Never mind destitution – how many people are DEAD after dropping from welfare system?

Missing: Concerns have been raised over what happened to those who dropped off the claimant roll [Image: Daily Mirror].

Missing: Concerns have been raised over what happened to those who dropped off the claimant roll [Image: Daily Mirror].


Remember last year, when This Writer managed to force statistics on deaths of benefit claimants out of Iain Duncan Smith and his Department for Work and Pensions?

They only supplied information on people whose claims had ended within two weeks of their deaths. I argued that this excused the government from declaring many more deaths, of people whose lives ended while they were trying to cope without social security – but the Tories didn’t want to listen.

They still don’t. The Mirror‘s story states: “A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: ‘There is no basis to these claims. People leave the benefits system for many reasons, including when they go to work – which is good news. It’s extremely unlikely anyone would leave the benefit system because of a sanction.'”

How unlikely? Let’s see the statistics, then. Otherwise, it’s the DWP claims that have no basis.

This Writer thinks the Civitas call for an urgent survey of former benefit claimants is an excellent idea.

It would be cheap, easy to manage, and could provide vital information on a Conservative policy that has victimised the most vulnerable people in the UK – people who were relying on the DWP to carry out its duty of care.

As many as 1.5 million benefits claimants could face destitution after disappearing from the welfare system, a report by a respected former Labour minister has warned.

The authorities are failing to keep tabs on why claimants have disappeared from the roll meaning it has no idea how many people are being left penniless, according to Frank Field.

The Work and Pensions Committee chairman said benefit sanctions are being applied on a “scale unknown since the Second World War” and the fate of at a least one third of those who have been penalised is “anybody’s guess.”

Around 1.5 million claimants fall off the welfare roll a year but their whereabouts is a “mystery” and it is unclear how many are left without work or benefit payments, according to Mr Field.

Some may be in jail or have moved abroad while others are people on benefits who have been hit by sanctions and dropped out of the system, according to the research.

The report, which will be published on Monday by think tank Civitas, calls for the Government to carry out an urgent survey to find out what happens to claimants expelled from the welfare rolls who appear not to find work.

Source: As many as 1.5m benefits claimants ‘could face destitution after disappearing from welfare system’ – Mirror Online

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15 thoughts on “Never mind destitution – how many people are DEAD after dropping from welfare system?

  1. Nick

    You only have to read in local newspapers about how many suicides there are every week and how the polices use of the words no suspicious circumstances crop up

    when in fact when you dig deeper the DWP were involved in a way that is never discussed ‘what was in the brown envelope and did this have a bearing on the deceased

  2. Justin

    the other side to this is that this only covers people that have died through benefit over two weeks of leaving the system which is not very accurate reporting at all, what also needs to be looked at is attempted self-harms that may have led to cmht being called out, police intervention (S136), hospital admissions a+e or acute mh wards, retrospect the time scale should be within three months on individual merit and depending on the scale of mh risk can be up to a year, this cannot be measured by the your out in the community, therefore your okay aspect that wca seems to breed, this whole assessment process needs to take into account what cmht and careteams etc say, if there under peer support, which is a good point of contact then the peer support person being the most direct link will have more of a idea as to whether the person is safe, needs assistance et, again a three month period is mooted however there should always be a loose link connection, the DWP will never get this right unless they actually go in with a boots on the ground feel, to give a idea of this there was a certain police force that made quite a few mistakes with mh users, they voluntarily asked a nhs trust for help and were sent into units to gain a insight, not as police but as shadow members of staff, this is the sort of program that needs to be put into place within the dwp, then perhaps they may have a better understanding, one of the other things that they may also learn from this is that people with mh issues can also harm others, so by there complicity of saying your okay and then being wrong and having no scale of accountability, with this kind of training they will also have to understand that there decisions can also make them accountable for wrong decisions they make by ignoring professionals that are a little bit more qualified than a sports physiotherapist doing a bi-polar assessment!

  3. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady

    As someone who knows, more than most, how much time and effort you spent in getting the DWP to release those statistics, I find it utterly unbelievable that they cannot, as a minimum, exclude those people who go on to secure employment as being a reason for ceasing to claim benefits. After all, every claimant HAS to provide the DWP with their national insurance number (NINO) ; if that claimant then goes on to secure either PAYE or self employment, it would be simplicity itself for the DWP to run the NINO through the national insurance records system (NIRS) which will bring up a match for those in the PAYE or self assessment (for self employment) systems.

