A Cardiff woman had thousands of pounds cut from her Universal Credit Payment upon missing an appointment with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) job center one day after a miscarriage she suffered previously.
The Mirror reports that the woman received a notification from the DWP after forgetting to inform her work coaches about the medical emergency.
The woman, identified as Danielle John, received a letter saying that her failure to attend the meeting will result in her losing a part of her universal credit. The letter also mentioned that there is a possibility of her losing her entire UC payment for a time.
Specifically, John was sanctioned to lose a total of GBP 2,381.60. This is due to a GBP 10.40 deduction from her payments for 229 days.
As a result, John, who was training for a legal secretary position, lost her opportunities. She was also “[fell] back into drug use” after being sober for 15 years and shoplifting. Moreover, she had 8 other miscarriages since.
According to the report, John has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), resulting in recurring miscarriages. Her doctor reached out to the DWP to explain the situation but the DWP rejected such pleas for reconsideration.
The miscarriage happened four months before her payments stopped in November. The DWP also told John that the penalty is caused by eight appointments over five months.
However, John maintained that the letter came after she missed her first appointment.
In an announcement, the spokesperson remarked that their job center personnel are trained in assisting vulnerable individuals such as John. The spokesperson also said that sanctions are used as a last option. The department also claims to be willing to remove sanctions when informed of valid reasons, even retrospectively.