DWP is facing investigation following the suicide of 42-year-old mum of nine

Jodey Whiting’s mother, Joy Dove, with Jodey’s daughter Emma Bell (Image: Ian McIntyre)

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is facing a legal investigation after a mother of nine took her own life “because the DWP stopped her benefits”. 

Jodey Whiting, who suffered severely disabling medical conditions, ended her own life in February 2017, shortly after the DWP stopped her disability support payments. The payments stopped because was claimed by the DWP that Jodey failed to attend a work capability assessment (WCA).

However, her family claims that she never received the appointment letter and is blaming the Government for her suicide.

The 42-year-old grandmother was diagnosed with a brain cyst and curvature of the spine and could barely walk to her own front door, but an inquest has heard that despite her  disabilities, Jodey Whiting faced a distressing battle with the DWP for lifeline benefits.

Supported by volunteers from the Citizens Advice Bureau, Jodey appealed the DWP decision to end her claim, but was told that due to a backlog in appeals it could take up to sixteen months before her case was reviewed.

Her mother, Joy Dove, who assisted her daughter in claiming the lifeline support she was entitled to, has taken up the battle with the DWP following her daughter’s death. She told Gazette Live“To have to wait another 16 months is devastating, but we can’t do anything about the fact there are so many cases that need investigating.

“I’m glad they’ve taken the case on. We will always fight for justice for my daughter.

“She has kids and grandchildren left without a mum, and I’ve been left without a daughter. I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

The case will now be investigated by an Independent Case Examiner (ICE), who will look at the circumstances surrounding Jodey’s death and whether the DWP’s decision to stop her benefits affected her metal state at the time of Jodey’s suicide.

The ICE will looks at five key parts of the case against the DWP:

  • The Citizen’s Advice Bureau sent a letter to the DWP regarding Jodey’s health issues on February 15, six days before her death, but it failed to act on it until March 23.
  • Despite being made aware of her death on February 23 using the ‘tell us once’ system, the DWP issued a claim to Jodey about her Employment Support Allowance claim on February 25.
  • The DWP failed to take appropriate action to upgrade their computer systems until March 1.
  • The DWP continued to call Jodey’s phone and leave her voicemail messages until May, despite knowing of her death.
  • The department failed to respond to Mrs Dove’s letter of April 13, 2017 until June 14, 2017.

Jodey had been sent a letter that instructed her to attend a work capability assessment on January 16 last year, but missed the mandatory meeting while being in hospital because of a brain cyst. She knew nothing about the appointment.

On February 6, the DWP ruled that Jodey had not ‘provided sufficient evidence’ for missing the appointment and stopped her disability benefits. Jodey raised concerns about the decision on February 10 and made a formal appeal on the 13th. She killed herself on February 21, before a different DWP decision maker had reviewed her case and decided on February 25 – just four days after her death – that she should have continued to receive disability benefits.

A message about the ruling was sent to Jodey’s mobile phone inbox after her death, despite the DWP being informed of her death.

Joy has also started a ‘Justice for Jodey’ petition, with the aim of persuading the DWP to look again at how it handles social security claims. You can sign it here: you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/justice-for-jodey

She said that messages of support there have helped her as she struggles to overcome her grief: “We’ll never stop battling. The messages I get on the petition, and from people who have been in similar situations, are incredible.”

The DWP did not respond for requests for comment.


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25 thoughts on “DWP is facing investigation following the suicide of 42-year-old mum of nine

  1. This despicable, cruel regime has since 2010, conducted the most heinous and relentless operation, designed to steal the money allotted to them by the DWP-ATOS sanctions team as support for their being lawfully in need of support and living in abject and desperate straights.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Perhaps if the government stopped giving handouts to the private companies that are vulture-profiting on the backs of those of us who are ll or disabled, there would be no need for them to cut people’s lifeline support at every single opportunity, regardless of how irrational, unfair or uncivilised this predatory behaviour is. The government is paying the likes of Maximus and Atos more money to treat disabled people in ways that violate their human rights that they are actually saving by employing these companies to reduce the number of people with successful claims.

