Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that the number of sick and disabled people who have had their sickness benefit sanctioned is on the rise.

According to available figures, which were released in response to a freedom of information request (pdf), sickness benefit claimants with mental health problems are far more likely to have their benefit slashed than those with a physical disability.

The table below shows an estimate of the number of adverse Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sanction decisions between July 2013 and December 2013, broken down by the Summary International Classification of Diseases (ICD) cause of incapacity recorded at the start of the claim.

The DWP is keen to point out that only claimants within the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA can be ‘sanctioned’, or have their benefits cut for alleged non-compliance.

According to the DWP only 1% of the total ESA WRAG caseload received an adverse sanction decision for the quarter ending Aug 13, but those numbers appear to be on the rise.


Cells in this table have had statistical disclosure control applied to avoid the release of confidential data. Therefore totals may not be the sum of the individual cells. Figures are to 31 December 2013, which is the latest data available.

DWP: ‘Please note that the figures supplied are derived from unpublished information and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution’.