Benefits assessor pays off family of dead claimant – is this the new trend?

Death by DWP: Philippa Day.

Is this the new fashion for the Department for Work and Pensions and its privately-hired assessors: pay off the families of people who have died and sweep their cases under the carpet?

Philippa Day is the second deceased benefit claimant this week whose case is being ended with a payment by one of the organisations involved in pushing her to her death.

This time, benefit assessor Capita is paying up in an out-of-court settlement after Ms Day’s family started a lawsuit. In the other case, the DWP itself paid more than £16,000 to family members of another claimant after being ordered to do so by an Independent Case Examiner (ICE).

Coroner Gordon Clows delivered a damning indictment of Capita and the DWP at the inquest into Ms Day’s death in January this year.

He said her mental illness had been “exacerbated” by the way her benefits were processed: “Were it not for this problem, it is not likely that she would have [taken the act which ended her life].”

And he said a lot more. See This Site’s previous article – here – for all the damning details.

Now Capita is paying an undisclosed amount – out of court – meaning there will be no UK court verdict against the organisation or the Department for Work and Pensions to show that they drove a vulnerable woman to her death.

Do you think that is fair? I don’t.

Nor, it seems does solicitor Merry Varney, who acted for the Day family on behalf of law firm Leigh Day.

She said: “Capita has shown acceptance of their failures and a willingness to ensure their mistakes are not repeated, however there remain too many examples of the DWP, which controls the financial circumstances of the majority of people too sick to work, acting inhumanely to those receiving benefits and a continued resistance by the DWP to transparent investigations into benefit related deaths.

“Until the DWP changes its attitude, people like Philippa and her family remain at risk of gross human rights violations and ‘benefit related deaths’ are just another example of preventable deaths of people with disabilities occurring without any proper investigation or scrutiny.”

Somebody needs to take a court case through to the end. Otherwise the DWP and its assessment firms will keep dodging responsibility for the thousands of deaths they are causing.

Source: Capita pays compensation to family of woman who died after benefits cut | Welfare | The Guardian

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3 thoughts on “Benefits assessor pays off family of dead claimant – is this the new trend?

  1. Stu

    I’ve been saying this for years that the Government outsource the work in order to outsource the responsibility.
    Private companies are not subject to the FOI act so create a “blanket” for the sometimes homocidal behaviour of Government departments.

    Not that Capita are in any way innocent, but just the start of the problems.

  2. DEZ

    The fact the contractor and DWP have both compensated the victims for the failings of the services given does seem to indicate a new approach to settlements in particular economic settlements rather than prolonged and expensive litigation that would far out spend the settlement amounts mentioned. Contractors would probably also have either legal fees or professional indemnity for their service supplier or insist self employed professional have their own professional indemnity cover whilst working on cases for DWP.

  3. holmey2

    No matter how much Capita have had to pay out to Philippa Day’s family, it won’t dent their profits, it’s only a cost to them doing business that they will have built into their financial planning 🙂

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