A DISABLED mum killed herself because her benefits were stopped after the DWP lost her paperwork, an inquiry has found.
Philippa Day, 27, was found collapsed at her home in Nottingham next to a benefits letter after her weekly money was cut to £60 by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The mum died in 2019 from a brain injury after two months in a coma.
Philippa, who had been diagnosed with unstable personality disorder, had been receiving disabled living allowance payments as she had type 1 diabetes.
But in January 2019, Philippa's weekly money was cut from £228 a week to just £60 because she had made an application for a personal independence payment.
This cut was because a form she had sent went missing and her payments were not reinstated for months, despite her eligibility.
Yesterday a safeguarding adults review into her death heard how the actions of DWP and its contractor Capita had a “profound impact” on Philippa.
The review highlights that the DWP “significantly increased her episodes of self-harm and the risk of suicide” when it stopped her DLA claim, reports Disability News Service.
Her DLA award was eventually reinstated and backdated, but Capita then asked Philippa to attend a face-to-face appointment in June 2019 to be assessed.
She was found collapsed in bed in August that year – next to the letter warning her she must attend a face-to-face appointment – and she was taken to hospital.
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Two weeks later, Capita determined that she could have the personal independence payment without the face-to-face assessment after all – but by then she was in a coma.
The review underlined Philippa’s “debilitating anxiety at the prospect of leaving her house to be assessed by unfamiliar professionals but untenable consequences if she declined”.
During the review the DWP recognised that it “may not have considered the impact of [Philippa’s] disability on her ability to engage with the assessment process”.
The inquiry went on to explain Philippa had “experienced a DWP system that felt rigid and dismissive of her” and “felt powerless and had no way of proving that she had returned her claim forms and the supporting medical evidence”.
The review, written by Sylvia Manson calls on DWP to work with the national network of safeguarding adults boards to produce a “protocol” that would ensure they alert each other to relevant cases.
It claimed the DWP has made “many improvements” since Philippa’s death.
A DWP spokesperson said: “This was an incredibly tragic and complex case and our condolences remain with this family.”
The Sun has contacted Capita for comment.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
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