The Guardian, Sun 8 May 2011:
Staff working for jobcentres and other Department for Work and Pensions contractors have been given guidelines on how to deal with suicide threats from claimants as the squeeze on benefits takes hold.
A whistleblower said that the pressure on staff was leading to vulnerable claimants being targeted for sanctions. The targets have since been removed. But thousands of claimants of incapacity benefit and employment support allowance are being reassessed to see if they should be considered fit for work and moved on to jobseeker's allowance.
Another jobcentre adviser said: "People have been coming off sickness benefits and thrown onto jobseeker's allowance. It's problematic because some customers are clearly not fit to work, and they are clearly very distressed. When you sense this you feel really upset because the system is allowing them to get like this and you feel part of the processing machine."Eleanor Lisney, of Disabled People Against Cuts, said that the thought of being moved on to jobseeker's allowance was like a sword hanging over the heads of disabled groups and she feared an increase in related suicides.