Social Security Benefits: Windrush Generation

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 11th February 2019.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

What discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on supporting people of the Windrush generation to access social security benefits.

Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I take a particular interest in ensuring that the Department for Work and Pensions liaises closely with the Home Office to make sure that the Windrush generation are properly supported. So far we have helped over 400 customers to swiftly confirm their status and access benefits.

Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am always proud of the students at Elm Wood Primary School, which is indeed an excellent school with brilliant students.

I have been writing to the Secretary of State for many months on behalf of my constituent, who was the first Windrush citizen to return to the UK in May last year. She has since been denied access to attendance allowance because she was not in the country during the assessment period. The only reason she was not in the country at the time was the illegal action of the British Government. I have been told by the DWP that she must wait until the Windrush compensation scheme is published and include within her claim compensation for benefits she is due now. That is absurd and unacceptable. Why is the Secretary of State, who presided over the Windrush scandal as Home Secretary, continuing to compound and extend the injustice that Windrush citizens are suffering by failing to put in place the support they need to access all the benefits to which they are entitled?

Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I would like to reassure the hon. Lady that I have looked into this case, and I do take seriously, as she and the House would expect, the issue of ensuring that the Windrush generation are supported correctly by the DWP. We have reinstated the claimant’s pension credit and have awarded arrears to date. With regard to the attendance allowance, I will be writing to the hon. Lady, and officials are working to resolve the matter. I will provide the letter as a matter of urgency.