Here comes the reaper: Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Here comes the reaper: Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Evidence that the DWP is pushing an ever-increasing number of sickness and disability benefit claimants to suicide is mounting, right?

But the DWP is refusing to accept that any of its policies are responsible because “correlation isn’t causation”, right?

In essence, this means that, except in a few very rare cases, there is always doubt that the DWP’s treatment of a claimant has led to their subsequent death, right?

So why don’t we ask benefit claimants to eliminate that possibility?

Over the weekend, This Writer was talking about the DWP’s assessment regime for sickness and disability benefits with a friend who, while receiving ESA, is in dispute with the Department about the award they have been given.

My friend admitted quite casually that they have been having suicidal thoughts on a fairly regular basis, ever since they were told they were being migrated to Employment and Support Allowance.

It never occurred to this person that it would be possible to use that fact as evidence that the DWP was, itself, therefore a threat to their health – but it occurred to me.

I thought: “Why not create a form letter for people to sign, stating that the DWP’s treatment of them had pushed them into considering taking their own life?”

It may seem a ghoulish prospect, but it seems to be the only option.

So I drafted the following, as a template:

“This is to certify that the treatment I have received from the Department for Work and Pensions with regard to my benefit claim for [example:Employment and Support Allowance] has caused me to experience suicidal thoughts and feelings and an urge towards self-harm.

“The Department’s behaviour has harmed my [physical/mental – use as applicable] health in the following ways: [describe any deterioration in your physical health and the thoughts and feelings you have had that have led you to consider ending your own life].

“I hold the Department for Work and Pensions entirely responsible for the downturn in my health. While I have not yet given in to the self-destructive feelings, I can only conclude that my doing so has been the intention that informs the Department’s treatment of me.”

[your signature]

[the date]

It isn’t perfect; I only had the idea over the weekend so nobody should expect it to be. But it’s a start.

What do you think?

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