Deaths due to benefit sanctions should have independent investigations
- 24 Mar
A parliamentary committee has said that deaths occurring as a result of benefit sanctions should be investigated by an independent commission.
A report into benefit sanctions by the Work and Pensions Committee has said that suicides linked to sanctions should be scrutinised in a similar manner to deaths in police custody, reports Inside Housing.
A review of the systems of benefit sanctions was also called for in the report; however the government has previously rejected a call for an independent review in January.
The DWP told the committee it had carried out reviews of 49 deaths, some of which involved suicide ‘associated with DWP activity', the report states.
‘In addition, DWP should seek to establish a body modelled on the Independent Police Complaints Commission to request reviews... where an individual on out-of-work working-age benefits dies whilst on receipt of that benefit,' it said.
The report also asked for further clarity from the DWP on the extent to which housing benefit payments have been ‘incorrectly impacted by Jobseekers Allowance' and what steps they lan to take to address the issues.
Commenting on the report, Benefit sanctions policy beyond the Oakley Review, Dame Anne Begg MP, chair of the Work and Pensions committee, said: "The [sanctions] system must be capable of identifying and protecting vulnerable people. No claimant should have their benefit payment reduced to zero where they are at risk of severe financial hardship, to the extent of not being able to feed themselves or their families, or pay their rent."
Matt Downie, director of policy at Crisis, said: "Evidence is mounting of a punitive and deeply flawed regime - a postcode lottery with wide variations on the ground and large numbers of unfair decisions. Our next Government must listen to today's cross party verdict and commit to a full independent review."
A spokesperson from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: "As the report recognises, sanctions are a vital backstop in the welfare system and are only used in a small minority of cases where claimants don't do all they can to look for work."
What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions
- 28 Aug
Figures find thousands of benefit claimants died after found fit for work
Over 80 people a month have died shortly after being declared “fit to work” prompting campaigners to call for an overhaul of the government’s welfare system, reports the Guardian.Figures from...
- 24 Aug
Disability campaigners concerned over benefit shakeups
The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to announce new reforms to sickness benefits in the hope to get more people into work, reports the Guardian.It is expected the Mr Duncan Smith...
- 07 Aug
Single parents are being hit by benefit cuts
Government statistics detailing who has been affected by the policy have found that in May 2015 49% were single parents with children under the age of five, reports the Guardian.It is being said that...
- 30 Jul
Government to review helping benefit claimants back into work
Led by Professor Dame Carol Black, the inquiry will consider the case for linking people who are entitled to benefits with accepting appropriate treatment or support, reports 24dash.The review's...
- 23 Jul
Call for review of benefits delivery
The inquiry will look at the problems that could occur when benefits are underpaid or delayed, reports 24dash. The Committee invites written evidence on: Frank Field MP, chair of the committee,...
- 15 May
11,400 tenants could be affected by new benefits cut
Inside Housing have analysed data from the government's Stat-Xplore website and has found that 11,449 social housing tenants are set to be affected by the governments plans to remove housing benefit...
- 11 Mar
Charity finds benefit sanctions regime to be flawed
A report conducted for Crisis by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University found that benefit claimants were subject to a ‘postcode lottery' on whether or...
- 30 Oct
Cuts to employment and support allowance benefits
With these cuts it could see new claimants being given just 50p more per week than people who are on job seekers allowance, reports the BBC. The Department for Work and Pensions have said the ESA...
- 10 Oct
Proposed benefit rule labelled ‘worse than poor law'
The Social Security Advisory Committee is currently cons ulting on the proposals which George Osborne first announced in June 2013, reports Inside Housing.The seven day wait would occur on top of the...
- 30 Sep
Plan for pre-paid benefit cards
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has said that this would help "on the margins break the cycle of poverty" reports the BBC.The cars will only be able to purchase some items in some...
Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 The conference tackled todays issues at provider level, and provided knowledgeable people to present the workshops. A.L - Caraston Hall