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28 April, 2020 Open access

DWP confirms that it has no plans to remove sanctions or deductions ‘incurred’ before the coronavirus outbreak for claimants who are self-isolating

Suspending deductions for debts to third parties could lead to eviction or loss of service, says Work and Pensions Minister

The DWP has confirmed that it has no plans to remove sanctions or deductions from awards 'incurred' before the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak for claimants who are self-isolating.

Responding yesterday to a written question in parliament on whether the DWP will lift all sanctions and deductions from people's awards if they are self-isolating, and provide sanctioned claimants who are self-isolating with an automatic hardship payment, Employment Minister Mims Davies said -

We have no plans to remove sanctions or deductions incurred before the COVID-19 outbreak for those self-isolating.

Deductions are already capped at 30 per cent to not overburden the claimant. Should we suspend deductions there is a risk that some claimants will be unable to pay their outstanding arrears from third parties, potentially resulting in eviction or a loss of services.'

The Minister added that, while hardship payments are available on request for those who are sanctioned to ensure they have the ability to pay for basic necessities -

'We currently have no plans to make these payments automatic. A hardship payment can be applied for immediately after a claimant has an award reduced due to a sanction and the payment is issued as quickly as possible.'

Ms Davies' written answer is available from parliament.uk