The Liverpool Echo reports on the death of another vulnerable person as a result of the incompetence of Iain Duncan Smith and his department:
A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness died without any money after her disability benefits dried up.
Annette Francis, 30, was found dead at her Garston home two weeks ago, leaving behind 11-year-old son Kieron.
Her distraught family say Annette was let down by the authorities in the months leading up to her death.
At the time of the tragedy, Annette had spent six months without receiving a single penny in benefits, her aunt Ann Sorotos claims.
She told the ECHO: “Annette was penniless because she had no money coming in from the benefits people.
“I’m disgusted with them and think Annette was really badly let down.”
Annette suffered from a mental illness similar to bipolar disorder and was unable to hold down a job.
Mrs Sorotos, from Childwall, who has taken care of Kieron since her niece’s death, continued: “She had very bad mental health problems and struggled to cope day to day.”
Last autumn Annette stopped receiving disability living allowance (DLA), which she had been paid for around 10 years, after the benefit was scrapped by the Government.
She then applied for personal independence payment (PIP), the replacement for DLA, in October – but the cash never arrived before her death six months later.
Mrs Sorotos said: “She never got any of her PIP money. Up to the day she died she never got it.
“What was she meant to live off in the meantime?
“I had to keep telling her to get down to the job centre to keep the pressure on.
“It caused her a lot of stress. She couldn’t afford to get the bus down to come and see her son who was staying with me before she died.”
It is not known how Annette died. Her family are still waiting for the results of toxicology tests. A full inquest into the death will then be carried out by a coroner.
Her body was found after a friend went round to her flat on the morning of May 22. She had died some time during the previous night.
Mrs Sorotos said: “The system has really let Annette down, but my biggest concern now is looking after Kieron. He needs to come first.
“Annette was crying out for help because she needed her benefits.
“She even texted her social worker saying ‘I need help’. She needed a lot more support.
“I tried to help her as well as I could but she was let down every step of the way.
“I am heartbroken. We just can’t get our heads round it. Annette was a really bubbly, lovely person but she varied day to day because of her mental illness.
“I want the benefits authorities to get their act together and stop other people with mental health issues from going through the same problems.
“I want the system changed so it doesn’t fail anyone else.”
Mrs Sorotos is now calling on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which processes benefits claims, to hand over Annette’s unpaid PIP money so it can be placed in a trust fund and given to Kieron when he turns 18.
Annette’s local MP, Garston and Halewood’s Maria Eagle, slammed the DWP in the wake of the tragedy.
She said: “I am shocked but unfortunately not surprised to hear of PIP applications taking this length of time to determine.
“To the extent that this causes severe difficulties for vulnerable people, it is utterly deplorable.
“The DWP should get their act together on PIP as soon as possible because frequently people like Annette are in no position to look after their own interests as well as those in good health may be able to.”
A DWP spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on this case at this time. We are committed to getting PIP claims processed as quickly as possible.” PIP can be worth up to £550 a month.
Iain Duncan Smith’s fascist policies have either been directly responsible for, or have significantly contributed to, the deaths of vulnerable people – especially those with mental health problems.
The ‘so-called’ government have failed to ensure that vulnerable people are not unfairly persecuted in the government’s ‘crusade’ to rid society of those it sees as being inferior and unable to contribute to the financial wealth of the bankers – yes – because at the end of the chain it is the bankers and extremely rich who benefit from the draconian welfare policies – not society as a whole.
The ridiculous welfare reforms have been nothing more than a social engineering exercise to reinforce the divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s’. It has forced people with already severely debilitating problems to see no future – no hope – no end to the additional pressure of coping with the overly-bureaucratic machine – a machine which remains on automatic whatever the consequences.
In addition to welfare reforms, people with mental health problems have seen mental health services slashed so much that it has become almost impossible for them to get any meaningful or real support for daily living.
In many areas of the country, mental health services have been cut to such an extent that staff have had to resort to ‘fire-fighting’ tactics, where only those who pose the most risk to themselves or others will get any sort of treatment or support. For the rest, they have seen themselves increasing left to cope alone – forced into a situation where getting through each day is an achievement, let alone finding any basic quality of life – often feeling vulnerable and alone without being able to cope with basic interactions which people who have not experienced mental health problems take for granted.
If the government had their way, everyone would become selfish narcissists, and we see this trend developing in many areas of our society already.
False ‘aspirations’ are being promoted by the government as being the way to live one’s life. The falsehood of financial wealth and ‘social status’ above all else – a place where humanity, and caring about and for others are shunned at the expense of one’s own personal false vision of the self.
This is not the way society works – it is a false vision promoted by those who are only concerned with their own materialism.
As the government and their cronies promote this falsehood, it will be the vulnerable in our society who will become easy targets for radical and unnecessary social reforms.
When we look past all of the political rhetoric and lies of this psychopathic and narcissistic government, we can clearly see that they see those who can not financially contribute to the taxman or who are not seen as valuable voters as disposable and powerless. The vulnerable become easy targets because they remain in a minority of society which has little power to change or influence government.
At the very least these are the actions of an institutional bully, and at worst a very purposeful and direct attempt to turn public opinion against those less fortunate.
Until society wakes up and lets those in power know very clearly that their policies and actions are unacceptable to an evolved and humane society, there will be more tragic and unnecessary deaths of vulnerable people.
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