people.
28th April 2016