William Beveridge published the Social Insurance and Allied Services report.
The Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 and the NI (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946.
National Health Service Act (NHSA) and the National Insurance Act (NIA).
National Assistance Act (NAA).
One Nation Conservative Group challenges welfare state universalism.
National Assistance Amendment Acts and Determination of Needs Regulations.
Mental Health Act.
National Insurance (NI) Act 1965 and the Ministry of Social Security Act (MSSA) 1966.
National Insurance Act.
Supplementary Benefits Commission (SBC).
Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS).
The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA).
Department for Health and Social Security (DHSS) says needs are to be determined by resources.
1 September 1971
Introduction of Invalidity Benefit for people who had to leave their trade or occupation after sustaining an injury or developing a long-term illness.
Introduction of Attendance Allowance (AA) and lower rate.
The Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) Statement.
31 March 1979
First figures showing number of people on Invalidity and Sickness Benefit.
The Social Security Act (SSA).
28 November 1983
Invalidity Benefit regulations introduced requiring a doctor’s certificate.
Late 1980s to 1990s
UK Conservative Government tries to minimise 1980s unemployment figures by misrepresenting statistics and also misleadingly encouraging the moving of unemployed people onto disability benefits.
1 November 1991
National Employers Life Assurance Co. Ltd. (NEL) renames as Unum Limited.
6 April 1992
Introduction of disability living allowance, enabling more disabled people able to claim support for some of their extra impairment-related costs.
Peter Lilley (secretary of state for social security) talks about “closing down the something for nothing society” and tightening up on “scroungers” and “bogus asylum seekers”.
10 June 1993
Leaked Whitehall documents reveal plans to cut Invalidity Benefit.
15 June 1993
John Major says it “beggars belief that so many more people have suddenly become invalids”, laying the foundations for the upcoming Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill.
US insurance company Unum Provident advise the UK government on ‘welfare reform’ to reduce the number of claimants of long-term sickness benefits.
20 January 1994
The Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill and research paper published, discussing role of GPs in determining access to benefits.
5 July 1994
Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994 receives royal assent.
13 April 1995
Key measures from the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994 come into force, including replacing Invalidity Benefit with Incapacity Benefit, and introducing the points-based All Work Test, as well as regulation 27 – providing a ‘safety net’ for those who faced a ‘substantial risk’ of harm if they were found capable of work.
Professor Wikeley publishes paper highlighting the risks of The Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994, saying that it reaffirms idea of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor, begins the move away from GP-led benefits assessments, and is designed to encourage people to take up private insurance, leaving marginalised groups with inadequate protection.
Paper (co-written by US insurance company UnumProvident Vice President) suggests removing GPs from assessing fitness to work.
Ministers in the John Major administration approve decision to outsource medical assessments for benefits.
28 October 1996
The Department of Social Security tells the Social Security Advisory Committee that intended policy changes to remove the ‘substantial risk’ rules (which provide vital safeguarding) would have no detrimental effect.
28 October 1996
Child Poverty Acton Group (CPAG) writes to the Social Security Advisory Committee.
6 November 1996
Department of Social Security says removing ‘significant risk’ regulation is ‘neutral’ despite providing a ‘safety net’ for those facing a ‘significant risk’ of harm if found capable of work. This means the committee does not see a formal referral and the regulation is approved by parliament (the removal will later be found to be unlawful).
6 November 1996
Clinicians appointed by the DSS removal of regulation 27, which provides vital safeguarding to those whose mental and/or physical health is ‘substantial risk’ if found fit to work.
Leaked document outlines plans for changes to sickness and disability related benefits based on budget savings
6 January 1997
Regulation 27 ‘substantial risk’ – a key safety net for claimants at risk of serious harm if they are found fit for work – is removed from regulations.
Child Poverty Action group raises concerns over removal of “significant risk” clause – finding that the Social Security Advisory Committee had been ‘misled’ by the DSS.
23 December 1997
Disabled activists protest over welfare cuts outside Downing Street.
26 March 1998
Publication by the Blair ‘New Labour’ administration of new social security green paper “New Ambitions for our Country: A New Contract for Welfare”, setting out the principles of welfare reform based on the idea of “welfare dependency”.
11 November 1999
The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 receives Royal Assent.
21 December 1999
‘Permanent Health Insurance’ Westminster Hall debate by Clive Efford MP debated the increasing wrongful denial of PHI claims.
The death of Timothy Finn.
The All Work Test is reformed and renamed the Personal Capability Assessment, and is outsourced to SEMA, which would be taken over by Atos.
Insurance company Unum launches lobbying group, including some disability charities, to increase its influence.
9 March 2001
National Audit Office report finds “serious problems” with medical assessment of Incapacity and disability benefits.
Woodstock conference on “malingering and illness deception”, partly funded by UnumProvident and DWP, will play a key role in justifying welfare reform.
13 October 2002 and 17 November 2002
News programmes expose claims denial practices in the USA at Unum (who are currently advising the UK government on welfare reform).
8 November 2002
The Court of Appeal finds (in the case Howker v Secretary of State) that the social security advisory committee had been misled by the DSS (now DWP) and that removing the “substantial risk” clause was unlawful.
UnumProvident acquires UK group insurance business – building its insurance presence in the UK while influencing welfare reform at governmental level.
18 February 2003
Ministers try again to remove the “substantial risk” clause from regulation 27, reversing the effect of the Court of Appeal ruling.
13 May 2003
The Social Security Advisory Committee recommends that no change be made to regulation 27, and then withdraws its proposal to remove the safety net.
17 October 2003
National Audit Office report finds backlog of assessment cases and early signs of DWP’s failure to seek medical evidence early in the assessment process.
