Wales politics

Ministerial apology after Flintshire pension 'error' woman's suicide

Joy Worrall Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Joy Worrall's payments had been stopped for 15 months before her death, the Commons was told

The Department for Work and Pensions is to review its processes after a woman whose pension was wrongly stopped took her own life.

Joy Worrall, 82, from Rhes-y-Cae, Flintshire, was found dead in a quarry near her home in November last year.

Pensions minister Guy Opperman apologised unreservedly for the "clerical error".

Mr Opperman told the House of Commons action had been taken to ensure it does not happen again.

An inquest last week heard that in 2014 Mrs Worrall received an inheritance, but the DWP told her it would not affect her pension.

In 2017, "action was taken to suspend her pension credit" and rather than her state pension continuing while the credits were reviewed, all payments - including her winter fuel allowance - were stopped.

"At the time of her death, Joy had £5 in her account," Delyn MP David Hanson told the Commons on Monday.

He called for an "urgent inquiry" into why the payments were stopped 15 months before her death.

"Will he ensure that nobody ever again will commit suicide due to poverty," Mr Hanson asked of the minister.

Mr Opperman said Mrs Worrall's pensions payment was stopped due to "a clerical error" and "the government" he said "apologies unreservedly for the clerical error."

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mrs Worrall.," he said.

The DWP had acted, he said, "so our benefits are no longer linked on our systems to try to ensure this does not happen again," adding an internal process review was taking place.

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