About Andrew Jackson

Andrew is the Project Caseworker for the Stepping Stones project

Case study of an ESA sanction

Glenda came to Stepping Stones when her ESA stopped unexpectedly. She struggles to understand official correspondence and needed help working out what had happened, and what she needed to do next. Her Housing Benefit had stopped as well, but again she was not aware of why this had happened. She had started building up rent arrears and was getting very concerned about a possible eviction.

We went through her correspondence, and it transpired that her ESA had been sanctioned. Glenda is in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG), meaning that her entitlement is dependent on her attending work-focussed training aimed at improving work prospects once a person’s health improves. She had missed three of these appointments, and so her ESA had been sanctioned indefinitely until she re-attended the Work Programme. She was awarded ESA due to numerous serious health problems, all of which present variable symptoms. Some days she is in too much pain to get out of bed, and other days she can just about function normally. In May last year, she suffered a prolonged flare up and her GP referred her to a specialist. She was too ill to attend the Work Programme, so her GP signed a sick note which she sent to the Jobcentre and the Work Programme provider. She was sanctioned for missing three appointments after she had circulated this sick note, despite leaving voicemails for her work coach. Continue reading

Out of borough placements – learning the lessons of Nzolameso

Rachael came to Z2K after having made a successful homeless application. She was offered temporary accommodation in the outer edges of West London; an hour and a half’s journey from her friends, family and crucially her children’s school in East London. She knew that this accommodation was not suitable and would cause a huge disruption to her children’s education, however she accepted the offer for fear of the council discharging their duty to house her family. She moved in and, following our advice, asked for a formal review of the decision to offer her this out of borough accommodation. Continue reading

Introducing the Stepping Stones project

Welfare Reform LogoStepping Stones is a new advice project delivered by Z2K and South West London Law Centres as part of the Big Lottery’s Help Through Crisis Fund. The aim of the project is to identify families and individuals who are in crisis – whether through a benefit sanction, a housing problem, the benefit cap or as a result of any other aspect of the benefits system – and help them to take steps to avoid falling back into crisis in future. Continue reading