Mother-of-nine, 42, who killed herself was ‘let down by benefits agency’

Mother-of-nine Jodey Whiting was 42 years old when she committed suicide in 2017

Mother-of-nine Jodey Whiting was 42 years old when she committed suicide in 2017

Mother-of-nine Jodey Whiting was 42 years old when she committed suicide in 2017

The mother of a disabled woman who killed herself after her disability payouts were cut has called for officials to be prosecuted over their failings.

Mother-of-nine Jodey Whiting was 42 years old when she committed suicide in 2017.

An inquest into Ms Whiting’s death found that her benefits were stopped after she missed a health review despite never seeing a confirmation letter.

The independent inquiry revealed that the Department for Work (DWP) broke its own rules and has been ordered to pay £10,000 compensation to Whiting’s family.

The DWP has accepted the findings. 

Jodey’s mother, Joy, who blamed the DWP for her daughter’s death, said she was ‘shocked’ by the DWP’s failings.

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?’

Jodey's mother, Joy (pictured with Ms Whiting's daughter Emma Bell) said she was 'shocked' by the DWP's failings

Jodey's mother, Joy (pictured with Ms Whiting's daughter Emma Bell) said she was 'shocked' by the DWP's failings

Jodey’s mother, Joy (pictured with Ms Whiting’s daughter Emma Bell) said she was ‘shocked’ by the DWP’s failings

Ms Whiting was plagued with health issues, including a brain cyst and curved spine which meant that she struggled make it through the front door of her home in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham.  

At the time Ms Whiting missed her appointment, the 42-year-old mother was also suffering from pneumonia.

She was then declared fit to work, which led to her Employment and Support Allowance being halted.  

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Ms Whiting's family blamed pressure from the Department for Work and Pensions for her death

Ms Whiting's family blamed pressure from the Department for Work and Pensions for her death

Ms Whiting’s family blamed pressure from the Department for Work and Pensions for her death

A letter from the Independent Case Examiner showed that the DWP did not follow procedure by failing to telephone or visit the 42-year-old’s house after Whiting missed her appointment.

Joy said she is considering further legal action. 

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

A letter from the Independent Case Examiner showed that the DWP did not follow procedure by failing to telephone or visit the 42-year-old's house after Whiting missed her appointment

A letter from the Independent Case Examiner showed that the DWP did not follow procedure by failing to telephone or visit the 42-year-old's house after Whiting missed her appointment

A letter from the Independent Case Examiner showed that the DWP did not follow procedure by failing to telephone or visit the 42-year-old’s house after Whiting missed her appointment

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

A DWP spokesperson said to the BBC: ‘Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time and we are providing compensation.

The spokesperson also said that the DWP was reviewing its procedures to ‘ensure this doesn’t happen again’.

The DWP apologised to Ms Whiting's family and a spokesperson said to the BBC that the department was reviewing its procedures to 'ensure this doesn't happen again'

The DWP apologised to Ms Whiting's family and a spokesperson said to the BBC that the department was reviewing its procedures to 'ensure this doesn't happen again'

The DWP apologised to Ms Whiting’s family and a spokesperson said to the BBC that the department was reviewing its procedures to ‘ensure this doesn’t happen again’

 

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