Compulsory full-time work search requirements under threat of sanctions in the benefit system can be counterproductive for service veterans, our linked project Sanctions, Support and Service Leavers said.
Its evidence to the Commons Work and Pension Committee’s inquiry into benefit sanctions said a ‘culture of compliance’ amongst veteran participants in the study got in the way of more meaningful and effective attempts to secure employment.
Running counter to the purpose of conditionality, the removal of conditionality was perceived to have a more positive impact on the ability to prepare for employment, the research team said. For example, a veteran with a respiratory impairment had initially been placed in the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance. His ex-wife had helped to challenge this decision with reference to his deteriorating health:
She challenged it because I was getting worse. I was having at least two attacks a month, and they were hospitalised, every one of the… Then you get the phone call [from Jobcentre Plus], and it’s, ‘Why aren’t you coming in to do your job search’. ‘Well, I’m in hospital’ (ESA SG claimant).
The submission calls on the DWP to ensure that benefit sanctions are not applied to those experiencing mental and physical health impairments resulting from Service in the Armed Forces. Read in full.