From 3/12/2012 new, tougher sanctions apply. Employment and Support Allowance(ESA) claimants may be sanctioned if they do not:
• Attend or take part in a Work Focused Interview
• Carry out prescribed work-related activity
Claimants who fail to carry out these activities could lose the Personal Allowance of their ESA until they comply with requirements, followed by a fixed period sanction of one, two or four weeks(for the first, second or third and subsequent offence, within the 12 months since the last offence). The ESA Work Related Activity component, premiums or housing costs will be unaffected during the sanction. Sanctions will not apply where a claimant can show ‘good cause’.
The DWP intends to introduce access to hardship provision. ESA claimants will be able to apply for hardship payments from day one of a sanction that is imposed under the new regime. Sanctions don’t apply for claimants in the Support Group.

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