    1. Tony Dean

      The DWP KNOW that 22% of those found “fit for work” are disappearing, not on ANY benefit or in work. It is the result of the DWPs own research.
      What the DWP has NEVER done is follow up what is happening to those people.
      (At least 1/2 a million.)

  4. John

    I gave up reading these ‘responses’ by the DWP, because they usually just followed the on-the-defensive line, inotherwords denial.

    I have a few observations, but first:

    1) “There is no basis to these claims” – ok, fair enough!
    2) “People leave the benefits system for many reasons, including when they go to work – which is good news” – obviously totally agree with that one, because it’s true! Although I would suggest that the most likely reason for someone leaving the benefits system is surely going to be because they’ve obtained work?

    And here we go!

    3) “It’s extremely unlikely anyone would leave the benefit system because of a sanction.” – right ok, fine, show us the statistics then!

    I know we both know this Mike, but it is ABSOLUTELY possible for the DWP to produce a report which shows the number of people who have left the benefits system AND whether they were the subject of a sanction at the time (and for how long too, and possibly what the sanction was about). Given the systems that they’ve got, it shouldn’t take them too long to produce either.

    I should also state that this makes me so angry, that it’s really the main reason (and continues to be the main reason), why I signed up to this blog in the first place. Although don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT saying that I don’t find some other posts interesting!
    Sorry for the long post!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’m laughing now. The story was sent to my Twitter feed by another commenter, and I misread 15 JAN as 15 JUN – I dare say he might have done the same.
      The story is worth repeating, although you’re right – I would have preferred a more timely version of it.

  5. Pete B

    One death is a death to many,that people are dying because of Tory ideology is unacceptable in a Civilised society.I dare say that the likes of Smith may say its a price worth paying.It would be different if it was the Rich that were dying.

    When this lot got in,aided and abetted by Clegg and his gang of Orange Bookers.It went from being the Banksters fault to it being the poor peoples fault.People now have to pay a bedroom tax because they supposedly removed a spare room subsidy that never existed.Students lost their EMI grants.The Disabled have been harassed,some to Death.The Sick have been harassed,some to do Death.The Unemployed have been vilified,some to Death.

    Discrimination against the Disabled has rocketed.Racial discrimination has rocketed.This is in part why many of all sides want to leave the EU.It was the Coalitions,now the Tories rhetoric.

    Now Cameron,who has caused all of this,is frightened of the UK leaving the EU,because of his and his parties stupidity.Cameron and Osbourne,Dumb and Dumber.

  6. toocomplex4justice

    Having been in this situation I can say that crime seems a realistic way out of the misery caused by these random acts of attempted murder. Even if they can’t sanction you the find ways of ending your benefits even if they have to admit to maladministration they will only give you 50 quid ” tangible appology” for letting you starve for six months.
    Crime is a win/win scenario when things are this bad because even prison is better than cold, hunger and isolation. In fact I sounds rather attractive now with no more concerns about what fire will be lit under me tomorrow forcing me into yet another battle of paperwork and having to forget about previous acts of abuse from the four individuals who line up to kick me and laugh in my face about how they can get away with it. I wonder if I can use the same defence that they did when I proved they had made an illegal decision ” you are mistaken. We could not have made that decision as it would have been illegal” how do you get anywhere when faced with these childish circular arguments?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I know what you’re saying.
      Trouble with committing a crime to get out of the cycle is they then turn around on you and say, “We knew he was a criminal; he was probably lying on his claim,” or words to that effect.

  7. mohandeer

    Homelessness has more than trebled in the last four years and close to 10,000 claimants removed from ESA etc. are dead each year. Perhaps there is no correlation whatsoever!

  8. [email protected]

    DWP are not all to blame it is hard to find work now more than every I look every day for work but the job that are there need more skills than I have company’s should be willing to help people back to work like on job training

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If it’s hard to find work because the jobs aren’t there, why is the DWP not taking account of this and instead pushing people to breaking point, chasing phantoms?
      I think the DWP should take a huge amount of the blame.

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