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Missed telephone appointment – might I be sanctioned?

Some moments of sick apprehension today. I remembered, some time after the appointment time, that today was the day for my monthly UC phonecall. There was no missed call on either my mobile or landline, however, although either could have been missed whilst I took my dog out for a walk. I remembered that I had been put into the LCWRA group, and hoped that that was why I had had no phonecall, although in fact I would have appreciated the opportunity to ask what the decision referred to (my previous or a new decision) and remind the DWP of the ongoing errors with my UC housing element.

I forgot about it whilst putting my mobility scooter away, and only remembered whilst watching some beans simmer. I had to wait for them to finish, because I am tired and wobbly today, and to walk to my computer to check my UC journal when I would have to go back to the kitchen within five minutes would be an unhelpful use of energy.

Now, my claimant commitment no longer includes “I’ll attend and take part fully in all meetings with my work coach. I’ll tell my work coach immediately if I can’t do this”. So it may well be that my telephone appointment was cancelled without my being notified. Maybe the reason my journal doesn’t say this is because no part of DWP-UC has realised that a different part of DWP-UC also hasn’t told me. Or perhaps my work coach just didn’t get round to it – last month she was a few minutes late, so perhaps she just ran out of time (work coaches, unlike benefit recipients, are allowed to be late).

I don’t know. So I don’t know if I ‘missed’ an appointment. I don’t know if I’ll be sanctioned.

I take no comfort from being in the LCWRA group, because I still have to commit to logging in to my UC journal regularly, doing any activities I’m told to and notifying them of any change including work; and if I have to ‘commit’ to those things, surely I am at risk of sanctions if I fail? Otherwise there is no commitment to be made. On the other hand, my current claimant commitment page, unlike my previous one, doesn’t have a link to ‘More about sanctions’, so maybe my current commitments aren’t sanctionable if I fail. Except I know that there are penalties (fines, prison sentences…) attached to not reporting a change in circumstances if that change in circumstances should mean a reduction in benefit amount, which whilst not strictly a benefit sanction is still a negative consequence.

I will phone DWP-UC soon, but right now I have a developed a headache and I still feel sick and weak, so I’ll post this blog, take a rest, and update you all later.


Update: I have spoken to the DWP, and the lady on the phone said that it showed at her end that the telephone appointment had been cancelled. Would have been nice for someone to tell me, as it still shows on my account as an appointment even though in a previous instance of a cancelled appointment (to rebook for a different day and time) the entry was removed from my UC journal.

I’m still feeling a bit wobbly about it. Given the right-wing’s opinion of benefit recipients as scroungers who deserve and morally need to be sanctioned, even the possibility of a sanction creates a horrible feeling of being found guilty of moral deviancy and ineptitude.

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