Tag Archives: Errol Graham

This grandmother DIED weighing just three stone because the Tories LIED about reviewing benefits for the terminally ill

Christine McCluskey: when she died, after your Tory government cut her benefits, she weighed just three stone.

Christine McCluskey did not have to die in the humiliating way your Conservative government demanded.

The 61-year-old grandmother had suffered long-term health problems most of her adult life including Crohn’s disease – which left her with a colostomy bag – osteoporosis, arthritis, a stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This housebound lady had a feeding tube and a painful fistula that leaked through her abdominal wall, she was severely malnourished and was being investigated for a worrying cough at the time the Department for Work and Pensions assessed her for Personal Independence Payment.

The decision: her payments of £117.85 per week were removed and her mobility car was taken away from her.

Weeks later she was diagnosed with terminal cancer but her payments were not restored. She died four months after her benefits were stopped, weighing just three stone.

She was unable to receive fast-track access to PIP that is available for people with terminal illnesses who have less than six months to live, because she was unable to show when she was likely to die.

But doesn’t her case, along with those of Stephen Smith and Errol Graham, show that – deprived of benefits – people definitely will die within the six months stipulated?

The matter is even worse, though: The Tory government promised to review its six-month rule more than a year ago – and then forgot about it.

In the time since then, it is believed that more than 3,000 people have died in similar ways to Ms McCluskey while the Tories sat on their thumbs.

Earlier this month, motor neurone disease sufferer Lorraine Cox won a court case demanding a judicial review of the rules that demand only people with certain illnesses, who can prove they will die within six months, may claim PIP on the fast-track system.

So the Tories will have to go to court and defend their decision (albeit by omission) to cause these thousands of deaths.

Or will they just quietly announce a rule change between now and the hearing, as they have with the safeguarding rules that failed Errol Graham?

Whatever happens, it seems a rule change will happen. If so, This Writer hopes the families of the deceased – likely to number more than 20,000 over the last six years – demand compensation through the courts.

More than 300 are already doing this over a change in Universal Credit rules, after the system that deprived people of benefit because they were paid on different dates at the end of each month was condemned as “irrational” by the Court of Appeal.

Will the Tories care?

That is a good question, that cuts to the heart of Conservative policy on benefits.

It has been argued that the benefit system is heartless and kills people because the Tories want to save money and don’t care if people die as a result.

But their system of constant review and persecution is actually more expensive than simply paying the benefits – especially when one adds in the cost of appeals by all the claimants who have been denied benefits under false pretences, and now the cost of compensation claims.

Current Tory measures have done nothing to reduce benefit fraud, which remains a miniscule proportion of all claims.

So it seems we should ask the question nobody seems willing to ask:

Did the Tories impose these rules simply because they wanted to kill vulnerable people?

Source: Grandmother, 61, with terminal cancer died weighing three stone after DWP stopped her benefits

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Did Tory-run DWP change rules on cancelling benefits to avoid humiliation in court?

Errol Graham: he starved to death after the Department for Work and Pensions cut off his benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions has quietly changed its rules on stopping benefits of vulnerable claimants – after relatives of a man who died of starvation won the right to have a judicial review.

Relatives of Errol Graham were granted permission for a judicial review of DWP policies after the department failed to review and revise them itself, following his death.

The DWP ignored its own safeguarding advice to deprive Errol Graham of his benefits, This Site reported previously.

Left with no income, Mr Graham starved to death.

He had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA, for many years as a result of enduring mental distress that had led to him being sectioned.

The DWP stopped Mr Graham’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) entitlement – and backdated that decision to the previous month – after making two unsuccessful visits to his home to ask why he had not attended a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment (WCA) on August 31, 2017.

He had not been asked to fill in an ESA50 questionnaire, though.

The government department managed to stop an ESA payment that had been due to be credited to his bank account on October 17, the same day it made the second unsuccessful safeguarding visit.

