Consultations and Discussions on Termination of Free NHS Prescriptions for Universal Credit Claimants

Department for Work and Pensions did not have the information requested.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I am writing to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department for Work and Pensions regarding a policy change announced in November 2023 that pertains to the termination of access to free NHS prescriptions for Universal Credit claimants in certain situations. Specifically, I would like to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as outlined below.

FoI Request:

I request information on any consultations or discussions held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with relevant stakeholders, experts, or organisations regarding the potential consequences and safety considerations associated with cutting access to free prescriptions for Universal Credit claimants. Please provide any documents related to these consultations. If the DWP does not hold the information, I would appreciate your reasonable advice and assistance under your Section 16 duty, including informing me of who may hold such information.

Background Information:

On 16th November 2023, The Treasury announced "stricter sanctions" for individuals "who should be looking for work but aren't." These sanctions are intended to include "targeting disengaged claimants by closing the claims of individuals on an open-ended sanction for over six months and solely eligible for the Universal Credit standard allowance, ending their access to additional benefits such as free prescriptions and legal aid."

Public Interest:

It is in the public interest to understand the basis and rationale for these policy decisions, particularly given concerns that such actions may have unintended consequences, including claimants discontinuing their medication, ending their Universal Credit claims, falling into vulnerable situations, or facing adverse health outcomes. The public is deeply concerned about the United Nations' previous findings of "evidence of grave and systemic abuses against UK disabled people" in violation of the CRPD protocol. We seek transparency and accountability in light of these concerns.

Please provide the requested information within the statutory timeframe of 20 working days, as stipulated by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK Lies and Corruption

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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 18th
November.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team