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Failure to keep appointments accounts for three out of four sanctions

Fall in the number of sanctions - missed signing-on appointments are the most frequent grounds
10 Apr 2019 | Press Release No. 15
  • There was a fall in the number of sanctions last year
  • Over 90 per cent of claimants are unaffected by sanctions
  • Three-quarters of all sanctions result from missed appointments - despite SMS reminders

Fall in the number of sanctions - missed signing-on appointments are the most frequent grounds

Job centres had to impose 904,000 sanctions on people entitled to benefits ("Hartz IV recipients") last year. The number of benefit cuts thus fell slightly by 49,000 compared to the previous year.

At 77 percent, a large proportion of the sanctions is attributable to missing signing-on appointments. Job Centres had to impose 693,000 sanctions of this nature last year because appointments were missed without major cause. In these cases regular benefits were reduced by ten per cent for three months. In cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency, Job Centres have set up an SMS reminder service to reduce the number of missed appointments. If clients wish, a reminder is sent to their mobile phones 24 hours before an appointment.

96,000 sanctions were imposed for refusing to take up a job or undergo other measures, or for aborting them. Breaches of obligations under the integration agreement led to a reduction in benefits in 78,000 cases. First offences led to regular benefits being reduced by 30 per cent for three months, second offences to reductions of 60 per cent. Any further offence within a year leads to the total loss of basic provision. Claimants under 25 have their regular benefits cut by 100 per cent. Repeat offences lead to the loss of housing benefit.

Monthly sanction rate still at around three per cent Ÿ- Over 90 per cent are unaffected by sanctions

An average of 3.2 per cent of able-bodied claimants are sanctioned per month.

A total of 441,000 able-bodied claimants suffered at least one sanction in 2018. The number of recorded sanctions is not identical with the number of sanctioned claimaints because certain individuals were sanctioned more than once.
In the whole of the year some 8.5 per cent of able-bodied claimants had their benefits reduced for at least one breach.
Both figures show that over 90 per cent of claimants are unaffected by sanctions.

Young people most affected by sanctions

Young people under 25 are more seriously affected by sanctions. This is because the law provides for young people to suffer the total loss of their regular benefits for a first offence more serious than missing a signing-on appointment. Any further breach within a year results in the reduction of housing benefit too. "We have already proposed abolishing the more severe sanction rules for young people. The threat of homelessness doesn't get us anywhere. We lose sight of the young people and can no longer do anything for them", says Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the BA Board.

Background – monthly and annual sanction rates

The monthly and annual sanction rates (3.2 and 8.5 per cent respectively) express different truths. The monthly sanction rate indicates how many claimants were sanctioned on the reporting date in a specific month. This number can be reported for each Job Centre and differentiated by groups of persons. It enables a differentiated analysis to be conducted of the roles played by sanctions in a Job Centre.

The annual sanction rate is derived by adding up all the persons sanctioned at least once during the year. Until now this figure has only been available at national level. It is necessarily higher, because in the course of a year more people with single sanctions are counted than the average on a monthly reporting date.

For comparison, here is an example from another area. If we consider the monthly average number of parking fines issued in a city, it will always be less that the total of all the tickets issued in the same city in the course of the year.