Son of mum found dying with benefits letter ‘wakes up crying as she’s not there’

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The sister of a young mum who died after her benefits were cut has spoken out about the family’s heartache.

Philippa Day, 27, was found collapsed at her home in Nottingham along with a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions in August 2019.

She was agoraphobic, but her request for an at-home benefits assessment had been rejected.

Her income was also reduced from £228 a week to £60 after she applied for a personal independence payment [PIP].

Philippa, a mum of one who had also been diagnosed with unstable personality disorder and had diabetes, took a fatal overdose and died in October 2019 after two months in a coma.

Sister Imogen, 24, told the Daily Mirror: “Pip wasn’t the first to die and won’t be the last.

"The ­process is distressing, it has led to multiple similar instances and they are still denying they have a duty of care and a safeguarding duty.

“The assessment process is not fit for purpose, it is not fit for disabled people.

"The forms are 90 pages long, asking people to go into intense ­detail. And there was no way Pip was going to be able to go to a face-to-face assessment.”

Philippa was on enhanced disability ­benefits but payments were halved in a clerical wrangle.

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At her inquest last month, Coroner Gordon Clow found 28 “systemic errors” and issued a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to the DWP and Capita.

They must address the lack of specific training for call handlers, a poor record of the calls and failure to ensure correspondence is accurate and does not cause unnecessary distress.

Imogen, a social work advocate from Leeds, welcomed the report but remains heartbroken at the impact Philippa’s death has had on her son.

She said: “They have not just hurt us, they have ruined a child’s life.

“He’s five and wakes up at night crying because his mum’s not there.

"They had a wonderful relationship, always laughing and giggling. She’d chase him around the house tickling him and he loved it.”

Imogen and her family, who are represented by Leigh Day partner Merry Varney, are considering legal action against the DWP and Capita.

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Imogen says Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey and her officials need to act.

The DWP said: “This is a deeply tragic case.

“Our sincere condolences are with Miss Day’s family. We will respond to the Coroner’s ­report in due course.”

Capita said: “We are ­thoroughly reviewing the coroner’s recommendations.”

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