10 December 2003
DWP’s chief medical adviser, Mansel Aylward, gives evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee over accusations that health care professionals, carrying out assessments on behalf of DWP, are treating claimants like “lumps of meat.”
UnumProvident opens new Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University, which has close links to DWP.
DWP-commissioned research finds Incapacity Benefit Personal Advisers are concerned about working with clients who are suicidal, and about a target driven sanctioning culture.
18 November 2004
UnumProvident settles multi-state federal examination of claim handling practices in USA, identifying Unum’s use of in-house medical staff to deny benefits.
DWP publishes second research report on Incapacity Benefit reforms and Personal advisers, finding unmanageable workloads affect their ability to identify risk and provide support to people in distress.
US insurance giant UnumProvident says it is driving government policy on Incapacity Benefit reform.
1 January 2005
Research published into how DWP and Atos secure further medical evidence from claimants.
3 October 2005
California insurance regulators fine Unum $8 million, including for using wrong legal definition of disability to deny claims, requiring the company to reopen as many as 26,000 California cases.
11 October 2005
DWP commission a report on ‘The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits’, which lays the framework for the 2006 Welfare Reform Bill.
1 January 2006
Publication of “Is Work Good for Health and Well-being?”, claims to provide evidence that work is good for health, which will be used by government to justify pressuring disabled people into work.
The New Labour government publishes “A New Deal for Welfare” green paper, introducing the new employment and support allowance, which will replace incapacity benefit and include conditionality for most claimants.
25 January 2006
Tony Blair supports welfare shake-up, warning that unemployed people, single parents and those on incapacity benefit that they could no longer expect “a lifetime” on benefit.
Dr Alison Ravetz criticises government’s New Deal for Welfare warning of incalculable stress for those forced into work and predicting future harms.
DWP publishes progress report on developing the work capability assessment.
New Labour commission report from investment banker David Freud on “reducing dependency” in the welfare system.
31 May 2007
Welfare Reform Act 2007 receives royal assent, introducing changes that will impact millions of disabled people, including the new employment and support allowance (ESA) and the work capability assessment (WCA).
3 July 2007
“Doctor” is changed to “healthcare professional” in amendments to the social security regulations, related to medical opinion in determining fitness to work.
Labour’s work and pensions secretary Peter Hain vows to “rip up sicknote Britain.”
9 November 2007
Labour announces the new work capability assessment for claiming employment and support allowance, with DWP claiming that “Fifty per cent of those who take the assessment will not pass it”.
15 January 2008
Bid to regulate health care professionals carrying out work capability assessments fails.
2 February 2008
David Freud suggests that less than a third of those claiming incapacity benefit are legitimate claimants.
17 March 2008
Publication of DWP report on health, work and well-being emphasises cost to the British economy of health-related absence from work.
1 April 2008
Work and pensions secretary (of the Blair administration) announces plans to get tough on “scroungers” by retesting everyone on Incapacity Benefit through the new Work Capability Assessment.
27 October 2008
Introduction of Employment and Support Allowance and the Work Capability Assessment – key elements of Labour’s welfare reform which aims to use conditionality to cut spending on out-of-work benefits.
10 December 2008
White Paper ‘Raising Expectations and Increasing Support: Reforming Welfare for the Future’, which claims that “everyone on incapacity benefit” will be moved to ESA, and supports use of conditionality and sanctions, is discussed in House of Lords.
Launch of Centre for Welfare Reform.
14 October 2009
The Express publishes misleading and inaccurate benefit fraud story about incapacity benefit claimants “faking their illnesses”.
DWP publishes internal review of work capability assessment.
Formation of Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC).
1 January 2010
The death of Stephen Carré after finding that DWP had confirmed its decision to find him ineligible for ESA.
30 March 2010
Prevention of future deaths (PFD) report finds that the rejection of his appeal that he was not fit for work was a ‘trigger’ in Stephen Carré’s death.
4 May 2010
Coroner Tom Osborne receives initial response to the Stephen Carré PFD from DWP permanent secretary Sir Leigh Lewis.
6 May 2010
Labour government voted out in general election, leading to formation of coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
12 May 2010
Coroner Tom Osborne replies to Sir Leigh Lewis, saying that DWP does not need to investigate the circumstances surrounding Stephen Carré’s death but does need to investigate use of medical evidence.
Formation of Black Triangle Campaign to “galvanise opposition to the current vicious attack on the fundamental human rights of disabled people by the Government”, and in memory of Paul Reekie.
Formation of The Mental Health Resistance Network set up “by people who live with mental distress in order to defend ourselves from the assault on us by a cruel government”.
10 June 2010
The death of Paul Reekie.
22 June 2010
Budget reveals plans to slash spending on disability living allowance through a new assessment process.
28 June 2010
Iain Duncan Smith suggests disabled people are to blame for planned cuts to Disability Living Allowance.
DWP fails in its legal duty to respond to the Stephen Carré prevention of future deaths report.
Mad Pride protest against the coalition government’s “savage” welfare cuts.
6 October 2010
Prime minister adds to “benefit scrounger” rhetoric aimed at claimants of incapacity benefit.
6 October 2010
Coroner Tom Osborne writes to the father of Stephen Carré, saying he has received no “substantive response” to his prevention of future deaths report.
23 November 2010
Professor Malcolm Harrington publishes his first independent review of the Work Capability Assessment, finding that the system is “impersonal” but not “broken” (later evidence would emerge that he had not been informed by DWP of the coroner’s report for Stephen Carré.)
1 December 2010
The Sun publishes an interview with Iain Duncan Smith on “Benefits Britain.”
Calum’s List website is created as a memorial page to remember “welfare reform deaths.”
Daily Mail article wrongly claims that 400,000 disabled benefit claimants were “trying it on”, and that 94 per cent of new claimants are able to work.
