Sanctions

The rules for sanctions are set out in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.

Sanctionable failures

Section 26 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets out what failures can lead to a higher level sanction.

Section 27 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets out what failures can lead to medium level, low level and lowest level sanctions.

Reduction period

Regulation 102 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the length of the reduction periods for higher level sanctions.

Regulation 103 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the length of the reduction periods for medium level sanctions.

Regulation 104 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the length of the reduction periods for lower level sanctions.

Regulation 105 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the length of the reduction periods for lowest level sanctions.

Regulations 106 to 109 of SI.No.376/2013

Provide for when the reduction period will start and finish.

Deduction amount

Regulations 110 and 111 of SI.No.376/2013

Provide for how much will be deducted for a particular sanction.

Regulation 113 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the circumstances when no reduction should be applied.

In Northern Ireland, the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015 together with SR.No.216/2016 make provisions that are largely equivalent to that in Great Britain.

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for Decision Makers

Chapter K1

Guidance on what is a sanctionable failure, how decisions about sanctionable failures are made, and the requirements on the DWP to give prior information to claimants about their responsibilities and the consequences of not meeting them.

Advice for Decision Makers

Chapter K2

Guidance on when there may be ‘good reason’ for failing to comply with work-related requirements.

Advice for Decision Makers

Chapter K3, Chapter K4, Chapter K5 and Chapter K6

Guidance on when higher level sanctions, medium level sanctions, low level sanctions and lowest level sanctions respectively might apply and the length of the reduction period in each case.

Advice for Decision Makers

Chapter K8

Guidance on when a reduction will start and finish.

Advice for Decision Makers

Chapter K9

Guidance and examples of how the daily reduction rate is calculated.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Sanctions

​Sets out when sanctions can and cannot be applied, the different levels of sanctions, how the amount of the sanction is calculated and the deduction rate, and when they come to an end.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Fail to attend

​Sets out the requirement to attend different appointments, the consequences for failing to attend and considerations that should be taken into account for claimants who fail to attend.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Failure to attend - good reason

​Sets out that good reasons can be accepted without referral to a decision maker, when referrals should be made to a decision maker, and when good reason can be accepted

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

Upper Tribunal

[2019] UKUT 408 (AAC)

Claimant’s view that it would be pointless to apply for a vacancy does not amount to a good reason for failing to apply for a vacancy as directed by the Secretary of State.

Upper Tribunal

[2018] UKUT 360 (AAC)

Tribunals may need to consider validity of conditionality requirements imposed on claimants when deciding sanction cases.

Upper Tribunal

[2018] UKUT 227 (AAC)

A claimant who fails to attend an interview because they are unaware of a notification letter must have good reason for not attending.

Upper Tribunal

[2017] UKUT 477 (AAC)

‘Good cause’ case law applies to consideration of ‘good reason’ / ignorance of law is capable of founding ‘good reason’ for failure to carry out work-related requirement.