Q. My Universal Credit claim has been sanctioned but I’m not sure what for, what will happen to my benefit and can I challenge the decision that has been made?
A. You should be sent a letter from the DWP (Department of Works and Pensions) which should explain why you’ve been sanctioned, how long for and how much your claim has been reduced by.
It should also tell you the date of the decision.
There are different types of sanctions depending on what has been alleged you failed to do.
Sanctions can be low level, medium or high which will determine how long the sanction will last for low level lasting for short periods high for longer periods.
The sanction can also be extended if this isn’t the first time you have been sanctioned.
If you have been previously sanctioned it is helpful to get details of these as previous sanctions can be “reset” after a time period and may not be classed as a repeat.
Not all sanctions can be challenged and in mist case the time period is fixed and cannot be reduced.
Hardship payments may be available if you have no other income or access to funds depending on the type of sanction but these are normally reduced payments, typically 60% of your normal benefit amount and are repayable as a loan.
Always seek advice as sanctions are very often applied incorrectly especially if you might have had a sanction in the past.
It is also wise to keep evidence of work-related activities.
Keep a diary each week of what you’ve done to meet the conditions of your claimant commitment.
For example, the date you did an online job search and how long you spent doing it.
If there’s something you haven’t been able to do, be prepared to explain why. f there’s a reason, try and get evidence of it to show the Jobcentre.
For example, should you happen to have been ill get a note from the doctor.