26 May 2022
What: DWP announces that it is seeking significant new powers to investigate benefit claimants. The plans would see DWP civil servants given the power to carry out arrests and search people’s homes, while work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey also announces reviews into more than two million existing universal credit claims over the next five years.
Why significant: Many disabled claimants with fluctuating or invisible impairments say they already feel as if they live under suspicion, and fear being investigated by DWP or reported by neighbours to DWP’s benefit fraud hotline. Just as the social security cuts and reforms, and hostile rhetoric about claimants, of successive post-2010 Conservative-led governments led to countless deaths, physical harm and years of mental distress, activists fear the new proposals – and the inevitable associated publicity defending the policy – could mirror that impact.