UK DWP sued over 'unfair' disability benefits fraud detection algorithm 

Occurred: February 2022

The UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) faced legal action to reveal details of an 'unfair' 'General Matching Service' algorithm it used to identify benefit fraud.

The Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) demanded the DWP reveal how it uses 'AI, algorithmic technology and other forms of automation' when investigating benefit fraud, specifically details of a data matching algorithm that the department is known to use.

The GMCDP alleged that disabled people were being unfairly targeted, are subject to 'essential' cash cuts and are given little or no information about why they are being investigated. 

The legal letter was the second sent by the GMCDP on the subject. The first was issued in December 2021.

Early 2021, Privacy International accused the DWP of using 'excessive surveillance techniques' to investigate possible benefit fraudsters.

Operator: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
Developer: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Country: UK

Sector: Govt - welfare

Purpose: Detect fraud

Technology: Data matching algorithm; Machine learning

Issue: Bias/discrimination - disability
Transparency: Governance; Complaints/appeals; Black box

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: February 2022
Last updated: March 2024