U.K. government reveals thousands died after their welfare payments were stopped
The Department of Work and Pensions emphasized that there is no proof of a causal link.
U.K. government statistics reveal that thousands of people died within weeks of being found “fit to work” and having their welfare benefits cancelled.
The release of the statistics follows a protracted campaign from journalists and activists, including a Change.org petition that garnered almost 250,000 signatures. Many have already accused the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of stalling its response until after this year’s election in May.
The most shocking mortality data comes from a document about disability-related benefits. Between December 2011 and February 2014, 81,140 people died within six weeks of “flowing off” benefits such as ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), which the government pays to people who cannot work due to illness or disability.
Over the past five years, the DWP has made a public effort to reduce the number of people claiming government benefits. This included the introduction of “fit to work” assessments, which are used to determine whether people are qualified to receive disability benefits.
The newly published documents show that 2,380 former ESA claimants died within two weeks of being declared “fit to work.”