“I have been punished for going to a funeral’

The universal credit system could leave up to one million people exposed to the benefits of sanctions once fully deployed, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, has been said.

Dr. David Webster, of Glasgow University, it is estimated that 350 000 people per year are currently faced with benefit sanctions in the UK, but he said that once the universal credit system is implemented, one million people in low-wage jobs will be exposed to the advantage of the sanctions.

A man says he has already had her benefits reduced significantly after he missed a job centre appointment because he was attending a funeral.

“You’re too afraid to sleep at night. You are afraid to ask for help,” said Garreth Forrest, of Preston, in Lancashire.’Painful’

Garreth works intermittently and receives universal credit, but has had the penalty imposed after he failed to do so, the centre of employment date.

He left Garreth behind with the rent, and he fears expulsion.

“You’re waking up in the morning thinking, is this the last day, when you will be told to leave?

“You are waiting for more information, see if they will solve the problems and reduce the sanction.

“It is distressing. Nobody should have to worry like that.”

Garreth is a former employee of the Department of Work and Pensions.

He said that it is normal delivery is £705 a month, but recently has had this cut of £503 – leaving the reception a little more than 200 € monthly.

“This is for everything – including rent, utilities, food and basic needs,” he explains.

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The sanction of the absence, the job centre appointment to attend the funeral, and other factors, does not contribute to the good work of information retrieval, it also has conflicts.

It is estimated that the penalty will be a period of four months, and has already encountered in the work of the sanctions too.

“You tell them that you work at certain hours, and they tell you to find more [hours],” he said.

What is universal credit?

Universal credit is a benefit for people of working age, replacing six benefits and merge them into a single payment:
income support
income-based job seeker’s allowance
income-related employment and allowance
the housing allowance
child tax credit
working tax credit

It has been designed to make claim is simple.

A single universal credit payment is paid directly into the claimants bank accounts to cover the benefits to which they are entitled.

Applicants should therefore pay the costs, such as rent, out of their universal credit payment (even if there is a provision for people who are in rent arrears or struggling to manage their money have their rent paid directly to the owner).

Some experts have criticized the use of sanctions, such as acting as a form of “penal system”, but without the necessary safeguards in place.

Garreth estimates that the sanctions are imposed inconsistently and without compassion.

When he missed the job centre appointment for the funeral, he was accused of lying.

This was despite, he said, informing them of the confrontation in advance.

“I had to provide proof that I attended the funeral, that I found was very insensitive.

“I even got a phone call from the employment centre on the day of the funeral, and they really thought that I was not there.

“They said,” Are you sure you’re at the funeral? Are you lying?’ And I found it very painful.”

Garreth provided, the employment centre with a order of service for the funeral, and I was told that the penalty would be cancelled.

But shortly after, he received another letter saying exactly the opposite – that he is now fighting.The ‘level of employment’

The work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke told the BBC last month that the number of benefit sanctions was dropped in 2017, compared to 2016 and 2015.

It is forbidden to impose sanctions when the conditions are not met – such as attending job centre appointments – say such requirements are responsible for the “rising levels of employment”.

The Department of Work and Pensions said in a statement that the sanctions “are only used when someone has not met the requirements without a good reason, [and] people are given an opportunity to explain why they have failed to do so before taking a decision.”

Matthew Oakley conducted an independent review of the job seeker allowance sanctions as reported to Parliament in 2014, believes that the sanctions are effective.

“The vast majority of international evidence shows that the benefits of systems that have requirements in place for job seekers are much better at getting people back to work more quickly,” he explains.

“It is [also] a question of fairness. If you talk to the public, in vast majority, they support the idea of “something”, and that, in return for the benefits people receive, they should be required to do something, and that is to look for work.”

But Dr. Webster, who is one of the main benefits of the sanctions of the expert, is critical of the lack of safeguards in place.

“It is a criminal justice system – a system of punishment for the opposition offenses.

“The amount of money people lose through sanctions are more important than the amount of money people a fine in the magistrates’ courts.

“But in the general public, the courts, there is a whole battery of safeguards to ensure that citizens do not get wrongly punished.

“The problem on the system of sanctions is that it works entirely in private, and there are no guarantees. The money is cut off before there is any chance of appeal.”

Dr. Webster thinks that the universal credit is released, there will be a sharp increase in the number of people who are facing the possibility of having their benefits stopped or reduced.

“No country in the world has ever tried such a system,” he said. “It is a novelty and no one really has any idea if this will work.”‘Punished after a miscarriage’

Food banks fear this could lead others in food poverty, with the National Audit Office said in 2016 in order to benefit sanctions have led to “hardship, hunger and depression.”

Alison Inglis-Jones, a trustee at the Trussell Trust food bank charity, says she has heard of tragic stories.

“I met a lady who had an error in the playground when she was dropping her two children.

“She was taken to the hospital by ambulance and she missed her interview at the job centre, so that it has been sanctioned.”

Garreth hoped that his case will be resolved soon.

“You care about each day, each hour, each minute, because you don’t know what will happen,” he says.

Watch the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on the day of the week between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.