DWP refuses to provide information on ESA/IB deaths. What is it hiding?

Posted originally by Mike Sivier on Vox Political here: DWP refuses to provide information on ESA/IB deaths. What is it hiding?.Brian McArdle. On the BBC's Question Time in November last year, Iain Duncan Smith flew into a rage when Owen Jones challenged him about what happened to Mr McArdle, "57 years old, paralysed down one side, blind in one eye; he couldn’t speak. He died one day after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos."

Brian McArdle. On the BBC’s Question Time in November last year, Iain Duncan Smith flew into a rage when Owen Jones challenged him about what happened to Mr McArdle, “57 years old, paralysed down one side, blind in one eye; he couldn’t speak. He died one day after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos.”

Once bitten, twice shy – the DWP has refused to release an update to its figures on the deaths of people in receipt of incapacity benefits (including Employment and Support Allowance).

Long-term readers may recall there was quite a stir last year when these figures were released, showing that around 73 people were dying every week after having been denied ESA or put in the work-related activity group.

This was more than twice as many as the previously-accepted figure of 32 people every week (which was still scandalous).

I received word of the cover-up last night, from Samuel Miller, the long-time friend of Vox Political who has been liaising with the United Nations about the Coalition government’s record on disability and incapacity benefits and the possibility that the Coalition is committing crimes against humanity.

“Just received word from the DWP that they will NOT release an update to ‘Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients’,” he wrote.

“Is this tantamount to a cover-up of thousands of deaths and/or has mortality of the sick and disabled become too politicized for the government?

“Needless to say, I am furious.”

The response from the DWP runs as follows:

“Thank you for your email and apologies for the delay in responding.

“The publication you refer to was released on Department’s website as an ad-hoc statistical analysis publication. As such there is no intention of releasing an updated version of these statistics.” [Emphasis mine]

The “delay in responding” was a particularly long one. Mr Miller sent, by email, a copy of the original acknowledgement he received from the DWP, dated – if you can believe it – November 16, 2012. Were they hoping he would forget about it?

That letter stated: “I am sorry that the information you require is not readily available. As this would take a considerable length of time to pull together I am unable, at this stage, to tell you when the next report will be available.”

Never, if the department has its way, it seems.

This is not good enough, and we would be letting down everybody who has died if we let it pass.

I have therefore, today, sent a Freedom of Information request to the DWP, asking almost exactly the same questions as those to which ‘Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients’ responds.

Sent to ministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk and under the title ‘Freedom of Information requests’, it runs as follows:

“Please provide the number of Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance claimants who have died in 2012. Please break that figure down into the following categories:

  • Those who are in the assessment phase
  • Those who were found fit for work
  • Those who were placed in the work-related activity group
  • Those who were placed in the support group
  • Those who have an appeal pending

“I am aware that the Department for Work and Pensions came under criticism last year because it did not follow up on the conditions of people who had been found fit for work and signed off the benefit. It is to be hoped that this has been rectified and follow-up checks have been carried out. If this is the case, please provide details of:

  • Former ESA/IB claimants who have died after being put onto Jobseekers’ Allowance
  • Former ISA/IB claimants who were taken off benefit but put onto no other means of support, and the number of these who have died.

“Thank you for your co-operation in this matter.”

I strongly urge you to do the same. There is strength in numbers.

Further reading:

“A Department for Work and Pensions FOI reveals that people having their claim for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) stopped, between October 2010 and November 2011, with a recorded date of death within six weeks of that claim ceasing, who were until recently claiming Incapacity Benefit, totalled 310. Between January and November 2011, those having their ESA claim ended, with a recorded date of death within six weeks of that claim ending totalled 10,600.”  KittySJones – The ESA ‘Revolving Door’ Process, and its Correlation with a Significant Increase in Deaths amongst the Disabled. 

Clause 99, the Mandatory Review is yet another indication that the Coalition are authoritarian, and aiming to silence the victims of its maladministration – those it has oppressed – and of hiding the evidence of that maladministration – Clause 99, Catch 22: The ESA Mandatory Second Revision and Appeals

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “DWP refuses to provide information on ESA/IB deaths. What is it hiding?

  1. Hi Kitty,

    Hope your o.k . This is disgusting. There is a big load of DENIAL, DECEPTION to the public, and plain brushing it under the stinking carpet. More people must still be dying, because its not getting any better is it. What with the nasty April 13 extra baggage of tax and billing sent out to the sick disabled and poor. Kitty I am livid too.

    Like

  2. So why aren’t we rioting in the streets? The same reason that they are targeting us because we are too weak and ill to stand up and fight we need people to be as outraged as we are at the top. Lets face it the goverment are winning the fight against the welfare state because the sick and vulnerable end up feeling so much more less and worthless by the end of it all whats the point? So sorry holding beack the tears. My o/h is going through a really bad time atm ( at the frist hurdle of appeal sent the letter in 2 weeks ago still not heard anything) I darent leave him alone for long periods have taken his medication out of his control. Im not surprised by these figures. I’m feeling completely powerless and getting the gl 24 form sent was a nightmare because iw as told I have to get full info on reason he was denied but then got told i didn’t its made me really ill I already suffer anxiety know I am phobic of the telephone everytime i called I was being passed from pillar to post being hung up on i was already in tears before i rung the last time I phoned up I had the worst panic attack I have ever experienced Hyperventillating felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest just couldnt controll my brieathing at all I was terrified I had shakes for the rest of the day and just kept crying i suffer with manic depression. My o/h is the one claiming esa as I am his carrer and I believe his health conditions are worse (physical and mental) reading the medical was like reading about a completely diiferent person. Sorry for writing all that all i wanted to say is im really not surprised about the findings. Keep up the good work maybe the right person will read it and do something 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s