DWP reveals 2,400 died after being deemed fit for work

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Atos was contracted to carry out work capability assessements on behalf of the UK government 

Eighty claimants a month are dying despite being deemed fit for work 

27th August 2015 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Nearly 2,400 people have died since being deemed fit for work by DWP assessors, new figures show.  

Department for Work and Pensions statistics show that between December 2011 and February 2014 some 2,380 people died after work capability assessments (WCAs) judged them able to work.

The same data also revealed 50,580 recipients of employment and support allowance benefit (ESA) in the UK died within 14 days of their claim ending.

Of the 50,580, 7,200 claimants died after being awarded ESA and being placed in the work-related activity group.

People placed in this group are deemed unfit to work but may be able to return to work in the future.

However, an advisory comes with the figures as the cause of death is not recorded by the DWP and is therefore impossible to show whether a death was linked to an incorrect assessment.

The DWP responded by saying any causal effect between benefits and mortality cannot be assumed from the statistics. 

Are these deaths being hastened artificially by the DWP’s treatment of them - Mike Sivier

“Additionally, these isolated figures provide limited scope for analysis and nothing can be gained from this publication that would allow the reader to form any judgment as to the effects or impacts of the work capability assessment,” it said.

“DWP does not hold information on the reason for death, therefore no causal effect between the WCA decision and the number of people who died within a year of that decision should be assumed from these figures.”

Mike Sivier, an anti-welfare cuts blogger who made the initial freedom of information request for this data to be released, said that while it was accepted the deaths couldn’t be blamed on the DWP, the increase in the frequency of deaths was enough to  raise questions.

He said: “The work-related activity group is composed entirely of people who are expected to recover from their illnesses and be well enough to return to work within a year. In that group, there should be no deaths at all – barring accidents.

“Why have all these people lost their lives after being assigned there?"

Deaths in the support group and the assessment phase are more problematic because they involve people who do have serious illnesses, many of whom may be expected to die while claiming. 

But Sivier questioned: “Are these deaths being hastened artificially by the DWP’s treatment of them?”

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady called for an urgent inquiry into the back-to-work regime.

"The fact that more than 80 people are dying each month shortly after being declared fit for work should concern us all. We need a welfare system that supports people to find decent jobs not one that causes stress and ill health," she said.

Disability Benefits Consortium co-chairman Rob Holland said the figures warranted further investigation.

"We know the fit for work test is failing disabled people, with devastating consequences,” he said.

“Wrong decisions can mean people are left with little or no support at all, in some cases struggling to pay for their homes and basic essentials like food and heating."

28th August 2015 by nathaniel

Cameron needs to be charged with genocide after reading that report bang out of order just to save a bob or two