Danielle John Hasn’t Been Sanctioned 229 Days For Missing A Meeting

The Observer gives us the tragic tale of benefits sanctions in Britain today. The bastards, the bastards:

Last week, a woman’s sanction letter from the Department for Work and Pensions went viral on Twitter. Danielle John, from Cardiff, simply wrote: “Was told to put this up on Twitter… this was because I had a miscarriage and missed appointment.” These stories are fairly common now. We are used to seeing reports about people being sanctioned because of attending a funeral/cancer treatment/their child being in hospital. But this one struck me in particular because the language was so coldly efficient. Brief to the point of cruelty. I didn’t know it was possible, even in a business letter, to say: “We’re about to ruin your whole life” without a shred of empathy.

The letter, written in February 2017, starts in large font: “You’ll lose some of your payment… This reduction will last 229 days.” Two hundred and 29 days for a single missed appointment. That’s almost 32 weeks of punishment. Or, if you prefer, February until August, with no money at all. When you consider that the harsher punishments for domestic violence introduced in 2018 suggest a sentence towards the upper limit of “a fine to up to 26 weeks’ custody” for common assault, you have to wonder what fantastical, sadistic metric the DWP has used to calculate sanctions.

The only slight problem with this story being that it’s not – how shall we put this? – entirely, wholly and exactly true. And they do in fact link to the tweet itself, telling that full story:

The sanction for not turning up to the meeting was in fact losing a tenner’s worth of benefits for 7 days. £70 for missing the appointment.

Hey, we can regard that as fair or harsh, but it is different.

The other 222 days were because she didn’t actually bother to turn up, or call in and ask for a rescheduling, or, well, actually, do anything at all other than continue to cash the cheques. 222 days of knowing that you’ve screwed up the system and not doing anything about it?

Well, we can regard that as harsh or fair but it is different.

What really annoys is that these people – the journalist complaining that is – aren’t even pretending now. They flaunt the facts in front of us then claim they’re something entirely different. Then, of course, wonder why half the country doesn’t believe a word they say.

34
Leave a Reply

avatar
7 Comment threads
27 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
literate3Danielle JohnDanielleLisa JohnAndrew Carey Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Dodgy Geezer
Guest
Dodgy Geezer

The bit I like is “Was told to put this up on Twitter”. People no longer have their own autonomy, and are encouraged not to be responsible for their actions. In this case the perpetrators no doubt knew that the story would not stack up – but were happy to ‘tell’ someone to put up an assertion that they could then quote in a simplistic fashion to smear the DWP – always with the get-out position that, if something went wrong and people found out that only half the story had been published, they could simply say that they were… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

I’m not quite sure who this reporter things he is firstly who gave you permission to print this & then slag her off people are going through enough without more judgement from you how about you actually listen to the issue’s universal credit causes & write something about that would probably be too much hard work for you seems like you like to take articles from other reporters and rip them to bits danielle didnt wait any 229 days to contact the jobcentre maybe do some fact finding before ripping someone to bots you insensitive prick

timworstall
Guest
timworstall

I don’t actually need permission to print this. It’s a public document now that it’s on Twitter.

Danielle John
Guest
Danielle John

It might have been made a public document but any decent reporter would have at least contacted me.. I would have respected and answered your questions and gave you all the facts.. maybe you should have done that before putting this story out.. we could have worked together and I would have respected anything you had to say after you actually investigated cos if you had, guaranteed this wouldn’t of been your opinion or your story! Shame on you! And next time actually use my picture and not one you scrolled the internet for that fitted your ridiculous and bullshit… Read more »

literate3
Guest
literate3

9 (NINE) miscarriages, “went back on drugs”, shoplifting, advised by mother … – why didn’t she help instead of encouraging you to commit more crimes?

When my younger son was denied DLA for months due solely to incompetence by the DWP (they lost the form he completed and the next one and the next one and the next one and the next one until I wrote to my MP), he didn’t go in for shoplifting.

