The Daily Mirror is reporting that the DWP published more than 6,000 PIP claimants national insurance numbers (NINOs) online for more than two years before they were spotted and removed this week.
The numbers were included in a list of payments to Capita published online by the DWP in 2018.
Individual payments for assessments were listed along with the NINO number of 6,000 claimants.
The spreadsheet was removed by the DWP on Monday night, after they were alerted to the breach.
A second spreadsheet was due to be removed last night after the Mirror alerted the DWP to it.
It is unlikely that any claimant could be identified solely by their NINO, nor is it likely that this information alone would allow identity fraud to be committed.
But the failure to keep claimants data safe by an organisation that collects such huge amounts of information is clearly troubling
A DWP spokesman told the Mirror:
“Information issued in error as part of our regular transparency releases has been removed and will be replaced with revised data as soon as possible.
"While no one can be identified from the additional information published, we apologise for the mistake.
“We take our responsibility to protect data very seriously and have reported the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office.”
The DWP did not say whether they would contact affected claimants to inform them of the breach or offer an apology or compensation.
You can read the full story in the Mirror.