More than 2,300 died after fit for work assessment – DWP figures
Some 2,380 people have died after being found fit for work and losing benefits, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures show.
Between December 2011 and February 2014 the equivalent of about 90 people a month died after their Employment and Support Allowance claim was ended.
Campaigners have called for the “tragic” figures to be investigated.
The DWP said no link could be assumed between the deaths and claimants being deemed fit for work.
The figures – and the time frame they cover – were released after the Information Commissioner ruled the government should release the statistics, including mortality rates for benefit claimants, in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.
The data does not contain a breakdown of how the people died.
The 2,380 people who died had received Work Capability Assessments (WCA) to decide if they were eligible to receive ESA, which replaced incapacity benefit, income support and severe disablement allowance in 2008.
Of the 2,380, 1,340 died after appealing against their decisions, though it is not known what proportion of those appeals were successful or failed.
Learning disability charity Mencap said the numbers appeared unusually high for people of working age who had so recently been declared fit.
The charity’s Rob Holland, who co-chairs the Disability Benefits Consortium, a consortium of charities and other bodies, said: “These tragic figures are concerning and warrant further investigation.
“We know the fit for work test is failing disabled people, with devastating consequences.”
The figures said 2,017,070 people were given a decision following their WCA between May 2010 and February 2013, with 40,680 dying within a year of that decision.
But the data showed a decline in the mortality rate of all benefit claimants – the number of deaths per 100,000 people – from 822 to 723 between 2003 and 2013.
This was slower, proportionally, than the decline in the mortality rate of the general population, which fell from 305 to 240 in the same period, according to the statistics.