Disabled mum who killed herself failed by benefits agency

  • Published
Jodey Whiting
Image caption,
Jodey Whiting had suffered ill health for a number of years

A woman whose disabled daughter killed herself after her benefit payments were stopped has called for officials to be prosecuted over their failings.

Jodey Whiting, 42, of Stockton, Teesside, took her life in 2017 when her payments were halted because she missed a capability assessment.

An independent inquiry has found the Department for Work (DWP) breached its own rules and it has been ordered to apologise and pay £10,000 compensation.

The DWP said it accepted the findings.

Ms Whiting, a mother of nine, suffered multiple physical and mental health issues including curvature of the spine and a brain cyst, and took 23 tablets each day.

She was suffering from pneumonia when she missed her assessment but was then ruled fit to work and had her Employment and Support Allowance halted.

'Pushed' to her death

Her mother, Joy Dove, of Norton, said she was "shocked" by the extent of the failings outlined in a letter from the Independent Case Examiner.

She said: "It was awful. There was no need. They pushed her to it.

"How can you cut someone's money off without seeing them?"

The examiner found the DWP did not follow procedures which should have seen it telephone and visit Ms Whiting after she missed the appointment.

Ms Dove is seeking legal advice over whether any further action is possible.

"No-one should go through this," she said.

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, said the DWP had "systematic problems".

He added: "They had opportunities to help this family and each time they failed."

Image caption,
Joy Dove has described the family's compensation payment as "blood money"

The DWP said it apologised to Ms Whiting's family for "failings in how we handled her case".

A spokeswoman added: "Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time and we are providing compensation.

She said the DWP was reviewing its procedures to "ensure this doesn't happen again".

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