By John Pring in Disability News.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) lied when it claimed that it had no “duty of care” to protect disabled benefit claimants, new evidence suggests.
Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey has repeatedly told MPs that her department does not have a legal duty to “safeguard” its claimants, and that such tasks are instead the responsibility of local agencies such as social services departments and doctors’ surgeries.
Her denials are important because they follow a decade of cases linking DWP’s policies and practices to the deaths of disabled people, particularly those who were being assessed for employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment and had experience of mental distress.
DWP has continued to deny that it has a duty of care to these and other claimants, even when it was confronted with one of its own secret reviews – believed to have been written in 2014 or 2015 following the death of an incapacity benefit claimant – which recommended that the department should carry out a review of its “ongoing Duty of Care”.
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