Flintshire woman killed herself 'after pension error'

Image source, North Wales Police
Image caption,
Joy Worrall had said she would "throw herself off the quarry" if she was ever in ill health or financial difficulty, the hearing was told

An 82-year-old woman killed herself after an "administrative error" by the Department for Work and Pensions led to her pension being frozen, an inquest heard.

Joy Worrall, from Rhes-y-Cae, Flintshire, was found dead in a quarry near her home in November last year.

Her son Ben told the Ruthin court the family had discovered after her death her pension had been stopped.

The DWP apologised "unreservedly" to Mrs Worrall's family for the error.

Mr Worrall told the inquest his mother was reluctant to talk about her problems, but had previously stated if she was ever in ill health or in financial difficulty she would "throw herself off the quarry".

"My mother felt she couldn't discuss her finances with anyone," he said.

All payments stopped

The inquest heard that in 2014 she received an inheritance, but the DWP told her it would not affect her pension.

She received a state pension, as well as a pension credit top-up.

However, in 2017, "action was taken to suspend her pension credit".

Rather than her state pension continuing while the credits were reviewed, all payments were stopped "due to an administrative error".

The inquest heard there was no record of any correspondence from Mrs Worrall to the DWP about the matter.

Her cause of death was given as multiple major traumatic injuries due to a fall from height.

MP informed

Coroner John Gittins recorded a conclusion of suicide and said it was "indeed a deliberate act".

He told Mr Worrall if it was not for the information he supplied about the DWP, he may have struggled to determine if his mother had decided to take her own life.

Following the hearing, Mr Worrall said: "I feel as though there was a duty of care that was not fully carried out as it should've been, causing her to be in a situation where the only course of action was to end her life, which is a disgrace really."

He said he had taken up the case with his MP, David Hanson.

A DWP spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mrs Worrall. We apologise unreservedly to Mrs Worrall's family for the error that led to her pension payments being stopped and pledge to learn the lessons."

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