DWP Jobcentre Queue with the DWP benefits Logo

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has already screwed up the next round of so-called cost of living payments. This time, it’s chronically ill and disabled people who are affected. But the situation begs the question: how can the DWP mess up something so simple?

DWP: insulting payments

On Tuesday 20 September, the DWP was due to send out £150 one-off payments to around six million people who got certain disability/health social security entitlements. It’s part of the government cost of living support packages. According to the government’s website:

The payment will help disabled people with the rising cost of living, acknowledging the higher disability-related costs they often face

Of course, £150 is an insult to chronically ill and disabled people. In 2019, they already faced extra costs of £583 a month on average, compared to non-disabled people. Now, that figure would be nearer £650 – less than the monthly highest Personal Independence Payment (PIP) rate. So, £150 is hardly something to shout about. But it is still extra money that people wouldn’t otherwise have.

So, with inflation and interest rates rocketing and the poorest people struggling more than ever, what does the DWP do? Screw up paying the £150.

Enter Martin Lewis

As Martin Lewis and his Money Saving Expert (MSE) website reported, the DWP told it:

that “operational issues” have led to delays in sending out the money. DWP said the operational problems meant it has so far only been able to send out a limited number of payments

Read on…

Lewis’s own, albeit unscientific, research said otherwise – with thousands of people telling him on Twitter and Facebook they hadn’t got the payment yet. It was a similar story in another Twitter thread. On social media, those affected were furious:

As Twitter user Thomas pointed out:

It’s not clear what the “operational issues” are that meant the DWP has already messed up the £150 payments. As The Canary previously reported, despite the government claiming it couldn’t, the DWP can change its IT systems to make payments to people virtually whenever it wants.

DWP: doesn’t care

A DWP spokesperson “assured” MSE that everyone would get their £150 by the “30 September”. But this is not good enough. It had months to plan a roll out to six million people already on its system. Yet the DWP still couldn’t manage it.

This doesn’t show operational issues. It shows the DWP is utterly negligent towards chronically ill and disabled people, and other claimants. Because clearly the department just couldn’t be bothered to get this right – at a time when millions of people are relying on it to.

Featured image via the Guardian – YouTube and Wikimedia

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