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New analysis of figures suggests DWP is failing to investigate hundreds of suicides of benefits claimants.

What: Analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) and DWP figures, by Disability News Service, suggests that there could have been as many as 750 suicides of working-age benefit claimants in 2018 alone. In more than five years, DWP has carried out internal process reviews (IPRs) into just 69 suicides of benefit claimants. DWP’s own guidance says it should carry out an IPR every time it hears of a suicide of a benefit claimant, even if there are no allegations that its actions contributed to the death.

Why significant: Reports stretching back over the last decade have shown how suicides of claimants have often exposed serious safeguarding failures by DWP, but the figures suggest that hundreds of other cases are never examined.


Information held by the Department for Work & Pensions on deaths by suicide of benefit claimants, NAO
DWP benefits statistical summary, August 2019
Summary of labour market statistics, Office for National Statistics
Suicide occurrences, England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
Call for action over ‘scandal’ of benefit claimant suicides ignored by DWP, Pring, 2020