Its own rules state that it should have made both safeguarding visits before stopping the benefits of a vulnerable claimant.

Not only that, but the DWP had needed – but failed – to seek further medical evidence from Mr Graham’s GP, in order to make an informed decision about him.

In fact, it seems this would not have made much difference as Mr Graham’s GP had not seen him since 2013, or recalled him for vital blood tests or issued prescriptions since 2015, despite medical conditions including significant, long-term mental distress and hypothyroidism.

Because he had lost his entitlement to ESA, Mr Graham’s housing benefit was also stopped.

When bailiffs knocked down his front door to evict him on June 20, 2018, they found a dead body that weighed just four and a half stone. The only food in the flat was a couple of out-of-date tins of fish.

Mr Graham was 57 years old.

Solicitors Leigh Day, acting for Mr Graham’s family, revealed they had won the right to have a judicial review last week.

And on Tuesday – the day before Parliament rose for the summer recess – the DWP told Parliament’s Work and Pensions committee that it had changed the rules.

Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield said: “If we tried all of that [contacting the claimant by phone and carrying out two safeguarding visits] we would then take that back and have a case conference about the individual and particularly, obviously if it’s someone with vulnerabilities that we know about, then we would seek to involve other organisations that might have a different way of knowing about that individual.

“And then we would seek to understand what do they know about that individual and how can we support them.

“And if that fails that could then be escalated to the safeguarding leads. And in that way basically what we’d seek to do is provide support not removal of benefits.”

Do you believe that?

Tessa Gregory of Leigh Day seems sceptical, still: “Today’s announcement that the procedures have changed is news to us and news to our client.

“Whilst we cautiously welcome the announcement, it is imperative that the Secretary of State publishes the relevant guidance immediately so that our client and the public can see whether it actually requires decision makers to liaise with different agencies in cases like Errol’s and whether enough has been done to ensure that the vulnerable are adequately protected.”

This Writer thinks the best way to achieve that aim is to go ahead with the judicial review. Why were these changes only brought in when the Tory government was facing humiliation in court?

Source: DWP chiefs quietly change rule on stopping benefits after man starved to death – Mirror Online

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Court showdown for DWP over Errol Graham – who starved to death after his benefits were axed

Errol Graham: he starved to death after the Department for Work and Pensions cut off his benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will have to answer questions in court about the legality of its safeguarding policies after a family challenged it over the death of a vulnerable man.

The DWP ignored its own safeguarding advice to deprive Errol Graham of his benefits, This Site reported previously.

Left with no income, Mr Graham starved to death.

He had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA, for many years as a result of enduring mental distress that had led to him being sectioned.

The DWP stopped Mr Graham’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) entitlement – and backdated that decision to the previous month – after making two unsuccessful visits to his home to ask why he had not attended a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment (WCA) on August 31, 2017.

He had not been asked to fill in an ESA50 questionnaire, though.

The government department managed to stop an ESA payment that had been due to be credited to his bank account on October 17, the same day it made the second unsuccessful safeguarding visit.

Its own rules state that it should have made both safeguarding visits before stopping the benefits of a vulnerable claimant.

Not only that, but the DWP had needed – but failed – to seek further medical evidence from Mr Graham’s GP, in order to make an informed decision about him.

In fact, it seems this would not have made much difference as Mr Graham’s GP had not seen him since 2013, or recalled him for vital blood tests or issued prescriptions since 2015, despite medical conditions including significant, long-term mental distress and hypothyroidism.

Because he had lost his entitlement to ESA, Mr Graham’s housing benefit was also stopped.

When bailiffs knocked down his front door to evict him on June 20, 2018, they found a dead body that weighed just four and a half stone. The only food in the flat was a couple of out-of-date tins of fish.

Mr Graham was 57 years old.

Now, solicitors Leigh Day tell us:

“Mr Graham’s son’s partner, Alison Turner, has been granted permission to a full judicial review challenging the legality of the current safeguarding policies and the failure of the DWP to review and revise those policies as promised at Errol’s inquest.

