Is DWP failure to sign benefits deaths agreement the result of institutional disability discrimination?

Much of our work comes from institutional disability discrimination. This is where the assumption from organisations is that any disabled person claiming support for their needs is exaggerating for personal gain.

This is a regular approach of the DWP, and some tribunals, to benefit claims, as well as the attitude of many employers to claims for reasonable adjustments in the work-place.

In the process the law becomes secondary to the inclinations of individuals resulting in hundreds of cases that really we should never get.

Many faulty Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments result from the assessor deciding the claimant isn’t worthy of the benefit and then working backwards. And occasionally we get tribunals operating similarly, although thankfully this is relatively rare.

Institutional disability discrimination is the reason for the scandal of benefits deaths. An unknown number of fatalities have resulted from claimants being set requirements they could not meet and then their income being removed when they couldn’t do the thing asked of them. For example, Errol Graham died when he could not do what was required of him by the DWP.

Requirements such as form filling and attending personal assessments are fortunately all subject to the reasonable adjustments duties laid out in the Equality Act 2010, but this is not consistently implemented by the DWP.

It’s in this context that the DWP’s refusal to sign an agreement to prevent benefits deaths is unsurprising

With the media’s relentless focus on some aspects of equality perhaps one day this issue will get the attention it deserves.



Kester Disability Rights Ltd., The Archway Centre, 6 New Road, Ludlow SY8 2NX. Registered in England number 11917856.