If the Jobcentre Plus decides that you haven't kept to the jobseeking rules, what happens next will depend on what type of rule you've 'broken'.
- If you've not kept to the
main jobseeking conditions you will be sanctioned and
your Jobseeker's Allowance award will end;
- If you've not kept to one of the other
requirements you will either be sanctioned or
your Jobseeker's Allowance will end;
- If the Jobcentre Plus thinks you have 'committed' one of the 'Big
Fails' you will be sanctioned.
sanctioned does not, itself, mean that your Jobseeker's Allowance
award has ended. Technically, you're still entitled to Jobseeker's
Allowance, and your award is continuing: it's just that the amount
of money your entitled to is reduced, normally to zero!
This is why I also talk about an award ending as a different thing from a sanction.
Notice that if you've broken a rule in the first group, not only are you sanctioned, but your Jobseeker's Allowance award ends. There are two questions you might be asking about this:
- "If I'm going to be sanctioned, what difference does it make if my Jobseeker's Allowance award ends as I'm not going to get paid anyway?"
- "If my award stops because I've not kept to the main jobseeking rules, what's to stop me just making a new claim for Jobseeker's Allowance?"
These are both good questions.
The difference between what happens if you don't keep to the main job seeking rules and what happens if you make a different mistake, is more about how the rules were originally designed than anything else. But it does make a big difference between how you need to respond.
If you have not kept to the main jobseeking conditions...
The Jobcentre Plus will make two decisions:
1. They decide that you are no longer entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance, and so your award ends;
2. They decide to impose a sanction on you.
You need to make a new claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance. However you won't get any money, because of the sanction. The good news is that the length of the sanction is reduced (basically) by the length of time between when your old claim was ended and your new claim is started. In effect, the gap before you claimed again counts as part of the sanction.
If you don't make a new claim, you will carry on getting nothing even after the sanction has ended.
If you've not kept to one of the other requirements...If you don't follow a job seeker's direction, or don't go on a training course, you will face a sanction, unless you can show that you have a good reason. However your Jobseeker's Allowance will not normally end.
If you fail to participate in a an interview, or don't sign on, things are a bit more complicated.
Interviews (including 'signing-on')If you don't attend an appointment at all, or don't 'participate' in it, you have five working days to explain why.
If you attend (or phone, if it's a phone interview) on the
right day, but the wrong time, your benefit
should not end and you should not
be sanctioned, if this is the first time you've done
this. Instead you should receive a letter warning
you that you must attend the next interview at the right day. If
you don't attend at the right time next time, you will have five
working days to respond as per the procedure above.
Of course, there is nothing to stop you making a new claim for Jobseeker's Allowance (or possibly Universal Credit if it applies in your area). However there is a risk that you will face an immediate sanction for the failure to participate in the interview on the last Jobseeker's Allowance award.
If you are sanctioned, you will have to carry on doing all the things you have to do to get your Jobseeker's Allowance, like signing on and looking for work, otherwise your award may end and/or you may get another sanction!
If the Jobcentre Plus thinks that there's been a 'big fail'...
You will not need to make a new claim. When the sanction period ends
your benefit payments will resume.
However you will have to carry on doing all the things you have to do
to get your Jobseeker's Allowance, like signing on and looking for work,
otherwise your award may end and/or you may get another sanction!
Now for details about the sanctions themselves…
|Whatever kind of Jobseeker's Allowance sanction you are given, it can be removed if you can convince the Jobcentre Plus that you had a good reason for doing what you did or not doing what they asked you to do (for example, if a relative died on the day you were due to sign on). If you think you had a good reason it is vital that you give the details of this to the Jobcentre Plus as soon as possible. If they refuse to change their decision you should include the details of your good reason in any appeal.|
There are three levels of sanctions: lower, intermediate, and higher. As you might expect, the worse the thing is that they think you’ve done (or haven’t done) the worse the sanction.
Before we look at the different types of sanction, some things apply to all three types:
- Normally, if you do something (or fail to do something) that results in a particular type of sanction, and then you do a similar thing less than a year (52 weeks) later, the length of the sanction increases.
- However, if the two things you did (or failed to do) are less than 2 weeks apart, the length of the second sanction is not longer than the last one.
Lower Level SanctionsYou get one of these if you don't keep to what I've called the other requirements: in other words, if one of the following types of things happens -
The length of a lower level sanction is as follows:
Intermediate Level SanctionsYou get one of these if you don't keep to one of the the main jobseeking conditions: in other words, if -
The big difference, as we saw earlier, is that your Jobseeker's Allowance award comes to an end as well and so you will probably need to make a reclaim.
Higher Level SanctionsYou get one of these if you 'commit' one of the 'Big Fails':
You might do (or fail to do) something which comes into more than
one category: it won't surprise you to know that the Jobcentre
Plus will treat you under whichever is most severe.
For example, imagine you are given a 'jobseeker's direction' to apply for a particular job but you don't do this. Although not following jobseeker's directions normally result in lower level sanctions, you has failed to take up an offer of employment, so you'll get a higher level sanction.
'What can I do if I've been sanctioned and/or my JSA ends?’