Annette Francis Overdosed In ‘Cry For Help’ Because Of PIP Backlog

Last Updated: August 8, 2014By Tags: , , , , ,

The Same Difference blog, sharing this story, asks:

“Is Annette Francis the first known person to die as a result of the PIP backlog?

“Readers, we must share her story as widely as we can. No one else can die for this reason.”

Here’s the story:

A woman overdosed in a ‘cry for help’ after a Government backlog saw her deprived of benefits for six months, an inquest heard.

Annette Francis, 30, struggled to survive on the bread line and was potentially owed hundreds of pounds in welfare payments when she died.

She filed for disability living allowance (DLA) last September only to be told by the Department for Work and Pensions that benefit had been overhauled and was now called PIP – Personal Independence Payment.

Promises were made to pay Annette, but the money never arrived.

Eleanor, who suffered from depression and had a personality disorder, took the overdose while publishing on Facebook about how miserable she was, in a ‘cry for help’, a coroner ruled.

Her aunt, Ann Sorotos, 61, said: “Annette was really struggling. She was asking the job centre what the hold up was, but they kept talking of a backlog.

“I hate this Government and what they are doing to this country. I hate they’ve done to my niece. They are partly to blame.

“We don’t want this to happen to other people. Let’s hope Annette is the last person to die in this situation.

“People with mental health issues should be made a priority by the Department for Work and Pensions. They can’t cope with daily life let alone pages after page of forms.

“Annette was begging for help. There needs to be better communication from this Government to help people in need. Not just one letter and then telling us there’s a backlog.

“That’s not good enough.”

The inquest heard police were contacted by a friend of Annette’s on May 22 after she sent him text messages which caused him concern.

Coroner Andre Rebello said: “Clearly Annette was making no secret as to what she was doing.

“I think it is more likely than not that she has taken this medication because of problems she lived with and her taking the medication was some way of perhaps exaggerating her pain and internal suffering to try and communicate that to others with regard to being some, clearly inappropriate, but some cry for help.”

But the DWP said it was the applicant’s responsibility to make a claim and money could not be backdated.

Annette, who was receiving Employment Support Allowance payments, was found in her bedsit in Garston, Liverpool, in May.

Her MP, Maria Eagle said: “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: “We are committed to getting PIP claims processed as quickly as possible.”

It simply isn’t good enough, is it? Ministers know these people rely on benefits for their very lives, but don’t care that claims are being processed too slowly – all to keep expenditure down.

It would be different if they were personally liable for every tragedy.

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  1. Nick August 8, 2014 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Annette was not the first person i believe to die of a PIP error it’s most proberly the first picked up by the press

    what with so many hundreds of deaths over the past years from PIP/ESA/BEDROOM TAX it would be very doubtful to put each death in the correct order on a legal footing

    if she was the first you can be 100% certain many more will follow over the coming years

  2. amnesiaclinic August 8, 2014 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Absolutely sickening. Yes, we are holding them accountable and there must be a change very fast.

  3. marcusdemowbray August 8, 2014 at 10:47 am - Reply

    My girlfriend has been waiting over a year for her PIP claim and home assessment to be processed. She cannot afford to eat properly or get to Doctor or Hospital.

  4. robinmcburnie August 8, 2014 at 11:32 am - Reply

    The whole current political culture of wanting to have the power to instigate things, have the actual tasks carried out at arms length – and then their total refusal to take any of the responsibility that goes with that power is a major problem.

    It would be the right time for Coroners to have an update from Mental Health Professionals, charities, Support Workers and particularly people who suffer from a variety of Mental Health problems as to just HOW MUCH these matters affect them.

    This would allow the Coroners to record the direct effect of the actions of the DWP in terms of cause of Death far more accurately and with the appropriate weight attached. This in turn (as the coroner’s records are not yet censored) would lead to a source of accurate information on the death rate – and provide evidence for use in any criminal and/or civil proceedings that may result.

    A lot of people find the illogical nature of the system to be a total brick wall and the frustration at not being able to communicate (which is already often a problem just in every day situations) with “the System” can be the thing that drives them to the point of desperation that leads to tragedies such as this.

    Often this happens to someone who suffers from a more Mania-related condition but most such people tend to just wind up in police custody.

