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Social Security Benefits: Injuries and Death

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL5495, tabled on 18 January 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what changes have been implemented by the Department of Work and Pensions in response to the 289 Internal Process Reviews into (1) the death, or (2) serious harm, of claimants related to the actions of that department since 2012.

Answered on

1 February 2022

Recommendations from Internal Process Reviews (IPRs) are a critical source of insight and learning.

Improvements the Department has made following the completion of IPRs in the last few years include:

  • Introducing a holistic check of a customer’s circumstances prior to issuing them with a large payment.
  • Improving staff guidance to ensure vulnerable customers’ benefits are not automatically stopped when they cease engaging with the Department.
  • Following two unanswered visits to a claimant’s address - where there remains concern for their vulnerability - the claim will now not automatically be closed and payments will not cease. Instead, the case will be escalated to a manager to convene a case conference to ensure consideration of all the circumstances. Where applicable, the case can be further escalated to the area Advanced Customer Support Senior Leader (if not yet involved) who could then liaise with relevant external agencies such as the Police or social services to assure the customer’s safety as appropriate.