Welfare benefit recipients who are subject to benefit sanctions live below the subsistence level for a fixed period of time. Individuals with low education bear an increased risk of being sanctioned. Quantitative analyses of linked administrative and survey data indicate that this increased risk cannot be attributed to a lower motivation to work or a lower willingness to make concessions regarding job offers. Our analyses of qualitative interviews and individual case files reveal complex processes: Low cultural capital when dealing with administrative matters, a habitual distance vis-à-vis job center employees as well as previous negative attributions in case files can advance the sanctioning of low-skilled welfare recipients. In this way, sanctions contribute to the (re)production of social inequality.