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The Methodist Church, working with the Church of Scotland, the Church in Wales and mental health charity Mind have uncovered new data that shows that more than 100 people per day who are assessed as unfit for work because of their mental health problems are having their benefits sanctioned.
Contrary to popular belief, benefit sanctions (having your benefit payments stopped for a period of up to three years) are not imposed in cases of benefit fraud — these are dealt with by criminal courts.
Most often they are given to people who are unemployed but sanctions are also given to people who are claiming benefit because they are too sick or disabled to work. For these people, the most common reason for being sanctioned is that a person has been late or not turned up for a Work Programme or jobcentre appointment.
Find out more here
Full data set here.
We're concerned that benefit sanctions are harming precisely those who need the most help and support and we're working on an upcoming report about the regime.
Email Anna Drew (firstname.lastname@example.org ) to receive an advance copy of the report.
Video: Hear Catherine tell her story of being sanctioned and how it affected her mental health.
Catherine Hale is a Work Programme service user claiming ESA due to a long-term health condition. She has a first class degree from the London School of Economics and has pursued her interest in public policy and its impact on disabled people in a voluntary capacity for Voluntary Action Lewisham, the South East London ME Support Group, and as a member of the Spartacus Network of disability activists. Catherine produced this report for Mind