Decision expected on fresh inquest into death of woman who had benefits stopped

Jodey Whiting took her own life two weeks after her disability benefits were stopped by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Jodey Whiting death
Jodey Whiting death

The mother of a housebound disabled woman who killed herself after her benefits were cut is to find out whether she has won her High Court bid for a fresh inquest.

Jodey Whiting, 42, from Stockton-on-Tees, died in February 2017 about two weeks after her disability benefit was stopped when she did not attend a work capability assessment.

Her mother, Joy Dove, asked the High Court in London to grant a new inquest to investigate the role of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Ms Whiting’s death.

Following a two-day hearing in June, the court is due to rule on Ms Dove’s claim on Friday.

The original inquest, which was conducted by Teesside and Hartlepool Coroner’s Service and lasted just 37 minutes, determined that Ms Whiting had taken her own life.

At the hearing earlier this year, the court heard Ms Whiting had received benefits for more than a decade due to serious, long-term, physical and mental health issues including severe pain and a history of self-harm.

After Ms Whiting failed to attend a capability assessment, the DWP terminated her disability benefit on February 6 2017, which led to her housing benefit and council tax benefit also being terminated.

Ms Whiting was found dead in her home two weeks later.

The court heard the DWP’s decision to terminate the benefit was overturned on March 31, weeks after Ms Whiting’s death.

Ms Dove’s lawyers argued there were “multiple, significant failings” by the DWP when it terminated her daughter’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) that were not considered at the previous inquest.

However, the coroner’s service argued that it was “far from certain” that an inquest could determine whether the DWP’s failings were the cause of Ms Whiting’s death.

Lord Justice Warby, Mrs Justice Farbey and Judge Thomas Teague QC, the chief coroner for England and Wales, will hand down their judgment remotely at 10.30am.

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