Publication of “Getting In, Staying In and Getting On: Disability Employment Support Fit for the Future” recommending end to government subsidies for Remploy factories and producing disagreement within the disabled people’s movement.
15 June 2011
David Cameron says the work capability assessment is necessary to stop “bad behaviour.”
25 September 2011
Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Work and Pensions claims Labour lost the 2010 election because it was not seen as tough enough on welfare.
Insurance provider Unum denies it will profit from incapacity benefit reform.
3 October 2011
Iain Duncan Smith tells Conservative party conference that incapacity benefit is abused and open to fraud.
27 October 2011
BBC broadcasts The Future State of Welfare, which mirrors government rhetoric, and uses faulty data, about the work capability assessment system.
Research shows a ‘significant increase’ in the number of negative stories about disabled people in national newspapers over the last six years.
Pat’s Petition, asking the DWP to stop changes to benefits, is submitted on the UK Government’s website.
Evidence emerges of Unum’s influence on UK welfare reform.
Professor Harrington publishes his second review of the WCA.
31 December 2011
The death of Ms DE (Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland later launches an investigation into her death).
Research report evidences “influence of politicians’ rhetoric” in increasing stigma against benefit claimants.
9 January 2012
Report finds government misled parliament over opposition to disability living allowance reform, and Spartacus Network is launched.
28 January 2012
Disabled activists and allies stage direct action protest at the government’s welfare reform bill.
1 February 2012
DWP begins to collect peer reviews (the secret reports it carries out into the deaths of benefit claimants) centrally for the first time.
1 February 2012
Commons invokes financial privilege to pass the Welfare Reform Act 2012, quashing Lords amendments to soften changes to the benefits system.
8 February 2012
Welfare Reform Act, which introduces universal credit and introduces the “bedroom tax”, receives royal assent.
1 March 2012
MPs and peers warn of cumulative impact of Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence payments (DLA/PIP) reforms on disabled people.
23 March 2012
Disabled asylum seekers created a mural for their messages to be heard in the heart of Bristol.
2 April 2012
Mind chief executive resigns from Work Capability Assessment (WCA) review scrutiny panel, arguing that the assessment process “isn’t working”.
1 May 2012
Scottish GP tells Scottish parliament that the death of Paul Reekie was caused by the UK government’s welfare reforms.
Doctors vote to end the work capability assessment (WCA), thanks to lobbying from disabled activists.
8 June 2012
The death of Karen Sherlock, 2 weeks after she was told she would be eligible once again to receive Employment support Allowance (ESA).
20 June 2012
Email leaked from Jobcentre managers to staff after a claimant attempts suicide after being told his sickness benefit would be cut off.
26 July 2012
High court grants permission for two disabled people (backed by the Mental Health Resistance Network) to bring a judicial review claim against the work and pensions secretary and related to the work capability assessment (WCA).
30 July 2012
Two investigative documentaries about Atos and the work capability assessment (WCA) are broadcast on the same night, showing evidence of target driven assessment culture.
Disabled activists target Atos at London 2012 Paralympics, including delivering a coffin to Atos’s headquarters to represent those who have died after being found “fit to work”.
Survey finds negative press coverage of disabled people, supported by government in order to justify cuts, is increasing, contributing to disability hate crime.
12 September 2012
MP raises concerns over the death of Colin Traynor, whose family say they “hold the Government…personally responsible”.
25 September 2012
The death of Edward Jacques, a week after his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was stopped, which his family say was a major “trigger”. The coroner raises issues with the assessment process, specifically the failure to get medical evidence.
27 September 2012
The death of Brian McArdle, the day after he was deemed “fit to work” following a work capability assessment (WCA).
8 October 2012
George Osborne refers to welfare claimants as “sleeping off a life on benefits” in speech to Conservative party conference.
WOW Petition Campaign, created by disabled people and building on Pat’s Petition, calls for a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reforms.
15 November 2012
The Spartacus Network publishes the People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment, documenting links between being found “fit for work” and people’s deaths.
19 November 2012
DWP suggests that providing further medical evidence would be too heavy a burden on GPs.
20 November 2012
Professor Harrington publishes his third review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
22 November 2012
Iain Duncan Smith questioned over benefit-related deaths on BBC Question Time.
26 November 2012
Joseph Rowntree Foundation publishes report on the impact of welfare reform on poverty and exclusion, criticising DWP for failing to assess the overall impact of its welfare reforms.
30 November 2012
House of Commons Library sums up WCA concerns.
Linda Wootton dies nine days after DWP upholds its decision to declare her “fit for work.”
17 January 2013
Commons debate on work capability assessment and Atos.
23 February 2013
Research by DPAC activist exposes how DWP under-estimated how many should be found not fit for work.
Thinktank Demos show that disabled people will be hit by up to 13 different cuts and risk losing a total of £28.3 billion in income support by 2018.
Launch of new personal independence payment (PIP)
DWP introduces mandatory reconsiderations – a new internal appeal stage for benefits.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) comes into effect, introducing funding cuts to legal aid.
6 April 2013
David Cameron tells The Sun that the welfare system has “lost its way” and become a “lifestyle choice for some”
4 May 2013
The death of Stephanie Bottrill – her suicide note blames the government’s “bedroom tax”.
16 May 2013
Former Atos assessor blows the whistle on unfair practices, saying the DWP is the “real culprit”.
22 May 2013
Judgement on work capability assessment court case brought by the Mental Health Resistance Network.
20 July 2013
The death of David Clapson, three weeks after having his jobseeker’s allowance sanctioned.
9 August 2013
The death of Mark Wood after being found ineligible for Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
23 August 2013
The death of David Barr, a month after the confirmation of the decision to find him fit for work, which his Father says was the trigger leading to his suicide.
