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Safeguarding vulnerable claimants


The Work and Pensions Committee is to examine how DWP supports vulnerable benefit claimants and whether its approach to safeguarding needs to change.

There are many people who claim benefits from DWP who are considered vulnerable and in need of special care, support or protection to ensure that they are able to access the public services they require from the Department. Although DWP implements a number of safeguarding processes to help provide additional support to these people, DWP does not currently have a statutory duty to safeguard the wellbeing of vulnerable claimants.

Over the three years from July 2019 to July 2022 the number of Internal Process Reviews (IPRs)—DWP’s internal investigations into allegations of DWP case handling which have fallen short of expected standards, with a severe negative impact on a claimant—has more than doubled. 140 IPRs were conducted into claimant deaths over this period compared with 64 reviews carried out between 2016 and 2019. This inquiry will look to evaluate DWP’s approach to safeguarding vulnerable claimants and to question what its responsibilities should be to support those who find it difficult to interact successfully with the benefit system.


Read the call for evidence here.


We understand that the issues raised in this work may be sensitive or upsetting. In addition to contacting your G.P., the following organisations may be able to offer support or further information:  

  • Samaritans—General support for everyone. Call 116 123 - 24 hours a day, every day, or email
  • Mind—for information, advice, and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Call 0300 123 3393.
  • Citizens Advice—For independent, free advice provided by a network of charities online, over the phone and in person on a wide variety of issues including benefits, work, debt, housing, family and immigration. Their Adviceline is available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, by calling 0800 144 8848 (England) or 0800 702 2020 (Wales)