DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Our Ref: 2012-4440
6th August 2013
Dear Steven Sumpter,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 12th November 2012.
Please accept our apologies for the time it has taken to provide this response.
You asked: “In order to clarify and add to information found in the document Incapacity Benefits:
Deaths of recipients dated 9 July 2012 (
) - please provide for each year since the introduction of ESA in October 2008:
1.The number of people who were claiming ESA who were moved to JSA because of a
Work Capability Assessment who then died while claiming JSA.
2. The total number of people who died while claiming JSA.
3. The number of people who died while claiming ESA and placed in the Work Related
In response to your first question the specific information requested is not held by the
Department. Claimants are not moved from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) onto
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) because of a Work Capability Assessment (WCA). If a claimant
is no longer entitled to receive ESA, for whatever reason, they may be eligible to claim JSA.
The claimant would need to make a claim for JSA in order to check their entitlement to receive
In response to your second question Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act allows us to
direct you to information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
The preferred source of JSA figures is the Office for National Statistics (ONS) claimant count
Statistics on the claimant count are published on the NOMIS website
http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/, the ONS official website of labour market statistics, which allows
you to construct your own tables.
For example, to produce a table on the number of JSA claimant off-flows by reason (including
deceased) go to the NOMIS website and follow the instructions below.
1. In the Detailed Statistics
section select Advanced Query
2. From the Choose your dataset… section
select Claimant Count
3. Now choose claimant off-flows – reasons, age and duration
4. From the geography
options select the information you require. The latest
data available is to June 2013
5. From the age duration
option select individual age or duration bands
from the drop
6. Now select total (no age or duration breakdown)
7. From the reason
option select Deceased
8. Selecting the review selections
options you enable you to view all the selections you
9. From the results
section select download data
The table you have constructed will now be available for you to view in Microsoft Excel format. Please note that the percentage of off-flows with a "not known" or "failed to sign"
destination has increased since the start of the series (representing 44% of total UK off-
flows in July 2009). This is because the completion levels of the forms filled in by JSA
leavers have decreased. Many of these unknown leavers will have moved into
Please also note these figures do not provide evidence of a link between an individual
dying and benefit receipt. The Office for National Statistics and General Register Office
for Scotland publish statistics on death registrations which can be used to provide
context to the figures. These publications can be found via the following links.
In response to your third question;
Although we currently have no plans to directly update the ad hoc report on "Incapacity
Benefits: Deaths of recipients" published on 9th July 2012, the Department does monitor
requests we receive for new statistics and consider whether we can produce and release
analysis that will helpfully inform public debate. The Secretary of State has agreed that officials
should look at this issue with a view to seeing what statistics could be produced on a regular
As the statistics you have requested are intended for future publication this information is
exempt from disclosure under the terms of Section 22 (Information intended for future
publication) of the FOIA. This exemption is qualified, and is therefore subject to a public
interest test. The public interest test is where the Department considers whether the balance
of the public interest falls in favour of withholding or disclosing the information requested.
Arguments in favour of disclosure: There are public interest arguments in favour of disclosure
of this information at the present time. Disclosure would for example improve transparency in
the operations of the Department.
Arguments against disclosure: There are public interest arguments against disclosure of this
information at the present time. These arguments include that it is in the public interest to
adhere to the existing publication process for official statistics, which includes time for the data
to be collated and properly verified.
It is also in the public interest to ensure that the publication of official information is a properly
planned and managed process, to ensure that the data are accurate once placed into the
public domain. It is also in the public interest to ensure that the information is available to all
members of the public at the same time, and premature publication could undermine the
principle of making the information available to all at the same time through the official
On this occasion, the balance of the public interest test falls in favour of withholding this
information. As we have explained above, statistics on this issue will be published in due
A proposed publication date will be announced in advance via https://www.gov.uk/ and
http://www.statsusernet.org.uk/Home/ in the "Welfare and Benefits" community.
If you do have any queries about this letter please contact us quoting the reference number
DWP Central FoI Team
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act
If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing freedom-of-information-
firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. Any
review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk