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JSA sanctions – an easement for homeless people

Some easement of JSA sanctions for the homeless

A new easement may assist some people facing homelessness who could otherwise face Job Seeker Allowance sanctions if they struggle with the requirement to be actively seeking and available for work.  

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Homeless Claimants) Amendment Regulations 2014 came into force on 21st July 2014. Under this regulation people who are ‘recently homeless’ and who are taking ‘reasonable’ steps to find accommodation may not face sanctions. The decision will be made by a Work Coach at the Job Centre.

This new easement is greatly welcomed, although there is some concern that some groups of homeless people may not be covered by it, particularly those staying with friends or relatives on a temporary basis (often referred to as ‘sofa surfers’).  

A memo by Decision Making and Appeals (DMA) Leeds provides some guidance and sets out how different situations will be treated under the new regulation.  

It is hoped, however, that the new regulation will be of some assistance to housing support workers as they seek to help some homeless claimants deal with JSA sanctions or avoid them in the first place.  

If you are a support worker and wish to gain further insight into how you can help a homeless person manage their entitlement to Job Seeker Allowance or other benefits you can contact the national SCOTWRAS service provided by CPAG by phoning: 0141 552 0552 or visit www.scotwras.org