Wonders never cease: Mail publishes story on woman ‘asked about suicide in benefits assessment’

Alice Kirby.

Well done to the Daily Mail for writing about the WCA “why haven’t you killed yourself” question – more than two years after the story was broken on This Site.

I’m aware that the story has come back to prominence again recently, due to Alice Kirby’s experience and coverage of it on sites like Disability News Servicelast month.

Even that was a while ago, by now.

Still… Better late than never?

A woman with mental health problems claims she was asked why she had not killed herself when she was assessed for benefits.

Alice Kirby, who also has physical disabilities, said she was outrage when assessors asked the ‘completely unnecessary question’ while reviewing her personal independence payments (PIP).

Speaking about her experience, she accused the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of ‘institutional abuse’ and failing to approach the subject ‘sensitively’.

Source: Woman ‘was asked about suicide in benefits assessment’ | Daily Mail Online

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11 thoughts on “Wonders never cease: Mail publishes story on woman ‘asked about suicide in benefits assessment’

  1. KENNETH MASON

    I HAD AN ASSESSMENT FOR MY ESA A FEW MONTHS AGO AND I WAS ASKED IF I HAD CONTEMPLATED SUICIDE,AND WAS ASKED WHY I HAD NOT GONE THROUGH WITH,IT,MY REPLY WAS MY WIFE AND DAUGHTER WHO NEED ME TO LOOK AFTER THEM,THE SAME QUESTION WAS ASKED OF ME 2 YEARS PREVIOUS ON THE PREVIOUS ASSESSMENT,SAME LADY.

  2. Barry Davies

    Surely this “question” could be considered to be a suggestion by the “assessor” that the person should commit suicide, especially if the person involved had not considered suicide as a way out prior to the assessment, but then saw it as an avenue to solve their problems.

    1. Justin

      I think the point that also has to be raised here is are they suitably qualified to ask this question, even at cmht mental health level it is a carefull question, usually a panel led question in first case not some physiotherapist who has done five weeks extra training to ask questions about making a cup of tea or loading a washing machine, granted there are some that may have the skillset to do this, i have only seen that in 1 out of 8 cases that i have been involved with

  3. katythenightowl

    I had a DLA-PIP assessment on 21st March (I have been on the highest of both awards, indefinitely), and the same questions were asked of me – but at least my assessor, an actual doctor, warned me that her next questions might be upsetting for me, and apologised for asking me them, before she actually did so.
    I was just glad that I’d seen other people had been asked these questions beforehand, so I knew they might be asked of me, otherwise it would have made a huge difference to my reaction to them, despite the doctor’s tact!
    The doctor took a long time with me, and seemed friendly, and concerned, throughout, so I’m hoping that she was one of those rare breed of decent assessors that do exist, ‘though I’m still waiting to hear my assessment results, so don’t know whether I’ll be having to fight them, or not, yet 🙁

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