Could I lose my benefits under Jeremy Hunt’s plans?

THE government today announced a benefit crackdown that could impact millions of households.
We explain what the proposals by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt mean for you.


The chancellor is aiming to crackdown on people “coasting” on jobseeker benefits

What was announced by Jeremy Hunt?
The proposals include removing benefits from jobseekers who “coast” on the welfare system and don’t comply with Jobcentre requirements.

Under current rules, those on Universal Credit looking for work who don’t engage with Jobcentre staff could have their payments reduced until they start meeting their requirements again, known as “open-ended sanctions”.
They would still continue to get additional benefits such as free school meals during this time, however.
But under new plans, unemployed benefits claimants could risk losing all of their benefits if they refuse to take on work or engage with their jobseeker support.


Benefits claimants who are able to work but remain unemployed for more than 12 months will be forced to either take on a work placement or immediately give up their standard Universal Credit allowance.

From then on, claimants would have to work with a coach to help them get into work.
If they refuse to accept any new conditions without good reason, their Universal Credit claim will be closed.
Digital tools will also be used to track their attendance at job fairs and interviews.

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What if you don’t comply?
Anyone who remains on an “open-ended sanction” for more than six months and is solely eligible for standard Universal Credit – so isn’t claiming any additional disability, housing or child payments – will have their claims closed after just six months.

They would have to reapply in order to start receiving the payments again and would lose access to additional benefits such as free prescriptions and legal aid during this time.
The shakeup aims to address the “rise in people who aren’t looking for work” in a bid to help grow the UK’s stagnating economy.
According to official data, there were 300,000 people who had been unemployed for over a year in the three months to July.
In a statement today, November 16, Mr Hunt said: “We’re serious about growing our economy and that means we must address the rise in people who aren’t looking for work.

“These changes mean there’s help and support for everyone – but for those who refuse it, there are consequences too. Anyone choosing to coast on the hard work of taxpayers will lose their benefits.”
At the same time, the government said it will expand the support available for people with health conditions and disabilities, including expanding help-to-work schemes to benefit more than a million people over the next five years.
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