Socialist Worker

Were claimants killed by benefit changes? DWP won't tell

Issue No. 2463

How did 49 people die after cuts or changes to their disability benefits? 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) ran peer reviews to find out—but it can keep the findings secret.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has ruled that the DWP is not obliged to share its results, based on rules designed to protect claimants’ confidentiality. 

Campaigners argue that data could be anonymised—and that without challenging the DWP the deaths could continue.

The reviews represent a small proportion of those believed dead as a result of benefit cuts. Of the 49 people whose cases were reviewed, ten had been “sanctioned”.

This is where benefits are cut off to punish claimants for failing to jump through enough hoops to show they are looking for work.

Claimants had killed themselves, or apparently killed themselves, in 40 of the cases.

Some 33 of the cases reviewed called for changes to DWP procedures.

A further 11 reviews looked at the treatment of people who did not die.


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