11 September 2013
“Shocking” bedroom tax should be axed, says UN investigator, who reported that the most vulnerable were being affected, with some talking about suicide.
24 September 2013
The death of Michael O’Sullivan after being found fit for work.
25 September 2013
The death of Tim Salter after being found fit for work. A coroner later ruled that a major factor in his death was the reduction in his benefits.
28 September 2013
10,000 Cuts and Counting event in Parliament Square to remember the thousands of disabled people who have died shortly after a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
Peter Lilley, security secretary in John Major’s government and one of the architects of the Work Capability Assessment, says he has “no regrets” and denies insurance industry influence.
11 October 2013
DPAC co-founders persuade the UN disability committee to carry out an investigation into the UK under the optional protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
12 October 2013
Rachel Reeves, the new shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, says Labour would be tougher on welfare than the coalition.
5 November 2013
The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights condemns “intrusive” Work Capability Assessment and the demonization of poor people as undeserving.
The Spartacus Network leads the Second People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment, including accounts of deaths linked to being found fit for work.
Publication of fourth independent review of the Work Capability Assessment – with no mention of deaths or suicides.
4 December 2013
Court of Appeal upholds ruling that the Work Capability Assessment discriminates against some disabled people.
4 December 2013
Despite the Court of Appeal ruling that the Work Capability Assessment discriminates against people with mental health conditions, the DWP tells senior civil servants it is “business as usual”.
Formation of Sisters of Frida – disabled women’s collective.
7 January 2014
Inquest into the death of Michael O’Sullivan, where the Coroner concludes that the trigger for Michael O’Sullivan’s suicide was his assessment as being fit for work, and writes a prevention of future deaths report to DWP, saying that “there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken”.
30 January 2014
Managing editor of the Sun appointed director of communications at DWP.
19 February 2014
Activists deliver letter to British Medical Association about its members’ opposition to the work capability assessment.
27 February 2014
War on Welfare (WOW) petition secures debate in House of Commons.
The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland publishes a report into the death of Ms DE, finding that the process and denial of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) were a major factor in her suicide.
Atos pull out of contract with the DWP to deliver the work capability assessment due to reputational and profitability issues.
Launch of New Approach campaign and release of work capability assessment report – finding the process “abusive” and “inhumane”.
7 July 2014
Labour peer highlights “devastating” impact of legal aid changes, which remove access to justice for the poorest and most vulnerable.
13 August 2014
DWP data shows increase in use of sanctions against Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants.
22 August 2014
DWP questioned about what records they keep of deaths linked to the benefits system.
30 September 2014
Welfare rights expert and campaigner Nick Dilworth tells newspaper about the “toxic” Work Capability Assessment, and links to deaths.
Late September 2014
The new Conservative minister for disabled people insists DWP is right to ignore reports of deaths linked to benefits.
Early October 2014
Liberal Democrat DWP minister contradicts his Tory colleague over records kept on deaths linked to benefits.
13 October 2014
First freedom of information request into DWP reviews into deaths of benefit claimants.
14 October 2014
DWP admits for the first time that it carries out investigations into some deaths of claimants.
7 November 2014
Faiza Ahmed (known to her family as Sophie) dies by suicide, hours after telling a jobcentre work coach that she was suicidal.
10 November 2014
DWP questioned over how many coroner’s letters about benefits-related deaths it has received in the past 10 years.
10 November 2014
DWP admits in a Freedom of Information response that it has carried out 60 peer reviews into deaths of benefits claimants.
Litchfield publishes fifth and final independent review of the work capability assessment, with no mention of the DWP’s own reviews into deaths of claimants.
27 November 2014
Employment minister says there is no formal policy to liaise with agencies after a sanction.
12 December 2014
DWP delays responding to freedom of information request on peer reviews into deaths of benefits claimants.
Labour MP speaks of “core visits” procedures, which are supposed to be followed when a “vulnerable” person is sanctioned.
2 February 2015
A man (name kept anonymous) dies by suicide after being rejected for both Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
19 February 2015
DWP refuses to release the peer reviews it has carried out in relation to deaths of benefits claimants.
19 February 2015
DWP admits that 40 of the 49 peer reviews into the deaths of benefit claimants it has carried out were in response to suicides.
2 March 2015
Channel 4 reports that most peer reviews included recommendations for improvements.
2 March 2015
Maximus takes over from Atos as provider of work capability assessments, sparking protests.
The death of Sheila Holt, following a work capability assessment.
Psychologists Against Austerity say austerity policies are causing mental health problems.
12 March 2015
Dismissal of further medical evidence case on the work capability assessment and discrimination, but upper tribunal administrative appeals chamber criticises minister.
17 March 2015
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, says: “We are not the party of people on benefits.”
18 March 2015
The Commons work and pensions select committee calls for a new independent body to investigate deaths of benefit claimants.
DWP examines its flawed peer review process, finding deep flaws.
16 April 2015
Changes to incapacity benefits described “as the biggest single social policy failure of the last 15 years”.
30 April 2015
Black Triangle film listing people whose deaths are linked to the welfare system.
7 May 2015
Conservatives win overall majority at general election
8 May 2015
DWP admits that 10 of the 49 claimants whose deaths were examined by peer reviews had had their benefits sanctioned.
19 May 2015
DWP raises issues with sanctions and safeguarding of vulnerable claimants by the companies delivering its Work Programme.
29 May 2015
The death of Luke Alexander Loy, three months after being found fit for work and sanctioned. His sister said “he died as a result of Tory cuts”.
2 June 2015
Freedom of information request reveals that 22 of the 49 peer reviews into deaths of claimants involved someone claiming employment and support allowance (ESA).
