The family of Jodey Whiting, a vulnerable claimant who died after her employment and support allowance (ESA) was improperly stopped, have launched a legal bid to have a new inquest examine the role of the DWP in her death.
Jodey had severe mental and physical health conditions which required her to take 23 tablets a day and meant she was unable to leave her home.
Jodey was required to have a work capability assessment as part of a review of her ESA. She asked to have a home visit but this was refused in spite of her severe health conditions and the disclosure that she had suicidal thoughts.
Jodey’s ESA was subsequently stopped and she also received letters telling her that her housing benefit and council tax benefit would stop.
Jodey took her own life three days after her last ESA payment.
Her mother, Joy Dove, has campaigned tirelessly to have the DWP’s role in her daughter’s death examined in the hope of avoiding other claimants suffering a similar fate.
Many thousands of Benefits and Work readers signed the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition calling for calling for an independent inquiry into the benefits-related deaths of claimants.
However, even though the petition received over 55,000 signatures and the DWP admitted they had made mistakes, they refused to hold an inquiry.
At Jodey’s inquest the coroner also refused to consider the role of the DWP in Jodey’s death.
However, Joy Dove has now gained the support of solicitors Leigh Day in a bid to hold a new inquest into her daughter’s death.
The family are arguing that new information exists which wasn’t available to the original coroner.
This includes a report by the Independent Case Examiner, who found a large number of failures to follow proper procedures and safeguarding rules by the DWP.
The family have also obtained a report by an consultant psychiatrist saying that the DWP’s actions would probably have had a substantial effect on Jodey’s mental state at the time she took her own life.
Leigh Day are now applying to the Attorney General for a new inquest to be opened into Jodey’s death.
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