“Alison will argue that the safeguarding policies are unlawful as they create a significant risk of breaching the human rights of vulnerable individuals like Errol and she will seek a declaration that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, has unlawfully breached her legitimate expectation that a review would be carried out resulting in revised policies.

“Following the Court Order the DWP now has 35 days to serve her Detailed Grounds and Evidence defending the safeguarding policies and explaining why Ms Coffey has not reviewed and amended those policies as promised at Errol’s inquest.”

Yes, there was an inquest – at which the Assistant Coroner decided not to write a “Regulation 28” report demanding changes to DWP safeguarding procedures to “prevent future deaths” because the DWP claimed it was already completing a review of its safeguarding, which was supposed to finish last autumn.

No such review has ever seen the light of day.

The court has ordered that a two-day hearing be listed to consider the case.

Ms Turner said: “Errol had a long history of serious mental illness which left him severely incapacitated. When the circumstances of his death came to light we had hoped – and from what the DWP stated at the inquest, we had expected – that the department would review their safeguarding policies and involve us in that review.

“But, incredibly, that has not happened. We deserve answers and those answers need to be public for the sake of other families and other vulnerable benefits claimants who suffer similar mental health difficulties.

“No one else should be put at risk in the same way Errol was because adequate safeguarding measures are not in place.”

Ms Turner is represented by Tessa Gregory, who said: “Our client believes that the DWP’s current safeguarding policies are not fit for purpose as they expose vulnerable individuals to a significant risk of harm, as was so tragically illustrated by Errol’s death.

“The DWP committed at Errol’s inquest to reviewing the applicable policies but two years after his death and one year after the inquest, nothing has changed.

“Our client therefore feels she has been left with no option but to bring these proceedings to … force the Secretary of State to take steps to ensure that no other families have to suffer in the terrible way her family has.”

Source: Family Of Errol Graham Granted Permission For Judicial Review Against DWP

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Family of man who starved to death after losing benefits launches lawsuit against DWP

Errol Graham.

Remember Errol Graham?

He’s the man who starved to death after the Department for Work and Pensions cut off his ESA (Employment and Support Allowance).

He had failed to attend a work capability assessment so the DWP cut him off without a penny. Assessors did not consider whether his mental health could have been the reason for his lack of response or whether termination of his benefits would put him at risk.

When his body was discovered – by bailiffs trying to take possession of his home after his Housing Benefit was cut off (as a direct result of him losing ESA) it weighed just 4.5 stone.

Now law firm Leigh Day has issued a legal claim against the DWP, on behalf of Mr Graham’s family.

I reproduce Leigh Day’s press release in full below:

The family of Errol Graham, who died after his benefits were stopped, have issued their legal claim against the government, challenging the DWP’s policy for terminating benefits.

The claim has now been issued in the High Court by law firm Leigh Day who represent Alison Turner, the partner of Mr Graham’s son. They now await a decision from the court on permission for the judicial review to proceed.
 
Errol died on 20 June 2018, aged 57. He was found in his flat having starved to death, weighing only four and a half stone. His Employment Support Allowance was stopped by the DWP on 10 October 2017 after he failed to attend a fitness to work assessment and as a result his Housing Benefit was also stopped. The DWP tried to contact Errol by phone and then visited his address but he did not respond. As a result the DWP, in accordance with their policy, terminated his benefits without considering whether his mental health could have been the reason for his lack of response and whether termination of his benefits would put him at risk. Despite his long history of severe mental health issues, no information was ever obtained about his physical or mental health and no effort was made to speak to his GP or family members.
 
In her witness statement given as part of the legal case Alison describes going to Errol’s flat after he died and the indications of his severe mental health problems, including finding teeth that he had pulled out with pliers. There was no food in his flat and he had no credit on his gas or electric meters. A letter was found in his flat that had been addressed but never sent to the DWP that describes his struggles with his mental health and the very low way he was feeling. It pleads with the DWP to “please judge me fairly”.
 
