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Mencap Calls For Investigation Into ESA Death Stats

August 28, 2015

A disability charity has called for an investigation to be held into the deaths of more than 2,000 people within weeks of being judged “fit for work”.

Mencap, a learning disability charity, says the “tragic” deaths raise questions about the fairness of the work capability assessment.

It comes after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released figures sought under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The figures show that between December 2011 and February 2014, some 2,380 people died within around two weeks of their Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) being stopped following a decision they were “fit to work”.

The DWP insists there is “no causal link” between benefits status and the likelihood of dying, as the individual causes of deaths were not recorded in the figures.

The department stressed that the death rates for unemployed claimants remained in line with trends in the wider population for a decade.

But Mencap argues the number of deaths is unusually high for people of working age who had been declared fit to work.

The charity’s Rob Holland, who co-chairs the Disability Benefits Consortium, said: “These tragic figures are concerning and warrant further investigation.

“We know the fit for work test is failing disabled people, with devastating consequences.

“Wrong decisions can mean people are left with little or no support at all, in some cases struggling to pay for their homes and basic essentials like food and heating.

“The Government must act now to reform the work capability assessment so it is fair for disabled people and those with health and medical conditions. Indeed there is real concern that the process itself is stressful and can in fact worsen people’s conditions.”

A DWP spokesman said: “We don’t hold information on reason of death, so no causal effect between a fit for work decision and death should be assumed.

“The mortality rate of those who are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – which includes some of those found fit for work – is still lower than for the general population.

“Furthermore, the overall trend shows the mortality rate for people who have died while claiming an out-of-work benefit, has fallen over a 10-year period.”

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2015 2:25 am

    Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

  2. Jeffery Davies permalink
    August 28, 2015 7:14 am

    Theres no link then why did my dear life long friend die the night before his first session with a jcp having been moved off his benefit ib to esa died the night before fit for
    Work these figures you bet they been fiddled with giving out the right info well would you believ the dwp after all the porkies they told jeff3

    • August 28, 2015 11:19 am

      Sorry about that for you Jeff. I was only saying yesterday, it’s getting to the point where everyone knows of someone who has died due to welfare reforms; my mum’s gardener committed suicide earlier this year, but suicides and deaths aren’t necessarily included in today’s news because of it relating to JSA not ESA.

  3. David Underwood permalink
    August 30, 2015 8:17 am

    They persecute and torture people. They lie and maladminister as policy. They steal the means of survival and support from the most vulnerable.
    None of this makes their victims live longer.
    It is calculatedly, systematically and relentlessly hastening the deaths of people too ill or disabled to work. All this on an industrial scale.
    The legal term for this is genocide.

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