      It’s not even justified on ‘economic ‘grounds. Unless you happen to be a circling vulture capitalist without principle, of course.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. God only knows how long this almighty battle with the Government will continue. This is a Government Department: the DWP is a monstrous, faceless, bureaucratic arm of ‘Government’. They have this fancy ‘Charter of Standards’ (a series of fiery hoops) outlining procedures for communicating with them that have to be followed to the ‘nth’ degree and timescales for response to enquiries and letters. It is all complete and utter nonsense: a complete fabrication. They simply don’t respond to letters at all: not even ‘recorded delivery’ letters. Written communications are completely ignored. I waited six months for payment of my ‘old age pension’ (that took three letters before I received a grudging telephone response) and didn’t get so much as an apology. That was ‘my money’ owed to me and they simply couldn’t have cared any less!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There have been so deaths caused by this government policy’s they all guilty has they really now by now after all those letters visits email phone calls they now all about it but aktion t4 rolls along without much of a ado. Jeff3

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kitty: We are conducting a study into how the benefit system is affecting people with learning disabilities and autism. If your readers have particular experience of this please let me know. Best Alain Catzeflis Alliance for Camphill Steering Group and Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform. We campaign for people with learning disabilities, the value of community and for social justice
    https://www.facebook.com/allianceforcamphill/
    http://www.allianceforcamphill.com

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hey Kitty, Namaste 🙂

    Too many dark, devious, twisted human beings exist in all levels of Government: individuals who hide within departments bound-up in convoluted legislation freely able to act with impunity whilst the decisions they make lead directly to death, suffering, homelessness and poverty amongst those most vulnerable in life. It has to be stopped: such an outrage does not befit progressive, civilised society in 2018

    DWP have lost all semblance of public respect and revealed without shame, guilt or remorse what a heinous, corrupt, cold, calculating and despicable organisation they are: run by self-serving politicians with fascist mentalities and medieval philosophies whose stinking ideology is killing people.

    New legislation resulting from the shameful acts of UK government are sorely needed to protect those who fall within DWP’s sphere of care. Those committing crimes against humanity – those signing policy for social security delivery – cannot be prosecuted then what good is the law? Sometimes one wonders if there is any part of the entire establishment that is noble at all?

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

    Namaste 🙂

    DN

    Liked by 2 people

  6. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/31/benefits-claimants-fear-supermarkets-spy-poor-disabled
    No wonder people on benefits live in fear. Supermarkets spy on them now
    It’s bad enough that we demonise the poor and disabled – now they can’t even leave their homes or use social media in peace

    What steps have Sainsburys undertaken to make sure that their customers are aware that their data (CCTV images) is being shared with the DWP?

    How far does this cosy arrangement on data sharing go, for instance does Sainsburys provide bulk details of till transactions so the DWP can trawl through it and analyse the expenditure of benefit recipients?

    Are Sainsburys infringing GDPR?

    Regards
    Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just six words sum up the whole situation….

    THEY KNOW WE KNOW THEY LIE

    The only question we ALL should be asking is…

    What are we going to do about it? they are affecting the lives of thousands of vulnerable and often totally isolated human beings. So why are there not thousands of voices in a unified stand against these calculated and callous atrocities.

    So many charities, food banks and free support services have allot to say about the situation. none of it good!

    Many of us fight for too long for what is later proven a right and has forced many into predicaments that leave the strongest of people, completely shattered and traumatised further from the experience.

    Everyone that wins a tribunal or Mandatory reconsideration has the ability to prove their initial assessment decision was wrong. For those less fortunate, but who should equally qualify for their benefits, often give up the fight, left too traumatised to continue pursuing the appeal process. Another cruel fact the DWP rely upon.

    QUOTE “Perhaps if the government stopped giving handouts to the private companies that are vulture-profiting on the backs of those of us who are ill or disabled, there would be no need for them to cut people’s lifeline support at every single opportunity, regardless of how irrational, unfair or uncivilised this predatory behaviour is.

    The government is paying the likes of Maximus and Atos more money to treat disabled people in ways that violate their human rights that they are actually saving by employing these companies to reduce the number of people with successful claims.

    It’s not even justified on ‘economic ‘grounds. Unless you happen to be a circling vulture capitalist without principle, of course.” – Kitty S Jones you sum it up so perfectly.

    DO NOT GIVE UP – EVER!

    Liked by 2 people

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