21 April 2017
What: Diane had applied for personal independence payment (PIP) for the first time in 2014, and had also successfully applied for ESA, but her sister believes that the pressure of having to reapply for PIP overwhelmed her, and she took her own life. Helen Young, her sister, says she believes the PIP system is a “national scandal” and that it was the anxiety caused by the PIP process and the 50-page application form Diane was confronted with that sent her sister “downhill”. She says the pressure led her sister to start self-harming again, and twice try unsuccessfully to kill herself before she eventually took her own life. And she says it had left her confined to her bed for days at a time, and too ill to look after herself. Diane had told her that the DWP was “going to try and catch me out”, and was convinced her claim would be rejected and that she would be left without the support she needed. She used part of her PIP to pay for psychotherapy. Helen says: “Somebody like my sister was incapable of doing it, given her mental health. I feel very angry about it, I think it is completely barbaric, a national scandal. If Charles Dickens was alive, he would be writing about the social injustice of it. ESA was awful but PIP just seemed to take it to a new level. It all chips away, so the scar is opened up with ESA and PIP just comes along and pours a bit of salt on it to rub it in.” The irony, she says, is that her sister had in fact been found eligible for the enhanced rates of both the mobility and daily living components of PIP, but the decision letter only arrived after she died.
Why significant: A further tragic death linked to the PIP process.