By Lesley Roberts.
Ruby Urbacz, 59, died on 6th September 2015 after her benefits were stopped by officials from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Her death led to son Peter posting on Facebook about his disgust at her unfair treatment at the hands of the DWP, reports the Daily Mirror.
Ruby Urbacz had very basic numeracy and literacy skills, type 2 diabetics and mobility difficulties. As well as mental health problems including depression, which all compromised her health.
To anyone with even an ounce of compassion and understanding, this would have made her an extremely vulnerable women. But for the DWP, it made her an easy target.
She was found “fit to work” by the DWP following a benefits assessment and placed on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). This led to her been hounded by the DWP for evidence of her job searches, even though as her son clearly states she struggled writing shopping lists.
According to her sons’ Facebook comment, she survived on £30 a week and £20 of that paid for the hated bedroom tax. This led to her purchasing food from a discount retailer, which in-turn led to increased problems with her diabetes.
On the 1st August 2015, Ruby was admitted into Hospital with chest pains, which were later diagnosed as minor heart attacks.
Even though the DWP were aware of her health and social issues they chose to ignore them, and in doing so made the excuse that no one informed them of her hospitalisation.
Due to her inability to attend an appointment, whilst she was in hospital, they stopped her benefits.
A Red Cross carer wrote on her notes, just after the hospital discharged Ruby, that Ruby was worried over money and what would happen if they stopped her benefits. 48 hours later on the 6th September 2015, Ruby died.
The DWP has not carried out an investigation over the circumstances of Rubies’ admittance into hospital, including her inability to inform them about the changes in her circumstances, especially when she was clearly too ill to do so.
Her son, Peter, was possibly unaware that he needed to; in addition, they may not have accepted his explanation because he did not have power of attorney over his mothers’ affairs.
More importantly is why they placed such an obviously vulnerable and ill woman onto JSA, when she was incapable of looking after herself and needed a carer.
There is an easy comparison and ability to establish a link between the death of Ruby Urbacz, as caused by unnecessary hounding by the DWP, and that of Olive Cooke, 92, who died in May this year after been hounded by charities.
The adverse effects of unnecessary stress, as a common factor, with one hounded to death and the other hounded to take her own life, is something the DWP or the media should not take lightly.