The DWP is facing at least three court actions relating to the deaths of benefits claimants at the same time as the BBC has revealed that the department has carried out 150 internal reviews into the death or serious harm to claimants.
Philippa Day’s family are suing the DWP and Capita for breaches of her human rights and the harm both Philippa and her family suffered as the result of the way her PIP claim was dealt with.
Philippa took her own life after her DLA was wrongly stopped and she was required to attend a PIP face-to-face assessment, in spite of experiencing mental health issues including emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), anxiety, depression and agoraphobia.
As already reported, the High Court is to hear an application for a fresh inquest into the death of Jodey Whiting.
Jodey, who had multiple physical and mental health conditions, was wrongly told to attend a work capability assessment, which she was unable to do. Jodey took her own life shortly after receiving letters telling her that her benefits would stop.
The family of Errol Graham have submitted an application to the Court of Appeal in an attempt to overturn the High Court decision that the DWP’s safeguarding policy is lawful.
Errol Graham was 57 when he starved to death in June 2018. His ESA and housing benefit were stopped after he failed to attend a work capability assessment. This was done without checking on his mental or physical wellbeing, even though he was known to have serious mental health issues.
Meanwhile, the BBC has revealed that since 2012 the DWP has carried out more than 150 reviews into cases where claimants suffered serious harm or died in circumstances that involved the department.
60 peer reviews were carried out by the DWP between 2012 and 2014.
From 2015 the DWP adopted a new system of ‘internal process reviews’ and 84 of these have taken place with another six soon to be completed.
The BBC has also collated press reports on 82 people who died after DWP activity, such as their benefits being stopped. 35 of these claimants had mental health issues.
There is more coverage in the Guardian
There is also more information on the Leigh Day website.