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Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 27th April 2020.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to (a) lift all sanctions and deductions from people’s awards if they are self-isolating and (b) provide people who are sanctioned and self-isolating with automatic immediate access to a hardship payment.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Holding answer received on 23 March 2020

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% 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 Party’s, potentially resulting in eviction or a loss of services.

If a claimant is in financial hardship, hardship payments are already 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.

Given the rapidly evolving situation and complexity of the business, we will continue to keep our approach under review and update guidance when necessary.

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