Disabled People: Benefit System

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 11:34 am on 17th June 2020.

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Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth 11:34 am, 17th June 2020

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the effectiveness of the benefit system for supporting disabled people.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

We remain committed to ensuring that the benefit system is effective and positive in supporting disabled people. That includes several measures, such as suspending face-to-face assessments, extending personal independence payment awards where necessary, and increasing the universal credit standard allowance and local housing allowance rates.

Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth

We know that people with existing health conditions are more likely to become seriously ill with or succumb to covid-19 than the population as a whole. For example, more than one in four of all people who have died of covid in hospital in England also had diabetes. What assessment have the Government undertaken of the proportion of people with health conditions in receipt of social security support who have also died of covid?

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I thank the hon. Lady for raising an important issue. The Department for Work and Pensions looks to identify and learn lessons swiftly. The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon is engaging extensively and holding conversations with charities and stakeholders on exactly these kinds of issues so that we can understand the impact on the most vulnerable.