DWP incompetence and institutional callousness caused the death of claimant Philippa Day, evidence given to a coroner’s inquest seems to suggest.
Philippa Day, who had type 1 diabetes and had been diagnosed as having emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), anxiety, depression and agoraphobia, took her own life after she was given no choice but to attend a PIP assessment or lose her benefits.
Philippa, 27, had been receiving DLA since she was 16 but made a claim for PIP in November 2018. However, the DWP lost her PIP application form and then stopped her DLA in January 2019.
The inquest heard from a DWP call handler who spoke to Philippa in June 2019 when she was trying to find out why here benefits were still suspended.
A sobbing Philippa told the DWP worker that she was “literally starving and cold”, “genuinely can’t survive like this for much longer”, was “in so much debt”, “literally cannot leave the house”, and needed “a reason to live”.
However, the call handler failed to raise the issue with a case manager and said that she couldn’t recall why she had hadn’t done so in spite of the claimant’s obvious distress, adding that is was “quite usual” for claimants to cry during calls.
In fact, a case manager had examined Philippa’s case in March 2019 and confirmed the decision to stop her benefits, in spite of a note on her file which said Philippa was “quite unwell with mental health”.
The case manager also admitted that she had not been given information about Philippa’s mental distress which had been passed on by a community psychiatric nurse (CPN) the week before the decision to stop her benefits.
In a further error, the DWP had recorded the evidence as having come from Philippa herself rather than a CPN.
Philippa’s unconscious body was found by her sister and father on 8 August 2019, just days after she had been told she would need to attend an assessment centre for a face-to-face appointment to decide her new personal independence payment (PIP) claim.
This was in spite of the fact that Philippa’s CPN had told Capita of the enormous distress the thought of attending an assessment centre was causing her.
On the pillow next to her was the appointment letter from Capita.
The inquest continues.