In her legal case Alison argues that the DWP’s policy on terminating benefits is unlawful for a number of reasons including that it may breach articles 2 and/or 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which relate to causing serious suffering or death. It is also alleged to be unlawful as it fails to have regard to a claimant’s disability, thereby breaching the Equality Act, and it is inherently unfair as it allows benefits to be terminated with no prior notice to the claimant.  
 
In addition, Alison argues that the DWP is in breach of its duty under the Human Rights Act and common law to independently and effectively investigate Errol’s death. At Errol’s inquest in June 2019 the DWP stated that it was undertaking a ‘safeguarding review’ which would report in Autumn 2019 and result in updated guidance but none of that has happened.  In February 2020 the National Audit Office revealed that there have been a large number of benefit-related suicides. As a result the DWP states that it has conducted internal reviews into those cases and a Serious Case Panel has been established to learn lessons from those systemic concerns, including Errol’s case. However, it is not clear from the information that has been provided by the DWP about the internal reviews and Serious Case Panel how they will feed into improvements to make sure future deaths of vulnerable benefits claimants are prevented. As part of the legal case it is argued that Errol’s family had a legitimate expectation that the safeguarding review would take place, which it did not,  that his family should have been involved in the Serious Case Panel and that it should be open to public scrutiny.
 
Alison said: “The harrowing things I saw when I visited Errol’s flat following his death will always be with me. It was clear he was in extreme mental distress and anguish. It is impossible to see how a policy could be lawful which allows benefits to be withdrawn for people in these circumstances, with no consideration or investigation of their mental health, and the risks that termination would pose.” 

Tessa Gregory, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, added: “Our client is being forced to pursue legal action because the DWP has so far refused to make any real changes to the safeguarding policies which allowed her loved one, Errol, to fall through the safety net with such devastating consequences. Like so many other families affected by benefit related deaths the conduct of the DWP following Errol’s death has had a profound impact on our client and her family.  She has been appalled by the lack of engagement and transparency and hopes this case will make the Government realise that it can no longer ignore bereaved families and it must urgently address their concerns to ensure that the vulnerable are protected.”

Mental Health charity Mind provided a witness statement in support of the case. 

Ayaz Manji, Senior Policy and Campaigns officer at Mind, said: “We regularly hear from people with mental health problems who need support from benefits that the system often works against them, making them more unwell and even suicidal. The devastating death of Errol Graham has once again shown why the system has to change now. We can’t afford to wait for more people to die or come to harm before taking action.
 
“The benefits system should be there to protect us when we need it, but right now too many people are in danger of falling through the net and coming to harm as a result. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) must stop cutting off people’s support when they’re too unwell to leave the house, or respond to visits and letters. If the DWP can’t get hold of someone, the onus should be on them to proactively get in touch with local services and emergency contacts, to build a full picture and work to getting the individual the support they need.

“During this uncertain time, it’s crucial people can access benefits easily if they need them. It’s appalling that a lack of basic protections means that people still face the possibility of going without money because they are too unwell to engage with the process. The Government must put this right and take responsibility for making sure that those of us with mental health problems are kept safe, and treated with dignity and respect.”

Source: Family Of Errol Graham Issues Legal Claim Against The DWP

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Lying DWP facing court action over failure to improve safeguarding after claimant deaths


The one organisation in the UK that regularly gets away with forcing innocent people to their deaths may soon have to account for its behaviour in Parliament – and in a court of law.

Sadly the Parliamentary action is unlikely to make any difference at all; MPs have called for accountability far too many times and all Department for Work and Pensions does is utter meaningless promises to improve its procedures. Then it ignores those promises in order to continue persecuting vulnerable benefit claimants.

The current pressure from the Commons Work and Pensions committee follows last week’s adjournment debate on the deaths of claimants including Errol Graham, who starved to death after the DWP cut of his benefits for no good reason.

