Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance sanctions

Statistics on the number of sanctions imposed on people who receive Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.


  1. Documents

New sanctions rules came into force in October 2012 for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants and in December 2012 for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Publication of JSA and ESA sanctions statistics

Statistics are available via Stat-Xplore with a limited number of excel tables being published through this page.

We have identified a data issue within the JSA sanction decision data, specifically to do with outcomes from appeals. While statisticians are investigating this issue we have temporarily withdrawn the ability within Stat-Xplore to cross-tabulate decision type by decision outcome. This is in line with normal practice for official statistics. We have also updated table 1.8 within the set of Excel tables on JSA and ESA sanctions: decisions made to September 2013 and JSA and ESA sanctions: decisions made to June 2013 to reflect this temporary withdrawal.

Please do not use outcome breakdowns for appeal decisions already obtained from Stat-Xplore or from Excel table 1.8. We will provide an update as soon as possible.

New regime for JSA from October 2012

From October 2012, new sanctions rules for JSA introduced:

  • 3 categories of sanction – ‘higher’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘lower’ – depending on the nature of the offence
  • different levels of sanction for first, second and third offences
  • changes to the date a sanction starts

These new rules broadly align the rules for JSA sanctions with the rules for Universal Credit.

Previously, a sanction started from the beginning of the benefit week after the Decision Maker (DM) decided to impose the sanction. However, to ensure that claimants see the consequences of their actions or inactions sooner, the new rules enable DMs to impose sanctions at a time closer to the offence. The new sanction period begins either:

  • on the first day of the benefit week in which the offence occurred, if the claimant has not been paid JSA for that week
  • on the first day of the benefit week following the date the claimant was last paid JSA

The legislation for these changes is in the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Sanctions) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.

Read an overview of the new sanctions rules.

New regime for ESA from December 2012

From 3 December 2012 a revised sanctions regime for ESA claimants who are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) was introduced.

Under the pre-December 2012 regime, ESA claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) who fail to meet requirements are subject to an open ended sanction which is lifted when they re-comply. The sanction amount is 50% of the work related activity component which rises to 100% of the component after four weeks.

The post-December 2012 scheme changed the approach as follows:

  • claimants in the WRAG who fail to comply with the conditions for receiving benefit receive an open ended sanction, followed by a fixed period sanction when they re-comply
  • the sanctionable amount increased to 100% of the prescribed amount for a single claimant
  • a hardship regime for ESA claimants was introduced

Contacts and more information

There is contact information and more about DWP statistics on the Statistics at DWP page.

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