People with ME can be reassured that it is worth challenging Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions, according to recent statistics.

Disability Rights UK blog post, 17 August 2017: High success rate in ESA sanction challenges

New DWP statistics show that many ESA sanctions are reversed following review and challenge.

For the period from 3 December 2012 to 31 March 2017 –

  • there were 66,024 decision reviews of which 29,909 (45%) resulted in no sanction being applied;
  • there were a total of 2,597 mandatory reconsiderations of which 1,493 (57%) resulted in the reversal of the sanction decision; and
  • there were 607 appeals of which 199 (33%) overturned the sanction decision.
    The Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit sanctions: decisions made to March 2017 are available @

For more information about benefit sanctions see our factsheet @

See also our factsheet on mandatory reconsiderations and appeals @

Note: Earlier this month, the DWP published three into work reports suggested a softly-softly approach works better than sanctions. The reports evaluate the ESA additional support trials which took place in 2015.

Crucially, the reports place emphasis on empathy in relation to a claimant’s needs rather than the current ‘sanctions stick’ approach. In fact, many claimants did not see the voluntary or mandatory nature of participating in the trials as making a difference to their engagement and were least engaged by the mandatory trials.

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