Committee chairman Stephen Timms has announced that he will question ministers on their department’s refusal to protect people like Mr Graham and the thousands of others who have died as a result of the cruelty imposed on them by the DWP, on the orders of the Tory government.

He said despite scores of internal inquiries into claimant deaths – many of them as a result of suicide – officials were unable to show that they had done anything at all to improve the safeguarding of vulnerable claimants.

“The idea that people are taking their own life as a result of DWP actions is so awful,” Timms said. “It is unacceptable for the DWP to keep obfuscating. It cannot avoid the subject any longer. This is clearly something serious and it needs to engage and resolve it.”

Mr Timms mentioned the National Audit Office (NAO) report showing that, despite reviewing at least 69 suicides that could have been linked to benefit denials over the last six years, the DWP had not acted on any of the recommendations of those reviews.

The figures in the report did not include cases like that of Mr Graham, in which suicide was not the formal cause of death.

Sadly, the Commons committee is all-too-likely to be fobbed off with the usual protestations from DWP ministers – that they are doing something. They – and/or their forerunners – have made such claims before and got away with it.

We may hope that Mr Graham’s family have more luck with their court action against the Department.

They are claiming that the DWP acted against the law by failing to take all reasonable steps to check on the health of a claimant they knew to be highly vulnerable before removing his only source of income.

Family members are also arguing that secretive investigations and reviews being conducted by the DWP into benefit-related deaths are unlawful and must be reformed.

There is also the question of a promise made by a DWP representative at Mr Graham’s inquest, in order to prevent the coroner from writing a ‘Prevention of Future Deaths’ report, which would have required the DWP to formally explain what steps it was taking to improve its safeguarding policy.

The DWP’s chief psychologist, David Carew, told coroner Elizabeth Didcock that a safeguarding review would report in the autumn of 2019. He said it would urgently consider measures to protect highly vulnerable claimants at risk of having their benefits cut off, including changing safeguarding guidance to staff.

But no such report has been made. There was no review team, no formal commission to publish a review, and staff have received no changes to their guidance.

In short, it seems Mr Carew misled Her Majesty’s Coroner; he lied.

We may hope that a judge will give appropriate weight to all this information.

There are calls for an independent inquiry, with some MPs suggesting that this may restore confidence in the DWP.

This Writer disagrees. As the Labour Party stated in its election manifesto last year, there is no way to restore confidence in a government department that has deceived MPs, the courts and the public in order to ensure a steady stream of benefit-related deaths.

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Here are 10 reminders of how the Tories are freezing and starving people. Will you be next?

The Conservative victory in December’s general election has given Boris Johnson free reign to torture the UK’s poorest people.

Amazingly, there are some in the country who either haven’t noticed, or refuse to accept the reality of the harm that is being done.

So this article by Red Revolution is timely. It states:

The Court of Appeal found that the Tory government discriminated against disabled people through the unfair and cruel practices of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The finding confirmed in law what millions have known since 2010, that the Tory government is engaging in nothing less than what can be described as a process of social cleansing through the DWP.

Just last year the United Nations condemned the Tory government, a report comparing British welfare policies to the creation of workhouses. Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty, accused the Tories of the “systematic immiseration of a significant part of the British population”.

Such is the level of misery inflicted on the British public that many have suggested that the poor and vulnerable are headed back to Victorian levels of inequality and poverty.

Given that people are literally freezing and starving to death, it’s not hard to see the point.

Bear in mind the fact that the UK, with a $2.83 trillion GDP, is the fifth-largest economy in the world.

The piece goes on to tell the stories of 10 infamous cases, including some that have been covered on This Site: Errol Graham, Mark Wood, Andrew Clarke, David Clapson, Mark Smith, Chris Gold, Danielle White, Elaine Morrall, ‘Alice’ and Stephen Smith.

