A coroner ruled yesterday that a catalogue of 28 failings by DWP and Capita and the financial stress that resulted were the ‘predominant factor’ in the death of Philippa Day.
As reported elsewhere on Benefits and Work, 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 unstable personality disorder (EUPD), anxiety, depression and agoraphobia.
Nottingham Coroner’s Court heard that some of the errors were made repeatedly and were not just mistakes by individuals.
Mistakes included losing Philippa’s PIP claim form, failing to follow their own procedures when dealing with a vulnerable claimant, failing to record phone calls and wrongly attributing evidence given by a CPN as evidence from the claimant herself.
Philippa’s sister made a statement after the interview about the death of her sister, known to the family as Pip.
“As our family made clear in evidence given at the inquest into the death of my sister, we believe that Pip’s treatment by the DWP had a direct impact on her mental state and in the end is the reason for her death.
“She was in despair because of the depths to which she had sunk, she could see no way out of the debt and the poverty in which she was living. Pip’s poor mental health meant she was not able to handle the battle with the DWP for the reinstatement of her benefits. The stress of the conflict with the DWP made her even more ill."
The coroner is to issue a prevention of future deaths report which will instruct the DWP to provide mental health training for staff, improve both record keeping and the assessment process as well as ensuring that letters from the DWP do not cause further stress.