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Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 30856, tabled on 17 March 2020

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.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

27 April 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.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.