Lisa John
Guest
Lisa John

@literate3:disqus Ill tell you where I (Her Mother) was. I was in and out of hospital! Unlike your son, my daughter didn’t run to mummy with her problems! In fact, she went out of her way not to let me find out! But I did find out! And by this time, she was already in the depths of addiction! But she is fine now, thanks!! I have Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cervical Spinal Spurs, P.A.D as well as an array of other complications. I don’t go out and socialise like many people are able to do! So as one mother to… Read more »

literate3
Guest
literate3

Your insults are typical Guardianista lies. My son, who has a learning disability, did not “run to mammy”: he spoke to his father because I am supposed to be the (relative) expert on financial matters in our household. I advised him so send the next form “recorded delivery”; he took the third one in to the local Jobcentre and handed it in personally, then sent the next one by Recorded Delivery THEN I wrote to my MP. I am blessed that our local school for children with “moderate” learning disabilities is so excellent that its vulnerable pupils don’t end up… Read more »

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

My mother did not fail to instill common sense or morality thank you very much! Your a very cold woman and I hope you never have to suffer what I went through cos only then you will realise what real suffering is. I made some bad choices but wasn’t of my right mind when I made those choices! I waited 15 years after getting clean to make sure I was stable and ready for the responsibility of having another child after getting clean.. I had a job a career and a good life and having the miscarriages and waiting nearly… Read more »

literate3
Guest
literate3

I actually do understand reality which is why I and my family are still standing after everything that life has thrown at us. Possibly I understand it a bit better than someone who decides to try for a baby without a partner to support her; possibly a bit better than someone who draws benefit for four-and-a-bit months without visiting the Jobcentre; possibly better than someone who expects to create sympathy by making false accusations against my son who keeps looking for work and periodically finds it despite his learning disability – *that* says that you are a “bad person” regardless… Read more »

Danielle John
Guest
Danielle John

Lmao you have the cheek to call me stupid when you obviously can’t read! I had a partner and also a job when I started trying for a baby! And I had only been on UC for two months prior to missing the appointment and where I always had a job I didn’t know how the job centre worked or how many times you would have to go there, sorry I’m not familiar with the benefits process.. and seeing as though I received all my appointments by email and didn’t ever receive one for this so called appointment is one… Read more »

literate3
Guest
literate3

Actually you are the one who cannot read – I didn’t call you stupid.
You did make false accusations.

You reportedly claimed Jobseekers Allowance (part of Universal Credit) for four months without once visiting the Jobcentre.

You reportedly stole when your benefit was stopped but now say that you had a partner to support you.

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

Oh sorry your the father my bad.. you would never be able to understand cos your not interested! You don’t want to! You just wanna pass judgement and try and belittle people cos you take people’s personal issues and you nullify them.. sometimes you can’t control things especially if your mental health is in question. But to attack me like I’m a bad person cos of what happened to me shame on you!

literate3
Guest
literate3

You are not a bad person because of what happened to you – if you are a bad person it because of what you did. You are not responsible for the DWP but you are responsible for yourself.

Danielle John
Guest
Danielle John

And to say my mother encouraged me to commit crimes.. if i stole a 5p lolly she would kick off.. my mother would never in a million years encourage me to shoplift.. another wrong assumption.. I’m unsubscribing from this rag cos that’s all it is. I’m not explaining myself again. Your a horrible judgemental cruel person. People like you make the world a cruel cold place. Continue ya nasty bitching with ya made up stories.. I know the truth! Karma is a bitch.. enjoy ya life!

Casee Malakian Leigh
Guest
Casee Malakian Leigh

You’re a disgrace to the word Journalist.

Lisa John
Guest
Lisa John

You are like a vulture, picking bits off and devouring them for your self satisfaction! And you are correct you dont need permission to print her story! But you have NO RIGHT to add your story to it without consulting her! You had NO RIGHT vilifying my daughter!! You had no RIGHT presuming things and you had NO RIGHT using my daughters story to “get at” the Journalist who wrote it!! You are a vile man!! And as for the picture you used to headline my daughters story!! That is not my daughter!! That picture is from where? Who are… Read more »

Danielle John
Guest
Danielle John

It was my mum that told me to put it on Twitter.. when I found the sanction letter whilst going through my papers.. I missed the appointment in July and I didn’t realise due to the depression. 5 months later they stopped my money. 9 miscarriages attempted suicide sanction and no money for months no food no gas no electric started shoplifting to survive and then getting even more depressed from having to live like this not knowing how and when I’m next gonna be able to eat or have electric unless I stole and eventually I ended up back… Read more »

Inquirer
Guest
Inquirer

The letter is dated Feb 2017.
Sorry about the miscarriage, but it took 229 days reschedule an appointment, and 2 and a half years to put this on Twitter.
Miss John’s world revolves a little slower than it should.

Lisa John
Guest
Lisa John

Let me enlighten you all. Firstly, it didnt take 229 days for Danielle to contact them. They stopped her money 4 months after the missed appointment. That was when she contacted them. They then told her she was on an open ended sanction. (The appointment being July and the she contacted them November). She then received the letter with the decision to sanction her for 229 days (222 days plus 7 days for this type of sanction?). She went through the Mandatory Reconsideration process which upheld its decision. (Keep in mind, Danielle was going through an very emotional as well… Read more »

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

The outcome letter from the Mandatory Reconsideration would be interesting. Any chance of redacting the person details (address, national insurance number, date of birth etc) and scanning a copy of it onto twitter?

