Jobseeker’s Allowance and sanctions
Jobcentre Plus can sanction you for some kinds of misconduct, for example if you fail to take part in the Work Programme. A sanction normally means Jobcentre Plus stops your JSA for a certain period, although in some cases they can reduce it instead. In most cases, Jobcentre Plus cannot sanction you if you have a good reason for your behaviour.
In Northern Ireland, there are different rules about sanctions. For more information, see Jobseeker’s Allowance and sanctions in Northern Ireland.
Sanctions normally lasts for a fixed period of 4, 13, or 26 weeks, or 3 years, depending on your misconduct. It also depends on whether it is the first, second or third time you behaved in that way.
There are three different types of sanctions:
Lower level sanctions – normally last 4 or 13 weeks. Jobcentre Plus will usually impose this sanction if you:
- fail to take part in an interview
- in some cases, fail to provide information
- refuse or fail to carry out a jobseeker’s direction, but only if the direction was reasonable, taking your circumstances into account
- in most cases, fail to take part in a work for your benefit scheme such as the Work Programme. However, if you fail to take part in the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, Jobcentre Plus will impose a higher level sanction on you instead
- are guilty of some kinds of misconduct on employment schemes and training programmes.
Intermediate level sanctions – also normally last 4 or 13 weeks. Jobcentre Plus will usually impose this sanction on you for not being available for work or not actively seek work.
Higher level sanctions – normally last 13 or 26 weeks or 3 years. Jobcentre Plus will usually impose this sanction for:
- misconduct to do with work, for example, leaving your job voluntarily
- misconduct to do with job vacancies, for example, refusing to apply for a job that Jobcentre Plus have pointed out to you
- failing to take part in the Mandatory Work Activity scheme.
If you are 16 or 17, there are special rules about when Jobcentre Plus can sanction you.
For more information about work for your benefit schemes in England, Wales and Scotland, including the Work Programme, see Government employment schemes.
If your Jobseeker’s Allowance is stopped because of a sanction, you may be able to apply for a hardship payment (see under Hardship payments and Jobseeker’s Allowance).”
Support with Sanctions Appeals and advice available on this site