Benefit Sanctions

Benefit Sanctions

Sanctions are penalties that can be imposed on certain benefits if you do not meet your responsibilities as a claimant.

Sanctions can lead to benefit payments being stopped, or significantly reduced for a period of time.

Your Universal Credit (UC) may be sanctioned if, for example, you:

  • Refuse a job offer
  • Leave work voluntarily, or due to misconduct
  • Fail to attend a job interview
  • Fail to attend a work focused interview or a training course

UC sanctions can apply for up to 26 weeks or, in some cases, until you do whatever you were sanctioned for failing to do. The length of the sanction will depend on whether you have been sanctioned before.

Your Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) can be sanctioned for similar reasons to Universal Credit. JSA sanctions can potentially last up to 156 weeks.

Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions can occur if you have failed to attend an interview or take part in work related activity. The sanctions will normally apply for as long as you fail to attend the interview or work related activity. Sanctions cannot apply to ESA claimants who are in the “Support Group”.

If you have been given a sanction you can:

  • Challenge the decision by arguing that you had “good cause” for your actions, or for failing to carry out the task.
  • If “good cause” is not accepted you can appeal the decision (you will first need to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration to be carried out).
  • Speak to our Money Advice Officer, Stephen Lawson, as he will be able to help with appealing (most appeals against sanctions are successful).
  • Ask for hardship payments to be made.

For more information contact our Money Advice Officer, Stephen Lawson, by e-mail at or by phone: 0141 330 1487 or 07972178368.