Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Note to MP on DWP algorithm targeting disabled people for fraud investigation

At the behest of Foxglove, I have written to my MP, Layla Moran, about a discriminatory DWP algorithm being used to falsely accuse disabled people of benefit fraud.

"Dear Layla,

I’m very concerned about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use of an algorithm that targets disabled people for benefit fraud investigations.
Disabled people describe being flagged by the algorithm for no obvious reason and cast under suspicion of benefit fraud. They are then subjected to a lengthy, aggressive, and invasive investigation process.

I understand that UK law requires the DWP to test for and ensure safeguards are in place to address bias and discrimination in all its automated technologies. Despite that, the DWP has chosen not to test this algorithm(s) for potential impact on individuals with disabilities.
This is very concerning and there have been too many reports of innocent disabled people subjected to unfair, humiliating, distressing and invasive investigations because of this algorithm. This is particularly concerning after the Post Office Horizon scandal.

Please can you seek answers from the DWP? I would like you, as my MP, to write to the minister in charge and ask them:
· to explain in full how the system works
· what the DWP are doing to ensure it's not discriminatory.
I think if they can’t prove it’s not harming innocent people, then they should stop using it.  

Yours sincerely

Ray Corrigan"


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