Benefit cut in job hunt row

Sean Halkyard from Castleford. Had his benefits stopped for effectively applying for too many jobs in one week.'p301a338

Sean Halkyard from Castleford. Had his benefits stopped for effectively applying for too many jobs in one week.'p301a338

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A Castleford jobseeker claims his benefit has been stopped by the job centre because he looked for too many jobs in one week.

Sean Halkyard, 24, said Castleford Jobcentre Plus sanctioned him last Tuesday for applying for six jobs in one week and none the second, instead of three in each week.

His Jobseekers Allowance was stopped for 13 weeks for breaching his job search agreement. He was previously sanctioned for a similar breach two months ago, and lost his benefit for four weeks.

Mr Halkyard, of Cutsyke Avenue, said: “I have to apply for three jobs in a week, and I have to be looking daily online for jobs, and I have been doing that.

“But you have to apply for jobs when they come up, and because I applied for the last three jobs on Sunday and Monday, they didn’t count as being in the second week, which with the job centre runs from Tuesday to Tuesday, and I’ve been sanctioned.”

Mr Halkyard, a trained mechanic, lost his last job just over a year ago due to illness. He said he had appealed against his first sanction, and would be appealing against the new one. He also plans to take the issue up with his MP, Yvette Cooper.

He added: “I feel I’m being victimised. I’m going to have to rely on my family. The first time it wasn’t too bad, but my dad is disabled and I don’t know how I can cope for 13 weeks.”

A DWP spokesman said: “It’s only right that people should do everything they can to find work if they want to claim Jobseekers Allowance.

“We make it clear to people at the start of their claim what the rules are and that they risk losing their benefits if they don’t play by them.

“Sanctions are only used as a last resort and people who are in genuine need can apply for hardship payments. If someone disagrees with a decision made on their claim they can appeal.”

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