26 June 2015
DWP says coroners’ letters expressing concern about the deaths of benefit claimants are not handled by a specific official, revealing no centralised process for accountability.
20 July 2015
John McDonnell voices strong opposition to welfare reform and work bill
22 July 2015
Survey shows that “benefit scrounger rhetoric” is causing disability hate crime.
The death of Moira Drury, after the removal of her employment and support allowance (ESA).
10 August 2015
The death of Frances McCormack. She left a note linking her hardship to the “bedroom tax”.
27 August 2015
DWP publish statistics on how many people died while claiming out-of-work benefits.
29 August 2015
The death of Alan McArdle, an hour after being told that DWP was threatening to sanction him – stopping his employment and support allowance (ESA).
17 September 2015
Information commissioner rejects complaint about DWP refusal to release peer reviews, supporting DWP’s’ response that this would breach data protection.
18 September 2015
First coroner’s report to link work capability assessment (WCA) with the death of a person claiming benefits – Michael O’Sullivan.
6 October 2015
Iain Duncan Smith tells claimants to “work your way out of poverty”.
13 October 2015
Priti Patel denies causality between sanctions and suicides.
14 October 2015
Mother of Mark Wood (who died after being found ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA)) gives evidence to UN committee.
15 October 2015
Disability News Service appeals to the First-Tier Tribunal over the information commissioner’s decision to reject its peer review complaint (allowing reviews to remain unpublished).
21 October 2015
Prime minister David Cameron is asked about the death of Michael O’Sullivan.
23 October 2015
Ministry of Justice releases Stephen Carré prevention of future deaths (PFD) report.
28 October 2015
David Cameron asked about peer reviews into deaths of people claiming benefits.
28 October 2015
Welfare reform and work bill has its first reading in parliament.
The death of Paul Donnachie, after his employment and support allowance (ESA) is removed.
12 November 2015
Professor Harrington (who carried out the first three independent reviews of the WCA for DWP) says he was not shown Stephen Carré PFD report.
16 November 2015
Research shows links between Work Capability Assessments and suicides
DWP, in guidance to healthcare professionals working for Maximus, changes suicide from a “definitive” “substantial risk” if forced into work, to something that should be weighed against ‘benefits of employment”.
11 December 2015
Mental health experts describe how “ruthless” DWP forced through Work Capability Assessments despite knowing of harm.
8 January 2016
National Audit Office (NAO) publishes report on disability assessments and private contractors.
20 January 2016
Coroner publishes prevention of future deaths (PFD) report into death of Sophie/Faiza (see 7 November 2014), calling for DWP to take action to prevent further deaths.
28 January 2016
Ministry of Justice refuses to investigate DWP’s failure to respond to Stephen Carré prevention of future deaths (PFD) report.
3 March 2016
Information Rights Tribunal hears Disability news Service case against the information commissioner over its finding that DWP did not need to release peer reviews into the deaths of benefit claimants.
16 March 2016
Welfare Reform and Work Act receives royal assent.
17 March 2016
Labour former work and pensions secretary says she “never saw” Stephen Carré PFD report.
20 March 2016
Iain Duncan Smith accuses government of deliberately attacking disabled people through “indefensible” cuts because “they don’t vote for us”.
23 March 2016
Disabled activists ask Scottish police to investigate ministers over work capability assessment (WCA) deaths.
DWP sends out reminder to staff about six-point suicide prevention plan.
Capita faces fresh calls to be stripped of personal independence payment (PIP) contracts after release of Channel 4 undercover footage.
11 April 2016
The Information Rights Tribunal rules DWP must release redacted versions of peer reviews.
5 May 2016
DWP figures shows that of the 49 peer reviews into deaths of people claiming benefits, 18 of the people who had died by suicide had been claiming employment support allowance (ESA).
12 May 2016
DWP releases redacted versions of 49 peer reviews, showing that ministers were repeatedly warned that policies were putting the lives of “vulnerable” claimants at risk.
18 May 2016
Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Deidre Brock backs calls to prosecute Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling for their failure to make the work capability assessment (WCA) safe.
19 May 2016
The death of Susan Roberts, after being told she had lost a benefit appeal.
19 May 2016
John McDonnell supports calls to prosecute Iain Duncan Smith.
22 May 2016
The film “I, Daniel Blake” (about the unfairness of the work capability assessment) wins the Cannes Palme d’Or.
Recovery in The Bin runs Benefits Defence workshops – upskilling disabled people to defend themselves from the welfare system.
17 July 2016
Kamil Ahmad, a disabled Kurdish asylum seeker, is murdered
4 August 2016
Jobcentre Plus (JCP) worker caught making racist comments on the phone.
30 August 2016
New reviews into deaths of people claiming benefits show DWP staff keep failing to follow suicide guidelines.
Changes to DWP guidance (including regulation 35) on safety and risk lead to sharp fall in claimants placed in employment and support allowance (ESA) support group, and increase in number of people found ‘fit for work’.
13 September 2016
Freedom of information battle with DWP finds Maximus memo on suicide guidance and medical evidence was sent a few days after the existence of the Michael O’Sullivan prevention of future deaths report was first revealed.
Iain Duncan Smith denies responsibility for WCA deaths.
DWP publishes Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper.
Disabled activists declare war on Mind after links exposed to DWP.
6 November 2016
Government leaks UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities report to Mail on Sunday in attempt to discredit its findings.
7 November 2016
UN report concludes DWP is guilty of “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people.
30 November 2016
The National Audit Office says DWP is not doing enough to understand how sanctions affect people on benefits.
30 November 2016
Psychotherapy organisations express concern about the impact of sanctions on mental health.
Scottish criminal justice agencies reject request to launch criminal investigation into links between DWP and the death of David Barr.
