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The DWP have refused to take any further action on claimants’ deaths in response to the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition receiving over 10,000 signatures. Their response has been condemned by Jodey’s mother.

Last month we asked readers to sign the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition calling for an independent inquiry into the benefits-related deaths of claimants.

Thousands of you did so, with the result that the petition passed the 10,000 signatures mark which requires the government to respond.

However, the response by the DWP has been condemned by Jodey’s mother and will be seen by many claimants as deeply insincere.

In their response, the DWP say:

“The case of Ms Whiting is undeniably tragic and complex. Her case has been looked at in detail by the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) who regrettably found several failings in the way her case was handled. We aim to maintain a very high level of customer service and one mistake is obviously one too many. Unfortunately, in this instance the expected standard of customer service was not achieved. The Department has apologised unreservedly for these failings and awarded the family compensation.”

The DWP went on to make it clear that they have no intention of changing anything as a result of the deaths of Jodey and many other claimants:

“We currently have no plans to hold an independent inquiry into deaths relating to actions taken by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The ICE did not find any evidence of misconduct by Civil Servants or Ministers.”

The DWP reply then lists the many steps that their procedures say must be taken to protect vulnerable claimants, ignoring the fact that in Jodey’s case these steps were not followed.

Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove called the response “a joke” and vowed to keep on working towards an independent inquiry and criminal prosecutions of the staff responsible..

Joy told the Disability News Service that her response to the DWP was:

“You have put everything in your response to the petition that you did not do to safeguard Jodey.

“You killed my daughter by not safeguarding her.

“They should have practised what they are trying to preach now. They are responsible for Jodey’s death.”

The Justice for Jodey Whiting petition now has over 35,000 signatures, but needs to reach 100,000 before the government is obliged to consider debating the issue.

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