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This is an oddity.

Some of you may remember that, back in 2015, I managed to force the Conservative government into admitting the number of people who had died within two weeks of being refused sickness or disability benefits of one kind or another.

The statistics were kept within that tiny time frame because the spokespeople for the Department for Work and Pensions said it did not monitor what happened to people after it kicked them off its books.

So how does Sarah Newton know that 7,990 people died within six months of having their claim for Personal Independence Payment rejected?

The figure itseslf is bad enough but the possibility of a cover-up lasting many years would be a massive scandal.

We’ve had no report of any change in DWP monitoring policy.

Yet Alex Tiffin, on his blog Universal Credit Sufferer, reported that Labour MP Madeline Moon had received a response to a written question, saying: “Of the 3.1 million people who claimed PIP between April 2013 and April 2018, 7,990 died within 6 months of having their claim REJECTED.

“‘3,680 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants died within three months of their initial application being disallowed.'”

It has also been revealed that “5,290 claimants who’d applied under the Special Rules for Terminally Ill people (SRTI), (those [who have] a terminal disease with less than 6 months to live), died before the DWP made a decision on their claim”.

If the figures on PIP claimants who died three months and six months after their claims were rejected are known to the DWP now, it seems likely that the figures on other sickness and disability claimants were known when my Freedom of Information request was slowly working its way past the obstacles the Tories kept putting in its way – and they lied about it.

There’s only one way to find out. I’ll have to write and find out.

But will we be able to trust the answer?

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