16 December 2016
DWP admits it carried out seven peer reviews while Harrington was investigating the work capability assessment (WCA).
19 December 2016
Professor Harrington believes he was never shown work capability assessment (WCA) related peer reviews into claimants’ deaths.
12 January 2017
The death of Lawrence Bond, hours after visiting jobcentre.
Green party sends dossier of 50 deaths of benefit claimants to DWP, calling for an inquiry.
Report by Mental Health and Unemployment in Scotland finds that the work capability assessment (WCA) has a negative impact on mental health.
21 February 2017
The death of Jodey Whiting, after being found fit for work, despite telling the DWP about her suicidal thoughts.
21 February 2017
Public accounts committee report urges DWP to review the use of sanctions.
22 February 2017
DWP tells the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that it does not keep track of peer review recommendations.
14 March 2017
DPAC and Inclusion London respond to the UN report, raising the connection between benefit changes, people’s deaths and Government failures.
20 April 2017
DWP admits peer review process lacked “robust governance”.
21 April 2017
The death of Diane Hullah, linked to anxiety caused by the personal independence payment (PIP) application process.
10 May 2017
DWP “has gone back on promise” to address work capability assessment (WCA) further medical evidence flaw.
24 May 2017
Inquest into the death of Jodey Whiting fails to investigate DWP’s potential role in her death.
26 July 2017
The death of Mark Barber, shortly after learning his disability benefits would be cut. Coroner mentions stress linked to reassessment for disability benefits.
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities committee says government cuts caused “human catastrophe”.
DWP data shows some groups are at substantially higher risk of experiencing a jobseekers allowance (JSA) sanction.
3 August 2017
Disability News Service investigates allegations of professionals’ dishonesty in benefits assessments outsourced to Capita and Atos.
31 August 2017
UN demands UK government provide an annual UK progress report on correcting “grave and systematic violations”.
31 August 2017
Portraying UK disabled people as “parasites” could lead to “violence and killings”, says UN chair.
Work and pensions secretary David Gauke admits sanctions can harm claimants with mental health issues.
12 October 2017
Government downplays UN disability committee concerns about the UK.
Windrush scandal shows UK Government threatening, detaining, and deporting Commonwealth citizens.
10 November 2017
WinVisible submits evidence to the Commons work and pensions select committee about how assessment regime causes disabled women “terrifying insecurity”, including links to deaths, including suicides.
16 November 2017
Government inquiry into benefits assessment processes receives unprecedented number of submissions.
Mental health charity Rethink publishes report on how the work capability assessment (WCA) discriminates against people with mental illness.
14 December 2017
Department of Health’s national suicide prevention strategy fails to warn NHS of the suicide risk associated with employment and support allowance (ESA).
14 December 2017
NHS statistics on the link between employment support allowance and suicide prompt calls for inquiry and prosecution of ministers.
20 December 2017
The high court rules that changes to personal independence payment (PIP) regulations were unlawful and discriminate against disabled people.
25 January 2018
DWP decides not to trial softer sanctions regime, despite this being recommended by the Commons public accounts committee.
14 February 2018
The Commons work and pensions committee finds the assessment system is undermined by “pervasive culture of mistrust”.
20 February 2018
Research shows that benefit sanctions regime discriminates against disabled people claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA).
14 March 2018
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) research shows cumulative impact of tax and welfare reforms on disabled people.
16 April 2018
Pensions secretary Esther McVey heckled over death of Jodey Whiting.
18 April 2018
Government responds to work and pensions committee’s report on assessments process.
21 May 2018
DWP “has no record” of whether it showed documents about deaths related to work capability assessments to a reviewer.
Research published from five-year study into welfare conditionality, findings include link between sanctions and deaths, including suicide.
20 June 2018
The death of Errol Graham, months after DWP wrongly stopped his employment support allowance (ESA), and failed to seek further medical evidence.
19 July 2018
Four opposition parties demand DWP answers over work capability assessment deaths “cover-up”.
Production of A Very Queer Nazi Faust by disabled artist Vince Laws, highlights deaths linked to disability benefits cuts.
17 September 2018
Number of DWP investigations (internal process reviews) into deaths of people claiming benefits double in two years.
26 September 2018
Scottish government sets out plans to bring benefit assessments in-house.
27 September 2018
Joy Dove, Jodey Whiting’s mother, vows to fight on for Justice for Jodey.
Research shows that the sanctions system has a “significantly detrimental” effect on mental health.
Citizens Advice signs £51 million contract with DWP.
18 October 2018
The new “minister for suicide prevention” evades questions on statistics showing links between employment and support allowance (ESA) and suicide.
25 October 2018
Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) submit report to UN, finding government failings in upholding the rights of disabled people.
The sister of a man with learning difficulties says his death was caused by his move onto the government’s “chaotic” universal credit system.
6 November 2018
Commons work and pensions committee calls for an end to sanctioning disabled people.
16 November 2018
UN rapporteur says government has ‘inflicted great misery’ on disabled people.
18 November 2018
The death of Roy Curtis, six days after being asked to attend a face-to-face work capability assessment (WCA).
19 December 2018
Second backbench WOW campaign debate hears of “hostile” and “dehumanising” benefits assessment system.
15 January 2019
Watchdog report shows introduction of personal independence payment (PIP) led to spending rise rather than intended fall.
22 January 2019
Ministers fail to include DWP in cross-government suicide prevention plan, despite evidence linking suicides with disability benefits assessment system.
1 February 2019
DWP figures show thousands died after having personal independence payment (PIP) claims rejected.
21 February 2019
DWP failed five times to follow safeguarding rules before Jodey Whiting’s suicide.
Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd launches Health Transformation Programme – to reform assessment processes.
