Brits on Universal Credit sanctions denied £326 cost of living payment

EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY AUGUST 17 File photo dated 19/11/14 of an elderly lady with her electric fire on at home. "Unprecedented numbers" of pensioners may die in their homes this winter without government help to pay spiralling energy bills, a charity has warned the Tory leadership contenders. Age UK has written to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, urging them to commit publicly to emergency support for older people and those on low incomes to keep their homes heated. Issue date: Wednesday August 17, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS SocialCare. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

BRITS on Universal Credit who have had their benefits stopped won’t get a £326 cost of living payment, it was revealed today.

The lump sum to help millions cope with spiralling prices and soaring inflation started hitting bank accounts last month.

Some Universal Credit claimants sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions won’t receive July’s cost of living payment

So far more than seven million low income households have received it.

But anyone with a “nil award” won’t be entitled to the payment.

Nil awards are given to claimants for a number of reasons, including if they receive a bonus or work overtime.

They can also apply if a person has been sanctioned by a Jobcentre for not meeting rules around claiming benefits.

Labour hit out at the government today, accusing ministers of “pushing more people into hardship”.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Zombie ministers need to reverse this disgraceful decision, pronto.

“There was nothing in the fine print of the government announcement saying those sanctioned would get no help.

“This is a crisis and ministers should be offering real help.”

New figures show a staggering 100k Brits had their benefits docked by the DWP in May this year.

The number is more than double that of just six months ago, when only 49k Brits were sanctioned.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “It is right that people who can work are encouraged to take up employment and people are only sanctioned if they fail, without good reason, to meet the conditions they agreed to.

“Those with a Universal Credit ‘nil award’ during the (cost of living payment) qualifying period who weren’t eligible could be entitled retrospectively if a sanction is successfully appealed and could still be entitled to the second instalment which is due to be paid in the autumn.”

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