Read on, here: Arbeit Macht Frei: 10 Cases of Starvation and Freezing Under Universal Credit in “Civilised” UK | Red Revolution Media

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Johnson’s ‘independent’ inquiry into benefit claimant death is anything but independent

Bent: Boris Johnson said the inquiry into the death of a benefit claimant would be independent, but this is not true.

This isn’t even shocking any more.

Boris Johnson has claimed that there will be an independent inquiry into the death of Errol Graham – but that has proved not to be the case.

Mr Graham’s emaciated, five-stone body was found by bailiffs who broke into his home to take possession of it eight months after his ESA – and housing benefit – were cut off by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mr Johnson announced an independent inquiry into the death at Prime Minister’s Questions last week – but it was subsequently demonstrated that everybody involved in that investigation would be DWP employees and therefore they would have a conflict of interest.

Now the government has said some of the participants in the inquiry will be independent of the DWP. Big deal! Will they still be Tory government employees? If so, the conflict of interest will remain.

Will there be outside medical experts? If so, will there be enough of them to outvote the DWP contingent, should that be necessary?

Politicians are lining up to accuse the government of prejudicing the inquiry before it has started.

And that won’t help anybody.

If this inquiry finds no wrongdoing, who will believe it?

Source: Boris Johnson urged to clarify claim about benefit claimant who starved to death – Mirror Online

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If you were angry about Errol Graham, Barry Balderstone’s story will send you through the roof

No picture of the deceased: click on the link to the source article if you want to see him. It seems inappropriate to show a photograph of a man at death’s door.

In the week after we all learned that Errol Graham was denied ESA and subsequently starved to death, this is the last thing we needed to hear.

But the facts must be known: Barry Balderstone, 75, suffered from a range of medical conditions including ulcerative colitis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, double incontinence and chronic kidney disease.

The Conservative government refused to provide full funding for his care needs.

He died the very next day.

Left it a bit late, didn’t you, Tories?

At the time of his death, Mr Balderstone weighed just seven stone. The tragedy prompted his widow Marilyn to ask: “How ill do you have to be to qualify?”

The former civil engineer went into a nursing home three years ago. A bid for full funding was turned down in 2017 and then again at a review in October 2018.

Meanwhile the couple, who married in 1993, saw a ‘substantial part’ of their savings and pension disappear to foot the bill.

Marilyn went on to say fighting the decision cost another £3,500 and the assessment is designed to score people low so they do not qualify for full funding.

So, basically, the Tories are using the care system to take money out of the economy and away from people who really need it.

Source: Seriously ill man weighing 7st refused free social care – and dies very next day – Mirror Online

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Johnson has squandered millions while starving his people

Tory idiocy: People are dying for lack of benefit money while Boris Johnson has been clowning around with pointless Brexit campaigns.

Is this really the wise leadership for which we all voted?

The £46 million the Tory government spent on a silly ‘Get ready for Brexit’ campaign was utterly wasted – it didn’t help anybody be better-prepared.

The campaign – if it can be called that – was run by Boris Johnson when he was trying to kid us all that the UK would leave the EU on October 31 last year.

It was cancelled on October 28, after the EU granted an extension of the period in which UK Parliamentarians were to agree a withdrawal agreement.

The Tories also had to melt down a million Brexit commemoration 50p pieces.

Meanwhile, people like Errol Graham have been starving to death because the same Tories who wasted all those millions on a meaningless Brexit campaign wouldn’t spend a few thousand keeping a valuable human being from starvation.

Put another way…

Source: Government’s ‘Get ready for Brexit’ campaign didn’t really help people get ready for Brexit – Mirror Online

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Why are we learning about disabled Errol Graham TWO YEARS after the DWP stopped his benefits and he starved to death?

Someone did a good job of hushing up this abomination.

If John Pring hadn’t reported the inquest on Disability News Service, we might never have learned how the Department for Work and Pensions ignored its own safeguarding advice to deprive Errol Graham of his benefits.

Left with no income, Mr Graham starved to death.

He had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA, for many years as a result of enduring mental distress that had led to him being sectioned.

