A mother of four was found dead in her home after the local council cut off her benefits – because she was too ill to attend a meeting.
38-year-old Elaine Morrall’s body was discovered in her home in Runcorn, Cheshire, where she was draped in a coat and scarf.
Her mother said due to her financial situation, Elaine had to switch off the heating until her children got home from school.
38-year-old Elaine suffered from both an eating disorder and mental health problems, reports the Liverpool Echo.
In the wake of her death, a fundraising campaign has been launched to raise money for Elaine’s four children.
Her mother Linda posted an emotionally-charged letter on Facebook, addressed to the local councillor, asking:
How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people?
In the heart-breaking post, which has gone viral, it goes on to say:
My daughter lived in Boston Ave. She died on the afternoon of 2 November, 2017 at home on her own. She was 38yrs.
In the cold with her coat & scarf on. Because she wouldn’t put her heating on until her kids came home from school. Why?? Because she couldn’t afford it.
Because she was severely depressed. Suffered from eating disorder & many other problems for many years.
Mainly due to authoritarians of one form or another. I can give you details. Was in & out of hospital in recent months in intensive care, but was deemed not ill enough for ESA [Employment and Support Allowance].
Had her benefits stopped numerous times, which in turn stopped her housing benefit. No income but expected to be able to pay full rent.
The post continued:
Was told being in intensive care was not sufficient reason for failing to attend a universal credit interview.
I went to the job centre to inform them she couldn’t attend, but benefits stopped again. Uncaring housing taking her to court. She’s due to go to court on Monday.
Is being dead now enough reason? Is that what’s had to happen to prove she was ill? How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people??
What are you and your fellow councillors going to do to protect your constituents?
The family is now working with local MP Derek Twigg, of Halton, who shared his condolences with Linda and her family, saying:
It is a very tragic case and I am providing assistance to my constituent.
In a response to Elaine’s tragic death, a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions released a press statement saying:
Our thoughts are with Ms Morrall’s family at this difficult time. We understand that people can’t always attend appointments, which is why we will re-arrange alternative times.
Assessment decisions are made with consideration of all the information provided, including supporting evidence from a GP or medical specialist. Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.
Jonathan Horsfall, Halton Housing Trust debt recovery manager, said:
We always follow strict procedures around arrears. We strive to find solutions with our customers and have intensive support workers who enable us to do so where possible.
Our support services are on offer to those who we know are in arrears and are always reached out to for support.
If customers are concerned about arrears we always encourage anyone to get in touch with us as early as possible in the arrears process so we can do all we can to help.
If you would like to make a contribution to Elaine Morrall’s fund raiser for her kids you do so by clicking here.