“You’re starving because…?”

And whilst we’re talking about benefit sanctions…

If we believe that our society should be one where no one is left to starve or to go without food, warmth, and shelter, then there can be no good reason to cut off someone’s only means of procuring these basic human necessities. But this point aside, some sanction decisions are surreal in their awfulness. Here’s a nifty list collated by i100 of the eleven most senseless sanction decisions.

  • A man with heart problems who was on Employment and Support Allowance had a heart attack during a work capability assessment. He was then sanctioned for failing to complete the assessment.
  • A man who had gotten a job that was scheduled to begin in two week’s time was sanctioned for not looking for work as he waited for the role to start.
  • Army veteran Stephen Taylor, 60, whose Jobseeker’s Allowance was stopped after he sole poppies in memory of fallen soldiers.
  • A man had to miss his regular appointment at the job centre to attend his father’s funeral. He was sanctioned even though he told DWP staff in advance.
  • Ceri Padley, 26, had her benefits sanctioned because she missed an appointment at the jobcentre – because she was at a job interview.
  • A man got sanctioned for missing his slot to sign on – as he was attending a work programme interview. He was then sanctioned as he could not afford to travel for his job search.
  • Sean Halkyward, 24, said his benefits were sanctioned because he looked for too many jobs in one week.
  • Mother-of-three Angie Goodwin, 27, said her benefits were sanctioned after she applied for a role job centre staff said was beyond her.
  • Sofya Harrison was sanctioned for attending a job interview and moving her signing-on to another day.
  • Michael, 54, had his benefits sanctioned for four months for failing to undertake a week’s work experience at a charity shop. The charity shop had told him they didn’t want him there.
  • Terry Eaton, 58, was sanctioned because he didn’t have the bus fare he needed to attend an appointment with the job centre.

All of this could be funny in its ridiculousness if it weren’t for the fact that people are, you know, dying as a result of having their benefits stopped.