Vulnerable people are dying on Universal Credit – so the Tories are extending it to the disabled

This makes perfect sense to Esther McVey:

Internal reviews into the deaths of Universal Credit claimants by the Department for Work and Pensions have concluded that the threatening nature of the “claimant commitment”, demanded of all those receiving the benefit, could have affected their health.

So obviously the next thing the Conservative government, represented by Ms McVey, wants to do is extend those threats to the largest number of vulnerable people possible.

What are we to conclude from this, if not that Ms McVey is intentionally endangering the maximum number of benefit claimants – possibly in the hope that they will die off and she will be able to close their claims?

We already know that the DWP operates a “chequebook euthanasia” policy that sees people with disabilities who cannot work for a living as “useless eaters”, as in Nazi Germany, and engineers their circumstances so that either their physical or mental health worsens, making death more likely.

And we know the DWP then shamefully attempts to cover up the realities of self-inflicted deaths by suggesting that there may be many reasons for suicide – besides the very obvious one that the government took all their money away and forced them to starve.

Disability News Service has reported the conclusions of one IPR (Internal Process Review) into the case of a Universal Credit claimant who died between 2016 and 2018 – that

it seemed “excessive” for DWP to include eight references to sanctions and how much money a claimant would lose if they breached their “claimant commitment”.

The panel added: “…a better balance could be struck in reminding a client of the consequences of not meeting their obligations and not appearing to be overtly threatening, especially to individuals who are vulnerable.”

The DWP has refused to say whether it has altered the wording of the “claimant commitment” as a result of this criticism, meaning we may safely decide that it has not.

DNS has also reported that the DWP carried out a further 49 IPRs between April 2016 and June 2018, of which 32 were also into the deaths of claimants, including those on Universal Credit in three cases.

Between October 2014 and January 2016, only nine IPRs took place into the deaths of claimants. DNS suggests that this shows a doubling of such deaths over this period.

I wonder if it just means that the DWP has had to conduct more reviews after the public started demanding more answers.

The DWP itself, of course, has said no blame should be apportioned as a result of the reviews’ findings, as they are merely a “performance improvement tool”.

The trouble with that is, performance has not improved. In fact, it appears to have worsened.

But the DWP is determined to expand this worsening performance to as many claimants as possible.

The only rational conclusion is that the intentions behind this move are homicidal.

And let us not forget that the DWP does its level best to prevent these facts from coming to public attention. The figures reported by DNS only came out after the Information Commissioner forced the department to honour its obligation to the law.

They were provided in response to a Freedom of Information request sent by DNS in June. Legally, the department had 20 working days in which to respond – and did not.

I tend to agree with the analysis of the situation published by The Canary:

One claimant’s death should, by anyone’s standards, be of concern. But when hundreds of people are dying on the DWP’s watch yet it still tries to keep this fact a secret – it’s a national scandal.

But then I would – This Site has been saying the same for years.

Source: DWP’s secret benefit deaths reviews: Universal credit death linked to claimant commitment ‘threats’ 

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5 thoughts on “Vulnerable people are dying on Universal Credit – so the Tories are extending it to the disabled

  1. trev

    Of course it won’t bother the Tories one bit, the Welfare Reforms were always intended to be a cull of the poor/vulnerable/sick. Anyone who claims Benefits and doesn’t work is expendable in the Rightwing/neoliberal vision.

  2. jg

    Considering the amount of times this has been said and been proven it is high time that there is change in law and that change should hold ministers ie ids, civil servant and advisors/lords responsible for policy retired or not ie freud accountable and not just accountable by some silly little parliamentary telling of that means nothing, accountable by law, to many of them get away with this to often, it should be top down,. your policy causes a suicide, simple a case for murder especially if you had up front information that the person is a suicide risk, how many times have I read reports which have said not a suicide risk in direct contravention to what the professional has said and one some occasions cmht teams have been called out, at least twice, how many times have a i read a report that is so wrong and here is a good example advanced dementia, zero points capable of doing the cooking, clap that assessor on the back, what about the lock on the cooker, did they not see the report about that stating set fire to kitchen due to forgetting they left the cooker on, that should be mandatory referall to the registering body for investigation, what happened well at mandatory reconsideration full points, is the assessor still practicing yes, have they been disciplined no, should they be allowed to work in a nhs environment , I let you answer that, would you let someone like that be in charge of yours or someone’s care, no, well actually I would a tory mp care perhaps, get that wrong who cares, perhaps al these so called 5 week wonder should work in the private sector, don’t let them back into the nhs without supervisi0on and training and as for ministers, well summer recess they should be sent out into the areas they have caused there issues and see first hand without there mp tags the mess they made on voluntary expenses only

  3. Kay

    How McVey is still in her job after deliberately lying to parliament when forced to apologise after the National Audit Office criticised her for saying that UC was a success…she should of been sacked for breaking the ministerial code

  4. sibrydionmawr

    I don’t know if anyone has had similar thoughts to me, but it seems to me that there is a kind of division going on here. Though not particularly apparent in this piece, many articles on the evils of Universal Credit seem to focus on how unjust it is towards the disabled. Of course, the application of Universal Credit conditions to the disabled is an abomination, but and I suspect this is unwitting, it can suggest that applying Universal Credit conditionality is acceptable for the ‘able bodied’ unemployed. And whilst that might just about be a tenable argument at the time an unemployed person signs up to UC, as soon as they have, those individuals immediately become vulnerable, and no-one can really, genuinely keep up with the demands contained within claimant commitment. The very fact that there are sanctions hanging over one’s head like a Sword of Damocles is in itself debilitating and extracts a psychological cost.

    Added to this is the ever diminishing value of the subsistence element of the UC payment, which is much lower in real terms to what it was even 20 years ago, where an adult received a rather ungenerous £46 on JSA. That figure, adjusted for inflation would stand at £81.31 today, hardly a king’s ransom, but somewhat better than the paltry £73.10. If compared with the rate for Unemployment benefit from about 1982 when it was about £25 a week, adjusted for inflation that becomes £91.25, a really huge difference. .

    As bad as extending UC to the disabled will be its extension to those in work and claiming any form of benefit, be it Housing Benefit or Tax Credits. We already know how much strain the system is under, and how much it is failing. Put under even more strain, the system is likely to collapse – just as many have been forecasting from the very inception of the idea of Universal Credit some seven years ago.

    Corbyn and Co would be well advised to consider prosecuting the likes of Duncan Smith, Freud and McVey for crimes against humanity.

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