8 March 2019
NHS calls for government action on link between mental distress and benefit cuts.
11 March 2019
DWP figures suggest deaths linked to the work capability assessment (WCA) may have fallen.
13 March 2019
Prime minister Theresa May questioned about the death of Jodey Whiting.
15 March 2019
Six families back petition to MPs calling for inquiry into DWP benefit deaths.
21 March 2019
DWP admits it keeps no record of complaints linked to deaths submitted to the Independent Case Examiner.
25 March 2019
DWP withholds documents on benefits-related deaths from work capability assessment (WCA) review team.
28 March 2019
Secret recording of face-to-face benefits assessment shows Capita assessor lying about woman’s thoughts of suicide.
The death of James Oliver, a few months after DWP’s refusal to grant him personal independence payment (PIP).
4 April 2019
DWP admits destroying report on safety failures in jobcentres.
8 April 2019
DWP responds to Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, saying it has “no plans” to hold an independent inquiry into deaths linked to its actions.
15 April 2019
The death of Stephen Smith, following an 18-month battle with DWP over being found fit for work.
DPAC report on severe impact of universal credit, including links to suicide.
2 May 2019
Responses to freedom of information requests show DWP and assessors fail to refer claimants at risk of harm to social services.
10 May 2019
Senior judges rule to lower the standard of proof in determining suicide.
6 June 2019
MP Debbie Abrahams asks the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate why evidence about deaths linked to the work capability assessment (WCA) was withheld from independent reviews.
4 July 2019
Minister questioned over failure to pass evidence about deaths linked to the work capability assessment (WCA) to independent reviewer.
22 July 2019
Mother of Jodey Whiting takes part in protest about benefits-related deaths outside DWP with Dolly Sen.
September to November 2019
Art and Protest exhibition includes works about benefit cuts and deaths.
4 September 2019
DWP secures funding to set up an independent panel to examine cases where its own failings have led to the deaths of benefit claimants.
12 September 2019
Independent Case Examiner raises concerns about DWP not following safeguarding procedures aimed at protecting “vulnerable” claimants.
22 September 2019
Mother of Jodey Whiting receives standing ovation at Labour fringe event.
16 October 2019
The death of Philippa Day, after she had been told she would need to attend an assessment centre for a face-to-face appointment to decide her claim for personal independence payment (PIP).
24 October 2019
Police admit officers have no guidance about passing on information about protesters to DWP (after two police forces admitted passing information and video footage to DWP about disabled people taking part in protests).
14 November 2019
Statistics show most disability benefit fraud allegations are false.
Late November 2019
The death of Christian Wilcox, a few days before he is due to attend an appeal tribunal into DWP’s decision to remove his personal independence payment (PIP).
2 December 2019
Disability News Service publishes five-year investigation into deaths linked to the work capability assessment (WCA).
5 December 2019
A doctor employed by Atos says DWP put “immense pressure” on Atos to find claimants fit for work.
23 January 2020
The death of Errol Graham receives first publicity (he died in 2018).
23 January 2020
The case of Errol Graham’s death is referred to DWP’s new serious case panel.
27 January 2020
The deaths of Jodey Whiting and Errol Graham mentioned in the Commons.
28 January 2020
DWP admits the serious case panel will not be independent.
5 February 2020
Prime minister Boris Johnson questioned about death of Errol Graham.
7 February 2020
Report by the National Audit Office (NAO) shows DWP misled two watchdogs over deaths and safeguarding.
20 February 2020
The coroner for Errol Graham says she will push DWP on promised safeguarding review (which persuaded her not to submit a prevention of future deaths (PFD) report).
20 February 2020
DWP misled Errol Graham coroner over safeguarding review.
21 February 2020
DWP admits destroying pre-2015 peer reviews into suicides and other deaths of benefit claimants.
24 February 2020
MP reads list of 24 people whose deaths are linked to DWP policy, in Parliament.
5 March 2020
Chair of the work and pensions committee asks work and pensions secretary questions about the NAO report.
20 March 2020
Work and pensions secretary responds to questions from Chair of the work and pensions committee, telling him about DWP’s new “Service Excellence Directorate”, including funding for safeguarding and clarifying purpose of internal process reviews (IPRs).
24 April 2020
Coroner fails to investigate DWP links to death of PIP claimant
25 June 2020
The Equality and Human Rights Commission says it will not carry out an inquiry into links between DWP and the deaths of disabled claimants.
8 July 2020
Report from Justice Department shows need for improvement in benefits decision-making.
16 July 2020
Coroner’s prevention of future deaths report into death of Faiza Ahmed is made public, showing jobcentre’s failings contributed to her death.
16 July 2020
Family or Errol Graham win right to court challenge on DWP safeguarding.
22 July 2020
Work and pensions secretary speaks about serious case panel and safeguarding.
22 July 2020
DWP permanent secretary gives evidence to work and pensions committee on safeguarding and internal process reviews (IPRs).
30 July 2020
Chair of the work and pensions committee writes to work and pensions secretary asking for further information about DWP plans to improve safeguarding.
22 August 2020
Death of Mercy Baguma, an asylum seeker from Uganda.
Work and pensions secretary denies DWP has duty of care or statutory safeguarding responsibilities for people claiming benefits.
8 September 2020
New DWP figures show that, in just two years, 1,700 disabled people died within three months of having their claim for personal independence payment (PIP) rejected.
23 September 2020
Dolly Sen “sections” DWP for being “a danger to benefit claimants” – driving many claimants to their deaths.
29 September 2020
Work and pensions secretary outlines DWP’s revised guidance on home visits procedures, while again saying the department has no duty of care.
30 September 2020
Work and pensions secretary again tells the Commons work and pensions select committee that DWP has no duty of care.
