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DWP Officials Are Asking Terminally Ill Benefit Claimants When Exactly They Will Die

July 6, 2015

That is a question that only God can answer.

Terminally ill welfare claimants are being asked by benefit assessors when precisely they are expected to die, according to evidence seen by Frank Field, the newly elected chairman of the work and pensions select committee.

Field has written to the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, asking for an explanation. He told the Guardian: “There is absolutely no need for this level of intrusive and painful questioning by DWP officials. If I have had two such cases in my constituency in recent weeks; I dread to think how often this is happening around the country.”

The Labour MP for Birkenhead said one of the complaints had come to him from a vicar on behalf of his sister.

The two individuals were claiming for a personal independence payment (PIP) under the “special rules terminally ill” procedure. Both had submitted DS 1500 forms signed by their doctor – forms that need to be signed if the patient is regarded as suffering from a terminal illness.

The DS 1500 asks for factual information and does not require the doctor to give a prognosis. It should contain details of the diagnosis, including whether the patient is aware of their condition and, if unaware, the name and address of the patient’s representative.

It should also set out the current and proposed treatment, and brief details of clinical findings. A doctor is expected to believe that the patient is likely to die within six months, but once the form is submitted the Department for Work and Pensions decision-makers are not expected to challenge a patient about the expected date of of death, or question a patient who is not aware the doctor has declared their illness to be terminal.

The claimant, once found by the doctor to be terminally ill, is not supposed to meet any qualifying period for a claim, and should get the highest rate of claim.

In a letter sent to Duncan Smith on 30 June, Field writes: “My constituents tell me that despite submitting a DS 1500 form drawing attention to a terminal illness, they have been asked directly to their face whether they think they will soon die and by what date they expect to be dead. In one case my constituent’s mother was asked by when she expected her daughter to die and in front of her daughter.”

He continued: “This has left my constituents feeling understandably very upset. They tell me they are appalled by the hardness of the questioning and its intrusiveness.”

Field said he had asked to see the guidance, either national or local, that could have led PIP assessors to think this line of questioning was legitimate. He had also asked for Duncan Smith to review the policy at a national level.

PIP is replacing the disability living allowance, and has been dogged by delays. The standard daily living component of PIP is worth £54 a week.

The DWP said: “Claims from people with a terminal illness are fast-tracked using ‘special rules’, where we pay the highest rate of care immediately without a face-to-face assessment.

“All claims are dealt with fairly, sensitively and compassionately by specially trained staff – they do not ask specifics around life expectancy.”

The DWP said the latest statistics showed that more than 99% of people with terminal illnesses who had applied for the benefit, had been awarded it, which means more than 35,000 people were receiving PIP.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2015 6:23 pm

    I’m starting to get very annoyed at reading all this shit now they are sickening these evil t@@@s at the dwp why don’t people who are being harassed by them get a solicitor and stand up to them if they start with me or my pip then I will il snap it’s about time this country stood up to them

    • Elaine Patrick permalink
      July 6, 2015 9:51 pm

      I did precisely that. I’d had enough. I’ve never gone cap in hand to these people because I know the truth of my claim. I worked for nearly 40 years and I’m damned if I’m going to grovel or beg for something I am entitled to expect to receive in my time of need. Nearly 3 years I’ve been fighting them. I finally won my case and still they refused to pay!! It wasn’t till I threatened to sue them that I got the required response. I agree with you but it is so wrong that we have to go to such lengths to get something we have paid into throughout the years.

      • July 6, 2015 10:11 pm

        i tell you what if i were not so ill to be a extra burden on the Greek people i would go and live with them

        we may have little money but there hospitality and bread are far superior then what the UK has to offer and the Greek people need to understand that and i’m sure they do

        who in their mind would even consider moving to the uk with the likes of David Cameron and IDS kicking about

        no sane person would ever do that only a selfish greedy person that’s who

  2. July 6, 2015 7:03 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. Maria permalink
    July 6, 2015 7:30 pm

    This is proof, they are asking for the impossible

  4. July 6, 2015 7:34 pm

    I’ve thankfully never been asked this – DS1500 sent and no issues. This must be looked into and not by the claimants – we have more than enough to deal with … This is an appalling way to treat people who are at an extremely vulnerable period of their lives.

  5. July 6, 2015 7:50 pm

    Is this what we won the war for….How come Germany is a thriving country that looks after its old and infirm…And they lost the war?

    • The Infamous Culex permalink
      July 7, 2015 12:24 am

      But the UK did not “win” WW2 – we merely failed to lose it.

      The winners were
      the Soviet Union – in terms of territory gained
      America – in terms of national prestige and global domination
      Germany and Japan – in terms of the post-war economic settlement

  6. July 6, 2015 8:00 pm

    you can normally only trial someone in the The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
    I am not a lawyer but i would think with the many deaths of the sick and disabled over the past few years where the sick and disabled have died in difficult circumstances not of their making it may be possible ?

    well frank has made a good start i was not expecting that but what has happened here is just the tip of the iceberg

  7. July 6, 2015 8:25 pm

    Reblogged this on JSUKNEWS.COM.

  8. July 6, 2015 11:05 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  9. The Infamous Culex permalink
    July 7, 2015 12:28 am

    The persons asked when they expected to die should sue Iain Duncan Schmidt for damages to compensate for the upset and grief so needlessly and so callously caused.

  10. July 7, 2015 1:37 am

    That is sick.that is a question nobody can answer. Don’t think God is it the phone book to call and ask. Ian Duncan smiths department is going to far to save money. Only to spend it on bloody immigrants.

  11. August 24, 2015 7:36 pm

    The DWP say this question is unacceptable. How many staff have been sacked/ disciplined? How many heart felt apologies have they issued? Or is this another lie?

    It is anyway a heartless policy to have to get your medics to say you only have six months. Not everyone one wants to know and would rather have hope. If you want benefits while you live out your final months, you have to accept having a teminal diagnosis. This sounds like you have given up.

    Why is being terminal the deal breaker to get your benefit? Going through a grueling round of chemo and radiotherapy with the hope of living, is tough. The extra travel expence, trying to eat appetising food (when you feel sick) on next to no income, being exhausted and unable to do the usual housework, shopping and relying on others. It is an expensive and difficult time. Why make it more stressful by making folks wait for the money they need.

    Not everyone is lucky. Some go through all of that, to be told, Sorry, it’s not worked or its come back. A treatment that’s poison and has left them weak and their immune system compromised. At that point, devastated, how many people are thinking, ooh better see if I’m now qualifying for my benefits? Hope the doc says I’ve only got 6 months! It is a sick policy.


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