If you can help please contact Shivani Misra who is an intern at PLP. Shivani can be contacted on 020 7239 9034 or email@example.com
The questionnaire is below but Shivani also needs to interview some people in more depth. This could be an important piece of work which will hopefully help provide evidence to support an end to the vicious sanctions regime.
PLP’s Project on Benefit Sanctioning
The Public Law Project (PLP) is undertaking a three year project to develop a strategic legal response to the national issue of benefit sanctioning.
As part of that work, we are carrying out research to gather evidence of the impact of sanctioning on disabled people with a particular focus on the following:
(1) Delays at the mandatory reconsideration and appeal stages, particularly for ESA claimants who have been put into the WRAG or refused ESA altogether and/or where hardship payments are unavailable.
(2) Problems caused by failures to share relevant information about a claimant’s medical condition or disability between the Work Capability assessor, the JCP Decision Maker, and the Work Programme Provider
(3) Failures by Work Programme Providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled claimants in the WRAG or claiming JSA
(4) Lack of/inadequate reasons for sanctioning decisions undermining appeal rights.
This research is being carried out by Shivani Misra who is an intern at PLP. Shivani can be contacted on 020 7239 9034 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Shivani is being supervised by Alison Pickup, PLP Legal Director, who can be contacted on 020 7239 9031 or at email@example.com
Impact of Benefit Sanctioning on Disabled People
Questionnaire for claimants
Public Law Project would like to invite you to take part in a survey that will help us better understand the current use and impacts of benefit sanctioning on disabled people. The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete and we would very much value your input. Please answer the questions based on your experience of the benefit system.
We want to assure you that your responses are completely anonymous. No personally identifiable information is captured unless you voluntarily offer personal or contact information in any of the comment fields. Your responses would be summarized in a report as evidence on the impact of sanctioning, and we will do our best to ensure that you cannot be identified from any information included in the report unless you agree to being identified. The report may be published and/or used by PLP to support our work trying to improve the fairness of the benefit sanctioning system and to reduce its adverse impact on disabled people.
Any personal data that you supply in response to this survey will be held and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and will only be used for the purposes given above.
About your benefits
Which benefit did you apply for most recently?:
• Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
• Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
• Universal Credit
• Other (please say which)
If you applied for ESA or Universal Credit, have you had your Work Capability Assessment yet?
If you have had your Work Capability Assessment, what was the outcome?
– Granted ESA – placed in support group
– Granted ESA – placed in Work Related Activity Group (‘WRAG’)
– Refused ESA –found to be fit for work
– Refused ESA for another reason (please say what)
Did you agree with the outcome of your Work Capability Assessment?
If not, have you appealed the decision made after your work capability assessment?
About your sanctions
Do you know why you were sanctioned?
Have you been sanctioned more than once?
Did the Job Centre tell you about the reasons for the sanction?
When were you informed about the reasons for the sanction?
(a) When you were told that you were being sanctioned?
(b) Only after a mandatory reconsideration?
(c) Only on appeal?
(d) Not at all?
Were you given an opportunity to provide a ‘good reason’ for the failure to comply before you were sanctioned? If so, did you do so?
How long did the sanction last?
What was the amount of the sanction?
Coping with the sanction
Did you have any other income during the period of your sanction?
How did you cope financially with the sanction? Please think about how you met your essential needs such as food, toiletries, medicine, disability aids, transport, clothing, heating, light, rent. Please tick all that apply.
– Went to food banks
– Used savings
– Borrowed from friends and/or family members
– Borrowed money from bank/building society/credit union/other money lender
– Pawning/selling belongings to raise money
– Eating less
– Not topping up gas/electricity meter
– Walking instead of using car/public transport
Please give more details if you can:
Were you given any Hardship Payments by the Job Centre?
Where there any other (non-financial) consequences of the sanction? For example, did it impact on your physical or mental health?
Appealing the decision to sanction
Did you appeal against the sanction?
If yes, what was the outcome of the appeal:
(a) At the mandatory reconsideration stage?
(b) At the First-tier Tribunal?
How much time did it take for the mandatory reconsideration?
How much time did it take for the appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (if you appealed)?
What did you do to meet your needs in the period awaiting the mandatory reconsideration and/or appeal?
This information will help PLP to draw conclusions about the impact of sanctioning on different groups of disabled people.
Please describe the nature of your disability:
What is your age group:
Do you have any dependents?
If so, which:
– Spouse, civil partner, or other partner living with you
– Children – how many:
o Aged 0-3
o Aged 4-15
o Aged 16 or over
– Other dependent relative living with you
– Other dependent relative (not living with you)
Personal details (optional)
We would like to carry out some more detailed interviews with benefit claimants for the purposes of our research. These interviews will last approximately 30 mins and can be carried out by phone, Skype or face-to-face (depending on location). Are you willing to be interviewed for our research?
Can we contact you in future for the purposes of this research, if we need more information or to clarify or follow up on any of the information provided in your answers to the questions above?
Can we attribute your comments to you in any report of our research? If so, should we identify you by name or another means e.g. “benefit claimant, Manchester”?
If you are willing to be contacted in future, please provide your name, a contact telephone number and/or email address below. We will not publish your name or any contact details, or use this information for any purpose other than those set out above without your prior written consent.