An information and awareness event run by SWAN (Stockton Welfare Advice Network) took place on Friday 24th April. The event was aimed at those working in the community in an advisory capacity.
Sanctioning is becoming an increasingly common risk for those claiming conditional-based benefits, and the consequences for families and individuals can be very negative; food and fuel poverty, exacerbation of physical and mental health issues, and debt due to loss of income.
The advice given included encouraging claimants to get details of the sanction, to act in the initial stage of the sanction, and to appeal the decision. It is very important to appeal all decision, as sanctions can be cumulative.
In Stockton between October and September 2014, 3,416 individuals were sanctioned. 23% of these were people with a disability. Over half of appealed sanctions are overturned.
More advice can be found at: Stockton Welfare Advice Network.
A leaflet was produced for the event, which can be found here: http://www.stocktonadvice.org.uk/media/1128/sanctions-v2.pdf