Monday, January 20, 2020

Elderly woman ‘jumped to her death’ after being wrongly refused pension payments

DWP admitted to an "administrative error" and apologised "unreservedly".

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An elderly woman committed suicide after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) wrongfully stopped her pension payments, according to media reports published earlier this year (2019).

Joy Worrall, 81, plunged to her death when she jumped into a quarry near to her home in Rhes-y-Cae, Flintshire, in 2018.

Mrs Worral was forced to rely on £5,000 in personal savings and died with just £5 in her bank account when she took her own life.

Mrs Worral had received an inheritance, the amount of which has not been reported, when she was re-assessed for pension credit by the DWP, who then mistakenly froze her state pension instead of her pension credits.

She was ultimately left with with just £5 to live on but was reportedly “too proud” to inform family members about her money troubles.

Her body was discovered at the bottom of a 40-foot face of the Rhes-y-Cae quarry, Wales, in November 2018.

A statement read out at an inquest into her death said that answers surrounding the reason for her death had been left unanswered.

It was only when her son spoke out about his mother’s death that the true reasons for her suicide began to surface.

A DWP representative admitted to an “administrative error” and said Mrs Worrall’s two pension payments should have been “de-combined”.

“I am sorry that due to an administrative error this did not happen”, said DWP spokesperson Ms Mitchelson.

Her son Mr Worrall said the DWP had been “guilty of a failure of duty of care”, adding: “It’s a disgrace how this can happen in modern society and what concerns me is that this could happen to someone else.”

Labour MP David Hanson, who supported the family in bringing the awful suicide to the attention of the DWP, called for urgent reforms to the system so that the tragic death could not be repeated.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mrs Worrall.

“We apologise unreservedly to Mrs Worrall’s family for the error that led to her pension payments being stopped and pledge to learn the lessons.”

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