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151212DPACStephenSmith

Oh, so the DWP shouldn’t be blamed for causing Stephen Smith’s deaths because it breached procedure, rather than breaching its legal duty, did it?

What filthy rubbish, from a man who should know better.

Perhaps assistant coroner Nigel Parsley should read up on the DWP’s recent history of such ‘errors’ and see if, perhaps, he can discern a pattern there?

Possibly a target-related pattern?

How many of these deaths need to take place before people like Parsley accept that there is a purpose behind them?

Until he does, the only thing he has achieved with his mealy-mouthed apologism is providing Iain Duncan Smith an excuse for his appalling death count.

A 50-year-old man from Leiston with a history of anxiety took his own life after changes to his benefits left him unable to cope, an inquest heard yesterday.

Stephen Smith, of Seaward Avenue, took his own life on January 17 this year, following a long period of mental health problems.

Changes to the benefits system in June last year meant that Mr Smith was invited to submit a Personal Independent Payment (PIP) claim, as his disability allowance was about to expire.

But after the Department of Work and Pensions ruled that he was ineligible, Mr Smith and his partner Lucy Stewart, who was also on benefits relating to a learning disability, saw their weekly total cut by £137.55, and left the 50-year-old in depair over his financial situation.

However, a follow-up call from the DWP explaining its decision did not take place, prompting Mr Smith to send a formal letter to reconsider the assessment in November with the help of the Disability Advice Centre..

A second error at the DWP in December resulted in Mr Smith’s details being updated, before his appeal was mistakenly closed down before it had been labelled for reconsideration. The DWP in its statement said it admitted that errors had been made.

At the inquest in IP-City Centre Ipswich yesterday, Miss Stewart’s father David said the ensuing anxiety and reduced payments were the triggers for Mr Smith’s suicide.

Assistant coroner Nigel Parsley … recorded that Mr Smith had taken his own life.

Mr Parsley added that while the DWP had admitted to errors, they were mistakes in procedure and were not a breach of its legal duty.

Source: Leiston man, 50, died after being unable to cope with changes to benefits – News – East Anglian Daily Times

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