38-year-old Elaine Morrall passed away in her freezing Halton home on November 2 when her benefits were cancelled despite evidence of mental health concerns and intensive care visits.
Morrall’s mother, Linda, wrote a post on Facebook that claimed her daughter was found dead in her home wrapped in a coat and scarf. The post also said that Elaine only turned on the heat when her children were home.
The post also included information about Elaine’s mental health. Linda wrote that her daughter suffered from depression, an eating disorder, and “many other problems for many years. Mainly due to authoritarians of one form or another. I can give you details. Was in & out of the hospital in recent months in intensive care.”
Though, despite the mental health concerns her mother laid out, Elaine “was deemed not ill enough for ESA [Employment and Support Allowance]. Had her benefits stopped numerous times, which in turn stopped her housing benefit. No income but expected to be able to pay full rent. Was told being in intensive care was not sufficient reason for failing to attend a universal credit interview. I went to the job center to inform them that she couldn’t attend. But benefits stopped again.”
Linda then asked if Elaine “being dead now enough reason? Is that what’s had to happen to prove she was ill?”
The Facebook post continued by Linda asking how many more people needed to die before any action was taken.
Echo reports that a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman released a statement on the death. “Our thoughts are with Ms. Morrall’s family at this difficult time. We understand that people can’t always attend appointments, which is why we will re-arrange alternative times. Assessment decisions are made with consideration of all the information provided, including supporting evidence from a GP or medical specialist. Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.”
They also reported that Jonathan Horsfall, Halton Housing Trust debt recovery manager, said they always follow strict rules around arrears. He said that if any customers are concerned with arrears they could get in contact with the company as soon as possible to see if anyone could “do all we can to help.”
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