As the largest department of the UK government, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a broad range of responsibilities that strongly affect the day to day lives of everyone living and working in Britain.
However, while most of what they do is purely administrative, the main reason most people interact with the DWP is due to their running of large portions of the benefits system.
With an annual budget that is estimated to run up to around £200 billion, the Department for Work and Pensions is split into four main organisations: Child Maintenance, Jobcentre Plus, Pensions and Disability & Carers service. Each arm has their own unique spending allowances, and are run almost independently of one another.
With the new government keen on taking steps towards tackling the national debt following the 2009 global financial crisis, the welfare system has been one aspect of their operations that has been identified as potentially being able to save the taxpayer money. With this in mind, the Department for Work and Pensions has spent vast amounts of time on restructuring key benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Incapacity Benefit.
Given the tightening of restrictions upon what is being handed out to some of the most financial vulnerable members of society, it can be no surprise that complaints about the Department for Work and Pensions have risen in recent years, with many claimants feeling unfairly victimised by the system. For example, many feel that the move away from Disability Living Allowance to the more rigorous Personal Independence Payment will cause undue stress and perhaps even harm to those who genuinely need assistance as a result of illness.