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Carol Jones was more than £2,000 in debt when she died of cancer, because the Department for Work and Pensions had stopped all of her benefits.

Ms Jones, 65, who had been fighting liver cancer for two years, had been admitted to the Royal Stoke University Hospital in May and then a Leek care home before losing her fight for life last week.

She had not received any of the DWP’s correspondence and had therefore been unable to respond to it.

Fortunately her twin brother David Agar discovered the debt – and the cause of it – and was able to rectify matters.

But this could have happened to an uncountable number of seriously-ill benefit claimants. Perhaps it already has.

The DWP’s comment to the Stoke Sentinel is despicable – and puts the problem in perspective: “We do not stop benefits because people are in hospital.”

That wasn’t the problem. The problem was the fact that Ms Jones, who lived alone, had not been asked to provide details of anybody else who could have handled her affairs.

Several members of This Writer’s own family have undergone treatment for cancer and I know that – successful or not – it can totally incapacitate a person.

If that happens, they need someone else to take over matters that concern them – for the period they are unable to cope themselves.

The DWP needs to accept this, and to ensure that details of such a person are discussed in claims for sickness and/or disability benefits.

That would prevent debts from stacking up that a deceased person would likely leave to their relatives, and which may drive a survivor to the grave after all.

It seems only common sense. Why hasn’t the DWP implemented it already?

Source: ‘How can someone that ill have their benefits stopped?’ – Terminally-ill Carol racks up £2k debt just weeks before she dies after DWP withdraws support – Stoke-on-Trent Live

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