DWP horror stories have come to light on Twitter

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A doctor shared his experience of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Twitter. But he may not have expected the response he got. Because it led to other professionals telling their horror stories of the UK’s social security system.

Second class citizens

Dr Adrian Heald is a specialist doctor and a vocal campaigner on the NHS and social issues. And he recently turned his attention to the DWP, which has hit the headlines throughout the pandemic. Not least because of the issue of the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift.

The Canary recently reported on chancellor Rishi Sunak’s comments about this. Sunak said that the uplift was designed for “workers”. So you could read his comment as meaning that him and the DWP think sick and disabled people are second class citizens. And judging by the story Heald shared, Sunak’s thinking is par for the course.


Heald tweeted that:

Heald’s tweet seemed to hit home with a lot of people. Because others were sharing their stories. Some people had supported claimants. Belinda Walker said:

I had the misfortune of contacting DWP for a man who lost the ability to write following a stroke. They did not believe it possible and flatly contradicted me. I am Neuro Specialist Speech and Language Therapist with 26 years experience. She still insisted she knew more than me

Another person said:

I have had DWP “assessors” question a patients diagnosis with absolutely no medical background at all. This was face to face with me supporting the patient because their PTSD was so bad.

Claimants and their friends also shared their experiences.

Claimants speak

JEA Bell said:

I felt hounded back to work after a brain tumour. After my SSP [Statutory Sick Pay] finished, I had to deal with DWP, they were calling me at home, asking about my illness, it was awful. I’d never ever claimed benefits before, it was a horrible experience.

Andrea Jane said:

People without medical degrees have told me that my many invisible illnesses don’t affect my life on a daily basis, I get fed up of applying for PIP and it getting rejected

Chris said:

I know someone who had their benefits stopped as they had to wear a portable heart monitor for 48 hours, they cancelled their DWP appt as doc told him he must rest during these 48 hours – DWP was 2 long bus rides away, sanctioned as doc’s advise was too vague.

But, sadly, these stories are nothing new.

Systemic problems

The Canary wrote in 2017 about DWP sanctions. As it noted, examples of bad DWP decisions include:

  • Sanctioning a man, living with learning difficulties, for not completing his job search on the computer. He hand-wrote it instead, because he did not have the IT skills to use the DWP system.
  • Sanctioning a woman with mental health issues for missing a Jobcentre appointment. This was because her mental health prevented her from leaving the house on that day.

Then there was the scandal of DWP staff asking people ‘why they hadn’t killed themselves’. And there was the story of a benefit assessor asking someone when it was that they had ‘caught’ Down’s syndrome. Also, the DWP previously had to tell assessors not to ask claimants to show self-harm scars.

DWP negligence and cruelty is nothing new. But it seems that after years of disastrous conduct, things have not got any better.

Featured image via jplenio – pixabay and Wikimedia 

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  • Show Comments
    1. But on it’s going people don’t realise untill it happens to them but when a claiment dies has of DWP very highly trained Hcp bed of lies the DWP replies back we followed the guidelines but try to learn lesson from it
      Sadly nearly eleven years later it’s still rolling along with out much of a ado aktion t4

    2. Those assessment places aren’t safe either. I was sexually assaulted by one of those doctors – back when they employed people who are otherwise actual doctors. It wasn’t until news stories started to deal with Saville and the like that I decided on going to the police. The police dropped their investigation after a few months when the DWP could not supply records that would lead to the doctor being approached. The police also said they were wary of pursuing the case because it could ‘damaging for the doctor’. Nearly a year later having been let down by the police in relation to something else and then having the former IPCC cover that up I developed a zero tolerance kind of feeling and insisted on the case being reopened. Most of that investigation involved the police contacting people I know to see if they recalled me mentioning the assault at the time, which I would guess is the experience of many women all the time at the hands of the police, lovely emphasis. This second attempt again ground to a halt and my next step was to approach the ‘independent case examiner’ which oddly has a DWP email address. I was directed to an internal procedure that needs to be navigated first, before this person in another DWP office but who is apparently independent can chip in. I look forward to finding out more about the country of my birth in this my 50th year.

      In a few weeks the Covid death total will finally equal the death total from the government’s austerity program, whether or not this might make the earlier deaths less or more visible.

    3. Non-doctors overruling doctors in pursuit of saving money is quacks practising quackery, and I think this will be the future for most of us when the NHS is sold off and what will pass for free treatment will be just quackery offered by these quacks.

    4. DWP horror stories have come to light on Twitter
      Well to all well off G.P. that voted for the Tory party time & time again
      over the years if you all bothered to read Tory MANIFESTO paper you all
      voted for you would see the cut plus in place by Osborne + D-Cameron
      that did a runner on Tory party now being implemented by Boris + his Minister
      did any of you read the M-papers before voting yes or no?
      So, a lot off well off plus self-employed plus other Tory voter are sampling a peace
      of the unjust Scam U-Credit Now need by them to top up their wages because
      of L-Down rules their rich Tory party M.P. MADE UP -you all voted for this benefit
      to be implemented onus all the old -disabled -Mentally ill and them that need top
      up help form L-Down C**p in place now under Tory watch.
      We public have been complaining for years about this unjust Benefit that will
      never work right has its Not means tested like other benefits were a fact.
      Therefore, I think Dr Adrian Heald if he is a Troy voter takes the P***here on this
      Subject he and all Tory voters voted for time & time again for Tory Minister to implement
      under their MANIFESTO paper rules they all voted for now it’s affecting some well
      off G.P -plus self-employed that seek cash help they all start whining when turned
      down by D.W.P. many on this benefit have died or killed themselves Dr Adrian Heald
      So, what are you rich G.P. plus self-employed plus Tory voters going to do? to put a stop
      to the Tory SCAM U-Credit rip off benefit will you all tell Boris to get shut of it yes or no?
      Or will all you just keep whining about it until you no longer need the benefit help?

    5. DWP staff are paid around £42m in non related bonus payments each year, for taking claimants off of their books. Over 100 000 dead through the Austerity Cull alone and now over 120 000 dead through the Pandemic Cull, never mind those the DWP have refused assistance to since March 2020. Civil Litigation Action versus DWP; Civil Litigation Action versus The Government; Civil Litigation Action versus The Opposition…it is time for Citizen Action to remind who and what our public servants serve. Certainly not their banks accounts at the expense of society.

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