The DWP stopped Mr Graham’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) entitlement – and backdated that decision to the previous month – after making two unsuccessful visits to his home to ask why he had not attended a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment (WCA) on August 31, 2017.

He had not been asked to fill in an ESA50 questionnaire, though. Why not?

The government department managed to stop an ESA payment that had been due to be credited to his bank account on October 17, the same day it made the second unsuccessful safeguarding visit.

Its own rules state that it should have made both safeguarding visits before stopping the benefits of a vulnerable claimant.

Not only that, but the DWP had needed – but failed – to seek further medical evidence from Mr Graham’s GP, in order to make an informed decision about him.

In fact, it seems this would not have made much difference as Mr Graham’s GP had not seen him since 2013, or recalled him for vital blood tests or issued prescriptions since 2015, despite medical conditions including significant, long-term mental distress and hypothyroidism.

Because he had lost his entitlement to ESA, Mr Graham’s housing benefit was also stopped.

When bailiffs knocked down his front door to evict him on June 20, 2018, they found a dead body that weighed just four and a half stone. The only food in the flat was a couple of out-of-date tins of fish.

Mr Graham was 57 years old.

On an ESA form years before, he had told the DWP he could not cope with “unexpected changes”, adding: “Upsets my life completely. Feel under threat and upset…”

He said: “Cannot deal with social situations. Keep myself to myself. Do not engage with strangers. Have no social life. Feel anxiety and panic in new situations.”

So without warning, the DWP flung him into exactly the kind of new – and harrowing – situation that he would be unable to handle.

Assistant coroner Dr Elizabeth Didcock said a consultant psychiatrist told the inquest “that Errol was vulnerable to life stressors” and that it was “likely that this loss of income, and housing, were the final and devastating stressors, that had a significant effect on his mental health”.

Exactly.

Who knows what torment Mr Graham underwent in the weeks and months after the DWP cut off his financial lifelines, unable to turn to anybody for help as his funds – and food – slowly dwindled to nothing?

The DNS report states that the DWP “refused to confirm that Errol Graham also had a PIP claim refused; refused to provide an update on the safeguarding review; refused to offer a justification for the department’s safeguarding failures; refused to comment on the similarities between his death and that of other disabled benefit claimants; refused to say which senior civil servants and ministers would take responsibility for his death; refused to say if DWP agreed with the senior civil servant who told the inquest the department had acted “appropriately”; refused to justify sending a highly-paid barrister to the inquest; and refused to explain how DWP was able to stop the ESA payment so quickly after the final safeguarding visit. He also refused to explain why DWP had not apologised to the family of Errol Graham”.

But the Assistant Coroner decided not to write a “Regulation 28” report demanding changes to DWP’s safeguarding procedures to “prevent future deaths” because the DWP claimed it was already completing a review of its safeguarding, which was supposed to finish last autumn.

Where is it?

Worse still is the cover-up; the only reason the story has come out is that DNS was contacted by Alison Turner, the partner of Mr Graham’s son, who questioned the DWP at the inquest and has fought for justice for him since the discovery of his death.

It was in the public interest for the facts of Mr Graham’s death to be known as they exposed the failure of the DWP to follow its own safeguarding rules, and also his GP’s failure to provide medical help.

As the Assistant Coroner stated, the “safety net that should surround vulnerable people like Errol in our society had holes within it”.

It seems clear that those holes have been punched in the net by our Conservative government, that has deliberately remoulded the DWP into a system designed to punish people for being sick, or disabled, for having poor-paying jobs or no job at all; and that has worked hard to break down the NHS, making it ripe for privatisation.

But nobody reported the inquest and hardly anybody ever heard of Errol Graham – until now.

He’s only the latest in a long line of DWP-related fatalities.

And with a Conservative government installed for at least another five years, how will any of them ever get justice?

Source: The death of Errol Graham: Man starved to death after DWP wrongly stopped his benefits – Disability News Service

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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