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JSA Sanction over a typo!

Location: UK » London » BR
JSA Sanction over a typo!

In January 2014, I was sanctioned on the spot because of a typo in my Universal Jobmatch account details - in fact it wasn’t even really a typo. I had filled out my personal details via my mobile phone, and the postcode had accidentally saved as lower-case, rather than the upper case. An adviser had asked that I change this, and I had simply forgotten to do so by my next appointment.

When I saw them again, they raised this “issue” and subsequently raised a doubt against me, also deciding that my jobsearch was insufficient (I had applied for 27 jobs across the previous fortnight, all of which were listed, and my job search agreement only required 14). My money was stopped on the spot, the doubt took two weeks to process, and then I was sanctioned for a further four weeks.

I disputed this with an appeal, also writing to my local MP about the issue, and also trying to claim hardship payments. My appeal was rejected, my local MP never responded to my letter (despite his secretary confirming that it had been received via email), and my claim for hardship payments was also turned down. I made a second appeal, and had to live on no money for six weeks. It contributed to the break-up of a long-term relationship due to the stress it caused.

My second appeal was accepted at the start of March, and I was told I would be paid retroactively. However the money did not go through until May, and even then it only covered the four weeks I’d been sanctioned for - I lost two weeks money from the doubt that had been raised in the first place and never heard more about that.

I’ve written this to raise awareness of the flaws in the system, and just how picky the reasoning can be to go ahead with a sanction. It impacted my health, my personal life, and of course my ability to seek work - which became harder to focus on when I was hungry, or run down, or constantly worried about a lack of money.

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