Ministerial apology after inquest found 82 year old Flintshire woman whose pension was wrongly stopped took her own life
Department for Work and Pensions Minister Guy Opperman has issued an unreserved apology for the ‘clerical error’ which led to an 82-year-old Flintshire woman having her pension stopped.
Pensioner Joy Worrall was left with just £5 to her name after her pension payments were stopped by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
An inquest in Ruthin last week heard Mrs Worrall had received an inheritance in 2014 and notified the DWP about it, in 2017 her pension was “re-assessed”.
Instead of only stopping her pension credits, the DWP also froze her ordinary state pension due to a “clerical” error.
Mrs Worrall relied on £5000 savings until they had been exhausted and she was down to her last £5.
The pensioner was last seen leaving her home address in Rhes Y Cae just after 4pm on November 21st last year.
Her body was found the following day, she had fallen 40ft down a quarry near her home.
In the Commons on Monday, Delyn MP David Hanson said:
“The inquest for my constituent Joy Worrall took place last Thursday. Joy was 82 years old.
It was confirmed that she had committed suicide after the DWP wrongly stopped her benefits and her winter fuel allowance for a period of 15 months before her death.
At the time of her death, Joy had £5 in her account.
Will the Minister and his right honourable Friend the Secretary of State (Amber Rudd) undertake, for the family, who have asked me to do this for them, an urgent inquiry into why Joy was not paid her pension or her winter fuel allowance for that period?
Will he ensure that nobody will ever again commit suicide due to poverty?”
In response Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said:
“Our thoughts are with Mrs Worrall’s family and friends.
The Government apologise unreservedly for the clerical error—it was a clerical error—that led to Mrs Worrall’s pensions payment being stopped.
We have urgently reviewed our processes and acted so that benefits are no longer linked on our systems, to try to ensure that this does not happen again.
There is an internal process review; I undertake to write to the right hon. Gentleman in the short term with what we know and with more detail when the urgent process review has taken place.
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