The Department for Work and Pensions have finally released the total after 250,000 people signed a petition
Iain Duncan Smith’s figures reveal that 2,650 sick and disabled benefit claimants died soon after being found ‘fit for work’
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Statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions on Thursday shows that the deaths occured between December 2011 and February 2014 shortly after a work capability assessment (WCA) deemed they were able to work.
The Mirror reports: The figures also appear to show more than half (1,360) had appealed the decision to throw them off sickness benefits before they died. Find out how some law students helped sick and disabled claimants win back £600,000 here.
However, haven’t confirmed yet whether those 1,360 people were included in the 2,650 figure or were in addition to it.
Nearly all the deaths (2,380) were people on Employment and Support Allowance – which the Work and Pensions Secretary claims is meant to be a ‘short-term’ benefit.
The rest (270) were on Incapacity Benefit (IB) or Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA).
They were told to come off the benefit and transfer onto the lower-rate jobseekers’ allowance – despite some being badly disabled.
Tragic cases included diabetic dad David O’Mar, 58, who died just two weeks after being declared fit for work – a case Labour’s Kate Green raised at the despatch box.
It’s not been made clear how soon they died after coming off sickness benefits, but the figures appear to suggest it could be as little as two weeks (six weeks for IB and SDA).
Officials have also refused to give a measure of how the deaths compare to the population at large.
Other figures today show another 6,700 ESA claimants died in two years after being put in the ‘work-related activity group’, meaning they could move towards a job.
They were more than twice as likely to die as people in the general population – around 5 deaths per 1,000 people compared to 2.4.
That’s despite the Budget docking that same group’s benefits by £30 a week, making them the same as people on jobseekers’ allowance.