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Disabled mum died alone and penniless after her benefits were stopped

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Disabled mum died alone and penniless after her benefits were stopped

Post by Guest on 09.06.14 12:16


Jun 08, 2014 18:28
By Joshua Taylor

The heartbroken family of Annette Francis say she had struggled without any money for six months before she died

A mum-of-one suffering from mental health illness died alone and penniless after she stopped receiving disability benefits, her family claim.

Annette Francis, 30, was found dead at her home in Garston, Liverpool, after six months of no benefits payments – despite being eligible.

Annette suffered from a mental health condition similar to bipolar and was unable to hold down a regular job and her distraught family said she was tragically let down by authorities.

Ann Sorotos, Annette’s aunt, said: “Annette was penniless because she had no money coming in from the benefits people.

“I’m disgusted with them and think Annette was really badly let down.”

Annette suffered from a mental illness similar to bipolar disorder and was unable to hold down a job.

Ann, from Childwall, who has taken care of Kieron since her niece’s death, told the Liverpool Echo : “She had very bad mental health problems and struggled to cope day to day.”

Last autumn Annette stopped receiving disability living allowance (DLA), which she had been paid for around 10 years, after the benefit was scrapped by the Government.

She then applied for personal independence payment (PIP), the replacement for DLA, in October – but the cash never arrived before her death six months later.

Ann said: “She never got any of her PIP money. Up to the day she died she never got it.

“What was she meant to live off in the meantime?

“I had to keep telling her to get down to the job centre to keep the pressure on.

“It caused her a lot of stress. She couldn’t afford to get the bus down to come and see her son who was staying with me before she died.”

Liverpool Echo Annette's son Kieron Francis pictured with his Aunt Ann Sorotos.
Pain: Kieron with Aunt Ann

It is not known how Annette died. Her family are still waiting for the results of toxicology tests. A full inquest into the death will then be carried out by a coroner.

Her body was found after a friend went round to her flat on the morning of May 22. She had died some time during the previous night.

Ann said: “The system has really let Annette down, but my biggest concern now is looking after Kieron. He needs to come first.

“Annette was crying out for help because she needed her benefits.

“She even texted her social worker saying ‘I need help’. She needed a lot more support.

“I tried to help her as well as I could but she was let down every step of the way.

“I am heartbroken. We just can’t get our heads round it. Annette was a really bubbly, lovely person but she varied day to day because of her mental illness.

“I want the benefits authorities to get their act together and stop other people with mental health issues from going through the same problems.

“I want the system changed so it doesn’t fail anyone else.”

Ann is now calling on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which processes benefits claims, to hand over Annette’s unpaid PIP money so it can be placed in a trust fund and given to Kieron when he turns 18.

Annette’s local MP, Garston and Halewood’s Maria Eagle, slammed the DWP in the wake of the tragedy.

She said: “I am shocked but unfortunately not surprised to hear of PIP applications taking this length of time to determine.

“To the extent that this causes severe difficulties for vulnerable people, it is utterly deplorable.

“The DWP should get their act together on PIP as soon as possible because frequently people like Annette are in no position to look after their own interests as well as those in good health may be able to.”

A DWP spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on this case at this time. We are committed to getting PIP claims processed as quickly as possible.” PIP can be worth up to £550 a month.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/disabled-mum-died-alone-penniless-3662850#ixzz348isWWvz
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Re: Disabled mum died alone and penniless after her benefits were stopped

Post by Guest on 09.06.14 13:07

If this has been reported correctly it's a tragic tale.

I'm finding it a little hard to believe though that this poor woman - who had a social worker as well as relatives who cared about her - was left alone to sort out the benefits problem.

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Re: Disabled mum died alone and penniless after her benefits were stopped

Post by Miraflores on 09.06.14 14:18

I wouldn't agree with you No Fate Worse than De'Ath - this story rings all to true for me. My husband is trying to support a friend with mental health issues. Getting support from the authorities for him is turning into a full time job for my husband - you would think he had asked them to fly him to the moon or something equally impossible. Social Workers especially, seem to have done very little to help, and seem quite happy to forget about the friend and his problems.

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Re: Disabled mum died alone and penniless after her benefits were stopped

Post by plebgate on 09.06.14 17:11

Snipped from OP

"
A DWP spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on this case at this time. We are committed to getting PIP claims processed as quickly as possible.” PIP can be worth up to £550 a month."


What a totally useless response.   No wonder the system is failing if this is the calibre of staff employed.

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Re: Disabled mum died alone and penniless after her benefits were stopped

Post by Guest on 09.06.14 17:18

I don't see what else could have been said at the moment.

Miraflores, I have two relatives with mental health issues and thankfully they are receiving the help that they need. I appreciate of course that inevitably there will be delays for some people.

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Re: Disabled mum died alone and penniless after her benefits were stopped

Post by plebgate on 09.06.14 17:21

IMO there was no need to say that PIP could be as much as £550.  So what, even if she was able to claim that amount, she didn't receive it.

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