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New sanctions rules came into force for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants in October 2012. They broadly align the rules for JSA sanctions with the rules to be introduced for Universal Credit and introduce:
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
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:
on the first day of the benefit week in which the offence occurred, if the claimant has not been paid JSA for that week, or
on the first day of the benefit week following the date the claimant was last paid JSA