Benefits payments are received through the bank accounts of claimants and are usually revised periodically on the basis of claimants’ assessments for work capability as well as income level. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether benefits can be stopped without any notification to the claimants. In addition to this, we will also explore the reasons why benefits payments can be stopped by the DWP; as well as how a claimant can identify if they have been sanctioned from receiving benefits payments. 

Can Benefits Be Stopped Without Notification?

Yes, benefits can be stopped without notification from the Department of Work and Pensions. 

For instance, there have been instances when payments to claimants of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) were stopped due to a lack of sufficient evidence on the part of the claimants that could support their benefits claim. In many cases, the DWP did not inform the claimants in advance that their payments are going to be stopped and they were only able to realise a missed payment when it did not arrive as per the usual schedule.

Even when claimants do provide the required information, it may take some time for the DWP to process the information and resume ESA payments and update their records. This means that claimants will be without income support for some time.

There are other reasons for benefits payments being stopped. Sometimes, ESA payments can be stopped if a claimant fails the medical assessment. In such cases, they may have to apply for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) as they no longer qualify for ESA.

In the case of New Style ESA, your payments will automatically be stopped after a year so that a new work assessment is carried out before the next set of payments resumes.

Your Universal Credit payments can also be suspended if you have experienced a change in circumstances but have failed to report them to the DWP. In such cases, the DWP will ask you to provide the following information:

  • a birth certificate if you have a new baby
  • proof of a change in address if you have moved your house
  • details of your financial information
  • updated medical information

Your Housing Benefit may be cut perhaps due to the benefits cap or you occupying a spare bedroom. If you suspect that you will not be able to pay your rent on time as a result of this, you should inform your landlord and apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment through your local council office.

If claimants are unable to pay for daily expenses due to benefits such as ESA, JSA or Universal Credit being stopped, they can apply for a Hardship Payment at their Job Centre. This will amount to around 60% of their benefit payment and will cover their expenses until their benefits payments resume. In certain cases, this amount can also be raised to 80%. Hardship payments are interest-free loans taken from the DWP which can be repaid through small instalments in the form of reduced benefits payments.

In such cases, the DWP informs claimants in advance that their benefits payments are going to be stopped by sending them a letter, This letter also mentions the date by which these payments will no longer be applicable. If a claimant is unable to find this letter, they should contact the DWP either through telephone on 0800 169 0310 or a text phone via 0800 169 0314.

Why Have My Benefits Been Stopped?

Sometimes, claimants can be sanctioned by the DWP due to false claims which can stop future payments of the benefits. However, claimants belonging to the ESA group cannot be sanctioned while those in the work-related activity group can be. This may happen under the following conditions:

  • the claimant does not attend a work-related interview
  • the claimant attends the work-related interview but does not take part in the interview
  • the claimant does not take part in a work-related activity which is compulsory for them

If you were claiming income support from the DWP, your benefits payments can be stopped by them due to the following reasons:

  • you have not reported a change in circumstances that affects your benefits claim
  • the DWP has evidence that your income is more than what you have stated in your claim application
  • you have not responded to the DWP when they have asked you questions regarding certain details of your claim
  • the DWP has proof that you are no longer caring for someone (while your claim states that you do)
  • your child has turned 5 years old

If you believe that your benefits have stopped due to an error, you should inform your Job Centre at Department for Work and Pensions within a month’s time. This is called a mandatory reconsideration.

How Do I Know If My Benefits Are Stopped Due To A Sanction?

If the DWP sanctions claimants and reduces or stops their benefits payments they will either inform them with a sanction notification in the form of a letter or as a message posted on your Universal Credit online account.

The sanction notification informs claimants of the following information:

  • the reason why they have been sanctioned
  • the level of sanction assigned to their claim
  • the time duration until when the sanction will last
  • the amount of money that will be deducted from their benefits payments
  • the applicable date of the sanction

Benefits that can be sanctioned include the following:

  • Employment and Support Allowance (and you’re in the work-related activity group)
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Conclusion:

The discussion in this article makes it clear that benefits can be stopped without a notification although the DWP usually does inform claimants when benefits are to be stopped by sending a letter of notification through their online account. If claimants have reason to believe that their payments have been stopped in error, they must contact the Job Centre to inquire about the details.

FAQs: Can Benefits Be Stopped Without Notification?

Why would they stop my ESA?

The Department for Work and Pensions may stop or reduce your ESA payments if you do not qualify for limited capability for work anymore.

Why has my income support been stopped by the DWP?

If you have not reported a change in circumstances or increase in income to the DWP, they can stop your income support payments.

What does suspend benefits mean?

Suspend benefits means the temporary or permanent stoppage of benefits payments to claimants either due to a sanction or due to the end of their ability to qualify for them.

What happens when ESA stops?

When your contribution-based ESA stops you won’t have to do anything. At the end of the year, your contirbution-based ESA will be replaced with an income-based ESA.

Can Universal Credit just stop payments?

Yes, Universal Credit can just stop payments if a claimant does not meet their responsibilities or the terms agreed to in their Claimant Commitment, 

References:

ESA Stopped Without Notice. What Can I Do?  | OptimistMinds

Benefit sanctions and what to do about them | MoneyHelper

If your Income Support has stopped – Citizens Advice

Six reasons you could have your benefits stopped and how long it could last explained | The Sun

What to do if your universal credit reduces or stops – Shelter England

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