Saturday, 6 December 2014

Samuel Miller - Update on UN / Labour dealings regarding Welfare reform debacle

@Hephaestus7 Samuel Miller: 

Early this year, I attempted to have the personal files of the late Mark Wood (see sent directly to Jorge Araya, the UN's Secretary of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). I was thwarted by UK's Data Protection Act. Apparently, the estate executor must make the request. According to Mark Wood's sister, with whom I have a correspondence, her mother is his executor and she'll strive to get his files via her. (personal correspondence, October 13 2014). The British government has admitted to wrongly terminating his benefits (

The DWP has seriously breached its duty of care: See A public inquiry into benefit claimant suicides is also urgently needed; the Work and Pensions Select Committee has launched an investigation into Britain's sanctions policy (, but is prohibited from investigating individual cases.

In my opinion, the DWP needs to re-examine its policy which puts the onus on benefit claimants to procure medical evidence from doctors attesting that they are not fit for work, and the Department must be less inflexible when circumstances warrant. The DWP must also recognize that this responsibility of medical evidence procurement is beyond the capability of some claimants, especially those living with mental health conditions.

In the tragic Mark Wood case, his GP Nicolas Ward was not contacted by Atos or the Department for Work and Pensions about his patient’s medical history. Dr. Ward told the court that, had he been asked, he would have ruled him unfit for work.

In the tragic case of epileptic Trevor Drakard, his family struggled to gain detailed medical records of his multiple hospital visits down the years to make a second appeal. He was given a month to get the information, and, as the deadline approached, Trevor became more and more worried. His GP had just retired and so had his consultant in Sunderland, making it hard to get his history. (

I have made a FOI request to the DWP, asking that the 60 peer reviews following the death of a customer since February 2012 ( be mailed to my home address. I have given the Department permission to redact personal information in order not to trigger the Data Protection Act.

Most of my statements on Britain's benefit sanctions regime are contained in this recent post (; and today, I have
called on UK's Labour Party to make an election campaign promise to pause benefit sanctions to the sick and disabled, in view of the soaring use of sanctions against claimants of out-of-work disability benefits—and this significant legal judgement (, which has found the Claimant Commitment 'unlawful'.

The Labour Party has announced that, if elected, it intends to pause the roll-out of Universal Credit and ask the National Audit Office (NAO) to review the cost effectiveness and implementation of the new benefit. It must also pause and review benefit sanctions to the sick and disabled, otherwise there will be many more tragic additions to my list of welfare-related deaths (

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