Stoke-on-Trent MP questions PM over disabled constituent who died before benefit cut decision was overturned

A Stoke-on-Trent MP has told the House of Commons about the death of one of his constituents - just two days before a decision to reinstate his benefits.

Gareth Snell told fellow MPs about Geoffrey Elwell, who had been moved from the Disability Living Allowance benefit to the new Personal Independence Payment system.

He said that following an assessment in October 2016, Mr Elwell was awarded zero points - meaning he was no longer eligible for financial support.

An appeal against the decision was started in January 2017, but had still not been completed by the time Mr Elwell passed away on 21 June.

The hearing took place just two days after his death, awarding him the higher rate for both mobility and standard rate of care, which was backdated to January.

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, the Labour MP for Stoke Central said: "Could I ask the Prime Minister therefore what message she would like me to take back to Geoffrey's partner Carol, about the way that this government treated Geoffrey at the time when he needed help, compassion and support most?"

Theresa May said she offered her 'deepest condolences' to Mr Elwell's partner.

She also said: "We are working to ensure that there is a greater consistency in the judgements that are originally given on those PIP assessments.

"We've introduced PIP in order to try to ensure that we are able to focus the payments on those who are most vulnerable."

Following the exchange, Mr Snell tweeted "We need action from the Prime Minister - not more words. Condolences aren't enough for those vulnerable people being forced to suffer."


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