Money Wellness
Illustration of a disabled benefit claimant at a DWP health assessment
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calendar icon22 May 2024

DWP may have broken the law in its treatment of disabled benefit claimants

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is being investigated for its treatment of disabled benefit claimants.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is looking into whether DWP has failed to make reasonable adjustments for benefit claimants with long-term mental health conditions or learning disabilities during health assessments.

It will also determine whether DWP has failed to meet its obligations under the public sector equality duty. These obligations mean public sector bodies have a duty to prevent discrimination in their day-to-day operations.

Chair of the EHRC Kishwer Falkner said:

“We are extremely worried about the treatment of some disabled benefits claimants by the DWP… We have decided we need to take the strongest possible action and that’s why we’ve launched this investigation.”

How has it come to this?

Concerns about the treatment of some benefit claimants were first raised in 2021 in relation to a number of cases, including some where the claimants involved died.

After initial investigations, EHRC planned to address its concerns by getting DWP to sign a legally binding agreement.

EHRC has now decided that measure would be insufficient and is instead pursuing a formal investigation to establish whether DWP has broken equality law.

What will the investigation involve?

DWP will be asked to provide information and EHRC will also speak to disability charities to see if they have any relevant input. On top of this, EHRC is calling on any potential whistleblowers from DWP to provide evidence about the health assessment process.

The evidence will then be weighed up and EHRC will report its findings.

 

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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