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DWP carried out more than 200 secret reviews into benefit deaths over the last decade, new figures suggest

11 June 2021

The DWP has carried out secret reviews into more than 175 deaths of benefit claimants since February 2012, including 80 in the last three full calendar years, according to new figures obtained by the Disability News Service (DNS).

The figures also suggest, says the DNS, that DWP has now carried out more than 200 secret reviews into the deaths of claimants over the last decade.

Information released to the DNS through a freedom of information request also shows that the DWP carried out:

  • 40 internal process reviews into deaths in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic;
  • 22 reviews into deaths last year; and
  • in total 126 reviews in the five years between January 2016 and the end of December 2020.

DNS says;

“The figures should add weight to calls for an independent inquiry into DWP failings that have led to the deaths of claimants, and whether there has been misconduct by senior civil servants and ministers.

There is added urgency to those calls as DWP says it has already destroyed its own reports into deaths that took place pre-2016.”

It adds:

Only last month, DNS revealed that new evidence suggested that DWP had lied when it claimed that it had no “duty of care” to protect disabled benefit claimants.

This follows a decade of cases linking DWP’s policies and practices to the deaths of disabled people, particularly those who were being assessed for ESA and PIP and had experience of mental distress.”

For more information see DWP admits carrying out more than 175 secret reviews into benefit deaths in nine years available from disabilitynewsservice.com.

See also our related news story DR UK urges Secretary of State to launch independent inquiry into benefit related claimant deaths.