11 November 2020
The family of Jodey Whiting are granted permission to ask the high court to order a second inquest into Jodey’s death.
27 November 2020
Former work and pensions secretary admits harsh benefit cuts were responsible for rising poverty.
30 November 2020
DWP refuses to release recommendations made by its internal process reviews (from between April 2019 and November 2020) into the deaths of benefit claimants.
30 November 2020
Newly-released internal process reviews show that a number of suicides between 2014 and 2019 were linked to DWP staff’s failure to follow suicide guidance.
4 December 2020
Coroner Tom Osborne files a Prevention of Future Deaths report on the death of Roy Curtis, but the DWP is not mentioned.
10 December 2020
Coroner’s silence over why DWP did not give evidence at Roy Curtis inquest.
17 December 2020
New analysis of figures suggests DWP is failing to investigate hundreds of suicides of benefits claimants.
21 December 2020
High court is asked to order a second inquest into the death of Jodey Whiting.
26 December 2020
The death of Philip Pakree, after distress caused by an upcoming work capability assessment (WCA).
13 January 2021
High court hears evidence from family of Errol Graham in judicial review hearing.
14 January 2021
Disability News Service wins ground-breaking legal fight with DWP, over the draft internal process review that was drawn up by DWP following the death of Philippa Day.
27 January 2021
Coroner at Philippa Day’s inquest finds flawed personal independence payment (PIP) system led to her death.
3 February 2021
Work and pensions secretary avoids questions on Philippa Day death.
11 February 2021
Secret report (from 2014) casts doubt on DWP’s claim that it has no duty of care.
23 February 2021
Report from the all-party parliamentary group on health in all policies, says 2016 welfare reforms had devastating impacts on disabled people, and calls for inquiry into deaths of benefit claimants.
Release of The Right to Record – artwork and political campaign on recording personal independence payment (PIP) assessments.
3 March 2021
Errol Graham’s family lose judicial review claim, with the high court rejecting claim that DWP acted unlawfully by not making further enquiries about Errol Graham’s mental health before it cut off his employment and support allowance (ESA).
9 March 2021
Minister for welfare delivery admits “deficit” in tracking “vulnerable claimants” through the universal credit (UC) system.
26 March 2021
Research shows testimony from DWP staff admitting inflicting “psychological harm” on claimants to meet unofficial sanctioning targets during coalition years.
21 April 2021
House of Commons briefing paper on suicide prevention mentions benefits-related deaths.
Publication of The Brown Envelope Book, evidencing the brutal welfare system from those with lived experience.
20 May 2021
Pre-2016 internal guidance for DWP staff suggests DWP have duty of care to benefits claimants.
Publication of DWP and Capita responses to Philippa Day prevention of future death (PFD) report.
22 and 23 June 2021
High court hears bid for second inquest into death of Jodey Whiting.
Bereaved families write to the work and pensions secretary to demand a public inquiry into benefits-related deaths.
1 July 2021
The mother of Ker Featherstone describes how he took his own life, just weeks after DWP cut his personal independence payment (PIP).
20 July 2021
DWP publishes Shaping Future Support – health and disability green paper – failing to mention the internal process reviews carried out by the DWP following deaths of claimants.
12 August 2021
DWP figures reveal sharp rise in internal process reviews into the deaths of benefit claimants.
16 September 2021
The Equality and Human Rights Commission says the government has made no progress on improving the way its social security system protects the rights of disabled people, and that the disability benefits assessment system has led to “the deaths of a number of benefit claimants”.
17 September 2021
Judges reject attempt by Joy Dove, the mother of Jodey Whiting, to secure a second inquest into her daughter’s death, saying that individual mistakes, not systemic failings, led to death.
3 October 2021
Work and pensions secretary signals new bid to try to push more disabled people with high support needs into work.
4 October 2021
The new minister for disabled people says addressing DWP’s legacy of distrust and distress “is a big priority”.
7 October 2021
Mother of Jodey Whiting fights on for justice with appeal against a court’s ruling that there should not be a second inquest into her daughter’s death.
8 October 2021
Bereaved families meet at launch of benefit deaths digital exhibition The Museum of Austerity.
Capita agrees to compensate Philippa Day’s family for failings leading to her death.
4 November 2021
Jodey Whiting legal fight continues with fresh request for permission to appeal against a high court ruling that there was no need for a second inquest.
11 November 2021
Families outraged after government hands award to DWP safeguarding team for “outstanding contribution”.
23 November 2021
DWP refuses to publish figures that would show how disabled people seeking to claim universal credit are experiencing the WCA process
2 December 2021
DWP apologises to autistic man after work coach threatens to stick pins in his eyes.
2 December 2021
Government’s reviewer tells MPs how DWP kept vital deaths evidence from him.
3 December 2021
Coroner says DWP ‘must act’ after it told severely ill patient to leave hospital to make a claim for universal credit.
8 December 2021
Coffey dismisses call for a new review of the WCA, despite being told of claimant deaths evidence.
10 December 2021
Mural created by Deaf, Disabled and Asylum seeking people.
16 December 2021
Coroner silent on why DWP was not questioned at inquest, despite ‘nightmare’ messages left by claimant on benefit assessment paperwork.
17 December 2021
Channel 4’s Dispatches exposes links between DWP and the deaths of claimants
Disabled activists ask human rights watchdog why it is failing to act over DWP deaths.
1 February 2022
Minister ignores calls from MPs for inquiry into benefit deaths.
8 March 2022
Shadow minister says he wants an inquiry into DWP deaths if Labour wins power.
8 March 2022
Three disabled women make parliamentary call for action on DWP deaths.
10 March 2022
Whistleblower claims DWP is forcing distressed claimants to attend weekly meetings