My team and I were very sad to learn of the death of a constituent we had been working to try to support. He suffered from a rare skeletal condition, as well as autism and mental health issues. He was severely let down by the welfare system. With permission, we reproduce a letter from the constituents sister (with identifying details removed):
“I just wanted to thank you for your help in getting my brother on to the right track with pip and the universal credit/disability.
Unfortunately he was found dead on Wednesday in his flat.
He slipped through so many nets over his years that I would ask for things to be looked into and changed for people with mental health issues and autism. Trying to get him the help has always been an ongoing battle. I think there needs to be safeguards (or more stricter safeguards) put into place to flag vulnerable people. From social workers, job centre workers, doctor’s etc. And I think people whom work at the job centre should have to do mandatory course’s on identifying and how to deal with people with disabilities, mental health issues and adult autism.
It is very raw on how he was treated by his work coach trying to bully him, and in my eyes, manipulate him because of his lack of understanding of certain things. One name, [NAME REMOVED], will forever be etched in my mind, having my brother crying and having crisis moments on the phone telling me what she’d said to him and that she wouldn’t listen, was just heartbreaking.
I also think the UC disability process needs to desperately be looked at. Especially the ‘assessment’ side of things. Being done by somebody who doesn’t specialise or understand what certain disabilities are is wrong. In my brothers case his main physical disability (osteochondodystraphy) is very very rare, with very few specialists in the country that even deal with or understand it.
Anyway, I wanted to say thank you to you personally, the last help he received from yourself he was so happy, finally getting some advice, in which he followed through, and was actually finally getting somewhere. He had actually sent the UC assessment forms away and just sent his pip forms away too, recorded delivery.
I would like to think no other family or person would have to go through what we have. Battling for nearly 49 year’s when things were realized something wasn’t right with my brother, physically then mentally. But the horrible truth is, people still fall through the net. Let down by systems because of human error and judgement and probably the biggest one, bureaucracy.
Something needs to be done about the benefits system in its entirety. It’s not fit for purpose”
Our thoughts are with the constituents family at this time. We have taken up the case with the DWP.