Iain Duncan Smith laughing

DWP has been forced to withdraw a leaflet on benefit sanctions after comments from supposed claimants were revealed to be, errrr, made up and stuff.

The department ‘fessed up up after a freedom of information request from Welfare Weekly asked them to provide evidence that photos and comments on a disability benefits leaflet were real. They responded:

“The photos used are stock photos and along with the names do not belong to real claimants … The stories are for illustrative purposes only.

With an inquiry by MPs hearing evidence of arbitrary justifications for sanctions, the literature featured quotes from two ‘claimants’ — including one docked benefits after she failed to produce a CV:

DWP fake testimonial: Zac

DWP fake sanctions testimonial: Sarah

The pictures look to be DWP’s own stock photos. Scrapbook has found the same picture of “Sarah” on a Universal Credit website — cast, ironically enough, not as lazy dole-dossing scum but a dynamic jobseeker “standing out from the crowd”:

DWP fake testimonial: Sarah again!

The news comes after DWP were accused of planting fake tweets praising the beleaguered Universal Credit scheme:

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  1. Jonathan Wilson says:

    Not only were the quotes false, but more annoyingly the facts were wrong as well.
    “I got a letter to say my benefit would go down for two weeks.”
    Should actually say:
    “I got a letter to say my benefit would be stopped entirely, on top of that the council would get an electronic notification of stopped benefits so they would automatically stop my housing benefit and charge me the full rate for the council tax; no one informed me this would happen and I only found out long after the eviction process had started and the council had involved the bailiffs to get the full council tax. As I didn’t find out till after a month had passed, even when I sorted the problem they couldn’t back date the claim for a “zero income” notification. To top it all, when my benefits were re-instated the DWP didn’t inform the council as the notification is only automatic when benefits are stopped and not when they start again. Because of this I am now being evicted by my landlord.”

    Now originally when benefits were “sanctioned” they stopped for a number of days. Since 2012 (2010?) the default is now a week, month, three years. So not “reduced” but STOPPED.

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