Socialist Worker

Disabled people suffer over one million benefit sanctions under Tory rule

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2592

Protest by Disabled People Against the Cuts

Protest by Disabled People Against the Cuts (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Disabled benefit claimants have suffered over a million sanctions since the Tories came to office in 2010.

More than 900,000 disabled people who claim jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) have been sanctioned.

The shocking figures from the Demos think tank suggest that disabled claimants are being discriminated against.

They showed that disabled JSA claimants are up to 53 percent more likely to be sanctioned than a claimant who isn’t disabled.

Sanctions mean benefits can be cut from claimants for weeks at a time. The first “failure” for JSA claimants can lead to a four-week sanction.

Subsequent sanctions last 13 weeks, then can be as long as three years.

They can be imposed for the slightest “offence” such as being late to an appointment.

These sanctions cause more stress for claimants and can make existing conditions worse.

The Tories claim they are trying to help disabled people into jobs. It’s a joke from the government that shut down the Remploy factories that employed disabled people.

In reality the sanctions regime pressures people to look for jobs even if they aren’t well enough to work. It is also part of a wider ideological push against the welfare state.

Unsurprisingly, the Demos research concluded that the sanctions didn’t help disabled people find work. But the government dismissed the findings.

Figures last summer showed that the Tories have spent nearly £40 million in court battles to try and stop disabled people receiving benefits. It lost the vast majority of them.

Meanwhile the Tories are ploughing ahead with the rollout of Universal Credit. This replaces six other benefits and will make life harder for claimants.

The Disabled People Against Cuts (Dpac) group is holding a day of action against Universal Credit on Thursday of next week.

In London, protesters will gather at 11am at the visitors’ entrance to the House of Commons.


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