    Note the police seem to be one of the most understanding of the public services in general as they are having to deal with the fall-out day in day out and, with a few notable exceptions actually treat people with various mental conditions far better than those who are supposed to be doing that.

    Soon however they will do it to someone who just goes off and quietly starts killing those they see as responsible. Then – of course it will be the fault of the person with the Mental Health problem – we will see the outrage and the questions asked all over the media, but they will be the wrong questions – and it will be too late.

  5. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) August 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Two days ago, I requested sight of the Coroner’s report in the Annette Francis case, and asked the Coroner, Andre Rebello, whether he considered her wait of six months for disability benefits a contributing factor in her death. I’m awaiting his response.

  6. tommaz jay August 8, 2014 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Here we are again walking headlong into another social disaster that is PIP, before the graves of those who fell to the last experiment, ESA have had a chance to grow cold and the unemployed suffer every indignity short of as yet, waterboarding.
    I don’t wish to negate the terrible loss of life that this unelected, unmandated and despot government is responsible for so far. Beside theses fallen heroes are an equal if not a sadder statistic that is the number who have tried unsuccessful to end their lives. I speak from experience.
    I cannot understand why our so called rulers hate the very people they purport to represent us or what the ill and disabled have done or not, to deserve yet another chance of “Doing the Right Thing”. The pretender living in number ten’s words not mine.
    I make no apology for reposting yet again my comments of my own experiences of ESA and Atos exterminators, who to a man have been aided and abetted by our fellow citizens at The DWP. I also make no apology for dragging a once proud civil service into the debate because the cry of We Are Only Doing Our Job” has recently sounded more and more like “We were only carrying out orders” as our fellow human beings die by the thousand yearly.
    This is my story and yet again I tell it, not because I crave or even want anyones sympathy, but only in the vane hope that some shred of compassion still exists and someone, somewhere will say “This is more than enough, IT STOPS RIGHT HERE NOW”
    After taking twenty seven of the thirty days allowed to fill in my ESA50 and agonised over every word, syllable, full stop, comma and dash that took over my whole existence for the twenty seven days and nights the form was sent off to ATOS the purveyors of death, despondency and utter total misery.
    I won’t go into the details of my disability save to say that it precludes any type of work on the ground that I am a danger to myself because of long recent mental illnesses.
    The day that the death warrant arrived from ATOS I read the letter once, then again and again, again, again not comprehending why they were accusing me of lying, skiving, scumbag not worth of help from a benefit that I had played into for over forty years.
    With my brain boiling inside I took the only course of action open to my torched mind and took every medication that I had.
    Three days and two cardiac arrests latter I woke to a feeling of utter shame and despondence not for the hurt I had inflicted on my family, but for the fact that I had failed in my attempt to end the torment that the whole process was and still is inflicted upon me. I am after a paper reconsideration in the support group with little or up to now no contact with the DWP.
    You would think that I should be grateful for my miserly £105 a week that I traded for £85,000 a year. I still wake every morning angry that I have not died in my sleep. I wish that I could die every waking moments and why. The truth is that the whole system let me down badly and having let me down now has no idea of how to right the wrongs of the deliberate psychiatric injury caused by the three co-conspirators. MY OWN GOVERNMENT, DWP and ATOS.
    I feel attract at every turn of a right wing newspaper or television newscast. Sensible friends and relatives make assumptions about my ability to work the most recent from my own son that as I can type then I should be capable of working in a call center or helping older people at B & Q.
    The one thing the governmental propaganda machine has done and is still doing well is the brain washing of the public at large. Demonizing would be a more apt word for it as we see young people, the ill and disabled and now the old having their futures sacrificed on the governments alter of pure dogmatic ideological greed.
    Forgive me if you think I am wrong or for the rambling’s of a sick burned out old man with nothing more to bring to the table, but we as a nation are repeating the same mistakes again and again. Why do we do it? F##k knows, but we do.
    And to all of the rightwing trolls who infest sites such as this one at times, and Mike we all have dealings with the inbreed sniveling gutter rats that live in the palaces of Westminster by the lake, bring it on, but remember your day will come, but don’t grapple for the safety net of welfare, because it’s got only one hole in it and that’s the size of the United Kingdom.

    Tommaz Jay
    Frightened, very frightened for all of our futures

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