Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 3rd September 2020.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will carry out a review into deaths of benefits claimants.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Department interacts with millions of people, and among them are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. There are many reasons why people pass away whilst claiming a DWP benefit and it would not be appropriate for the Department to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of every individual. This is a consideration and decision for a Coroner.

As a department we want to do all we can to ensure people get the support they need. We are striving towards becoming a learning organisation, for example through the Serious Case Panel, which considers themes and systemic issues that come out of serious cases and makes recommendations for improvements.

Where the Department is made aware of a death and there is a suggestion or allegation that the Department’s actions or omissions may have negatively contributed to the customer’s circumstances an Internal Process Review will be conducted. Internal Process Reviews are not designed to identify or apportion blame, but to look at whether processes were followed correctly and what learning we can derive from this.

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