Lisa John
Guest
Lisa John

She never received a letter for MR decision. She rang because she hadnt heard from them and she was told over the phone.

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

That sounds iffy, not being sent a notification letter. I’m surprised the journalist didn’t pick this up if she had some inquisitorial nature. The guidance here
says The benefits office that gave you the original benefit decision will reconsider it – you’ll get a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’ telling you whether they’ve changed the decision. It’ll explain the reasons for that decision and the evidence it was based on.
You can request a copy of it though and then upload it. Do please report back, although the world will have moved on by the time it comes.

Danielle John
Guest
Danielle John

I have requested it and I’m still waiting..as soon as I do get it I will post.. would be nice to see this letter myself as I did not receive anything

Dave Pod Clock Lawrence
Guest
Dave Pod Clock Lawrence

An expert on the benefit system – who has probably no experience of it………FYI my partner was classified as unfirt for work in feb 2019….it was stated we would receive a letter in 7 days…it took six weeks to get clarification of dates due to repeated failings by the DWP to respond despite 6 questions on journal and 2 Job Centre visits and as for the letter we were to receive after 7 days its 168 days and still waiting – the guidance may as well be read on Jackanory for what its worth – it may serve some benefit… Read more »

Phoenix44
Guest
Phoenix44

So you point is what?

Let’s make a big assumption here – you are a Lefty. Here is clear evidence that government is useless, uncaring and unable to actually consider the individual.

And what you want is more of that. Because…Lefty.

Dave Pod Clock Lawrence
Guest
Dave Pod Clock Lawrence

How can anyone call this journalism………….take limited information from a post on the internet put your own spin on it to suit a poor journalistic style with no consultation nor fact checking, jump to a conclusion and that is reality journalism……there is actually a clue in the piece about how incorrect it’s assumptions are…”continued to cash the cheques”…..sorry which decade were you referring to there….I need not say more Danieele’s mother beat me to it……

Jonathan Harston
Guest
Jonathan Harston

The first two lines were readable, then it descends into punctuation diarrhea.

William stead
Guest
William stead

Is there something wrong with you? The total sanction was a result of a tragic episode in her life that was met with a total lack of empathy. At no point did she say the whole sanction had resulted just from ‘Just’ missing her appointment, but rather from a combination of events. Those events were clearly set out in the accompanying screen shot of the statement from the DWP. The £70 sanction you refer to was bad enough, to lose 7 days money is absolutely abhorrent. This is not ‘play’ money, this is no bills or food for a week.… Read more »

timworstall
Guest
timworstall

It wasn’t Danielle who was the target of my post. Rather, the journalist at The Guardian who managed to avoid explaining what did happen.

William stead
Guest
William stead

Your explanation mainly consisted of vilifying Danielle, with a small complaint at the end re the Guardian journalist. Your coverage was much worse as you sought to explain why she deserved the sanction while trying to clarify it was her fault. You made no attempt to fact check..eg she missed an appointment but wasn’t informed that was an issue until the next time she made contact, several months later. At that point a purely punitive sanction was applied that she had no option or choice to mitigate. Lets just say there is a fine for walking down a street, proportional… Read more »

Phoenix44
Guest
Phoenix44

So your point is that the state is uncaring and incompetent, and you think Tim somehow hasn’t noticed that?

And your solution to that is to have more of that uncaring and incompetent state, with more people relying on that uncaring incompetence. Hmm, I think you haven’t really thought this one through.

William stead
Guest
William stead

Your comment shows your bias.

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

Have you got any ideas on how the DWP could improve? When I don’t pay Council Tax I get an SMS message. I missed a house viewing once, and got a call asking if everything was all right from the agent. Now there’s self-interest there as both wanted my money. Incentives matter, and both are devolved systems to LA level and local letting agent level. But it’s surely possible with the technology we have today to send an e-mail or SMS alert to anyone missing an appointment asking ‘Hope you’re all right, please contact us to reschedule to keep your… Read more »

Casee Malakian Leigh
Guest
Casee Malakian Leigh

Are you sick in the head or just professional c**ts?! I bet you’re the sweaty salted pork looking product who also shouts about we should help our own? The woman had a miscarriage. She lost a child. You clearly as a man have NO idea what that does to someone emotionally or physically. How the days drift into a blur. How DARE you even try vrush that aside as nothing. £70 might seem slight to you but £70 to me is a fortnight worth of food. It’s the difference between paying council tax or having heating for a month. £70… Read more »