By Tony Collins
Yesterday’s post on goodnewspeak mentioned that officials at the Department for Work and Pensions had been celebrating the rollout of Universal Credit, not obviously mindful of the problems and delays in payments and the fact that some failed claimants had been on the brink of suicide.
Now Metro has reported that a 38 year-old mother of four who had mental health problems and an eating disorder died cold and alone after her benefits were cut because she was too ill to attend an Employment Support Allowance meeting.
Elaine Morrall was found dead in her home wearing a coat and scarf, her family said. She’d had her benefits stopped because she failed to attend a meeting while in a hospital intensive care unit, they said.
Her family say wouldn’t put her heating on, because of the cost, until her children arrived home from school. The dead woman’s mother Linda Morrall blamed the Department of Work and Pensions for her death.
In an open letter on Facebook, Linda Morrall wrote: [My daughter] died on the afternoon of 2 November 2017 at home on her own … in the cold with her coat & scarf on…”
He daughter, she said, was in and out of intensive care but was “deemed not ill enough for ESA”. She had her benefits stopped numerous times, which in turn stopped her housing benefit. Being in intensive care was deemed insufficient reason for failing to attend a Universal Credit interview, said Linda Morrall.
“I went to the job centre to inform them that she couldn’t attend. But benefits stopped again.” Her daughter was due to go to court on Monday. “Is being dead now enough reason [not to attend court],” said Linda Morrall. “How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people?”
A spokesperson for the DWP told Metro, ‘Our thoughts are with Ms Morrall’s family at this difficult time. We understand that people can’t always attend appointments, which is why we will re-arrange alternative times.
“Assessment decisions are made with consideration of all the information provided, including supporting evidence from a GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.”
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I have just listened to an item on Radio 5.
A lady with Parkinson’s disease had to attend an assessment – as I believe everyone has to on a regular basis who needs to claim appropriate benefits. She is always asked, ‘is your condition improving?’ As everyone seems to know, apart from the assessors, Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease so this is a particularly cruel question.
The result of her latest assessment removed her mobility allowance even though mobility issues were amongst the worst of her difficulties.
The ten minute tribunal, after having to correct inaccurate information that the assessor was responsible for recording (are they paid according to how many claimants they reject?) reinstated her to full benefits. The tribunal also stated that they had regular Parkinson’s disease claimants passing through their process having suffered the same problems.
The final insult was when the lady phoned the benefits the day after the tribunal to relate its decision. The response was, not an apology, but the information that they could still refuse to pay her, if they wanted to, and thus force her back to another tribunal.
Yet still, idiot politicians and their ruthless little Hitler servants, chortle their empty words to idiot taxpayers who employ them but don’t hold them accountable.
Thank you for wading through this muck for us, Tony. Very upsetting.
Thank you Zara for explaining so clearly how cruel the system can be for those who need it the most. It may seem that a few public and civil servants have a heartless streak in them but, according to some of the whistleblowers, they are specifically instructed to take a detached and rule-based approach to dealing with claims. It’s the culture of dispassionate officialdom that needs reforming. What’s wrong with compassion, even in Whitehall?
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Thank you so much for replying, Tony.
‘What’s wrong with compassion, even in Whitehall?’
I would guess that, once they allow some human feelings into their professional life, much of their brittle, dogmatic approach would be breached and might collapse. And they have an innate fear that they have little in the way of adaptability to replace it. They fear chaos. Yet, by being so extreme in their behaviour as they are, I can see the very thing they fear, happening.
They imagine they have created a fortress but, I see it as their prison.